Take a high rise hike around the globe’s most iconic skyscrapers. Scaling the tallest towers across the world, architects Charlie Luxton and Matt Berman leave the bustling streets to see these extravagant buildings from great heights and unique perspectives. Guided by the world’s bravest window washers, Vertical City rediscovers some of the boldest and most ambitious examples of architecture.
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01: The Sears Tower, Chicago
Still the tallest tower in the U.S., as well as the tallest building in the world for 25 years, the $175 million Sears Tower broke boundaries in not only height, but design and construction when it was completed in 1973. Building the tallest building in the world brings its own logistical headaches, and the crippling cost of funding an iconic tower can take its toll.
02: Turning Torso, Malmö
Every major city has a symbolic piece of architecture that projects its image to the world, but what happens when a city loses not only its trademark industry, but its trademark icon? This is exactly the problem that faced the city of Malmo in Sweden. To recover, they built a radical skyscraper, but daring design always courts controversy. The whole project nearly ended in disaster.
03: 7 World Trade Center, New York
Skyscrapers have transformed cities across the globe, most notably the famous skyline of Manhattan, but on September 11th, 2001, this historic cityscape became forever linked with one event that forced architects to rethink how skyscrapers should be built. 7 World Trade Center, the first building to be constructed on Ground Zero, has taken skyscraper safety innovation to new levels.
04: Commerzbank, Frankfurt
The skyscraper is a symbol of aspiration and power, and an environmentally unsound energy guzzling monster, but in 1997, Norman Foster created a contradiction: the world’s first ecological tower. The Commerzbank in Frankfurt has changed the construction of office buildings forever, but was going green the result of the corporate world being responsible, or just a big fat PR exercise?
05: Eureka Tower, Melbourne
Vertical City goes down under to the tallest residential building in the world: the 300 meter Eureka Tower, the most exclusive address in the Southern Hemisphere. Is living the high life destroying our traditional city communities? Are these Vertical Villages changing the way future generations will live?
06: Torre Mayor, Mexico City
The strongest building on Earth, Torre Mayor, is constructed to withstand earthquakes that would obliterate the average skyscraper. Built in the wake of Mexico City’s most devastating earthquake, this building has become a haven in one of the world’s most active seismic zones, but can the ever growing height of skyscrapers compete with typhoons and earthquakes?
07: Q1, Queensland
Surfer's Paradise has a growing reputation as the resort of choice for the rich and famous, and the skyline is growing too, with the massive Q1 Tower dominating the landscape. How has Q1 affected Surfer's paradise? Is it the jewel in the crown of one of the world's most exclusive resorts, or the nail in the coffin of the chilled vibe and community spirit that makes the Gold Coast unique?
08: Cira Centre, Philadelphia
Imagine you’re a new developer and you want to build a tower in a bleak part of town. You’ve got to fill half the building before you get planning permission. What do you do? Call Cesar Pelli, creator of the Petronas Towers, who waved his magic design wand over the Cira Center and made it stand apart from any other high rise in the area.
09: Cologne Cathedral, Cologne
The super tall building has always been a source of innovation and fierce competition, and the fight for height was never fiercer than in the late 18th century, when cathedrals were being built across Europe. Cologne was the tallest building in the world for 4 years, but where did the money for these religious super spires come from? Just how fierce, and dirty, did the fight become?
10: Canada Square, London
In 1991, One Canada Square, the UK's tallest skyscraper, changed the London skyline. The developers took a billion dollar gamble on creating an international financial center, symbolized by this obelisk-shaped tower. Unfortunately, when the world property market collapsed just after the complex was completed, the developers went bankrupt and a large part of the tower lay in darkness…