Have you ever found yourself at the center of attention just because you’re the tallest person in the room? If so, you know that comments about your height are unavoidable (like you’ve never heard them before). Take a break from being the tallest thing in sight, and pay a visit some of the tallest buildings in the United States.
Willis Tower – Chicago, IL
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, Willis tower stands 110 stories high and showcases a breathtaking view of Downtown Chicago. Construction began in 1970 under the direction of architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill who were commissioned to design one of the largest office buildings in the world. The project took three years to complete and was finished in May of 1973. In 1988 the building was sold and would later be renamed in 2009 after the London-based global insurance broker, the Willis Group. Roughly 1.7 million tourists each year visit the building’s observation deck located on the 103rd floor.
Skydeck Chicago allows tourists to view over 50 miles in every direction for a clear view overlooking four states. In 2009, Skydeck opened The Ledge, consisting of four glass boxes extending 4.3 feet outside of the Tower for a 1,353 foot view straight down. In 2011, Skydeck Chicago opened the Skydeck Marketplace, allowing visitors to enjoy 7,500 square feet of retail and dining options curated to be unique to Chicago.
Empire State Building – New York City, NY
Standing tall at 1,250 feet at 103 stories tall, the Empire State building in New York City attracts approximately four million visitors each year. With plenty of things to do in NYC, it is a bucket-list attraction across the world. When weather permits, visitors can view 80 miles into New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Construction for the building began in 1930 with 3,000 workers building four-and-a-half floors each week and would be completed the following year with more than seven million man-hours.
The concept behind the Empire State Building is said to have rose out of competition between the Chrysler Corporation and General Motors. The dueling CEO’s embarked in fierce competition to see who could construct the taller building. At the time, construction on the Chrysler Building was well underway and John Jakob Raskob of General Motors vowed not to be outshined. The architecture firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates were commissioned to complete the Art Deco inspired design project. In May 1931, President Hoover would officially open the building by pressing a button in Washington that would give the appearance that the president had turned the lights on. The Empire State Building would remain the tallest building in the world until the construction of the World Trade Center in 1973.
Wilshire Grand Center – Lost Angeles, CA
The Wilshire Grand Center located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, stands 73 stories high as the tallest structure in the Los Angeles skyline. Originally constructed in 1950 and opened two years later, Hotel Statler, would later be renamed over the decades throughout a series of renovation efforts. In 2012 the hotel would be deconstructed leading to redevelopment plans to be displayed the following year. The design for the new Wilshire Grand project was unveiled in 2013 by representatives from Korean Air, Martin Project Management, elected officials and local leaders as they invited the public to reimagine the Downtown skyline.
The building features floor-to-ceiling glass windows to allow for both the hotel rooms and office spaces housed inside to be filled with natural light and adds a unique contrast to the surrounding building structures. The new multi-use space is set to open in 2017 and will host hotel guests, office tenants, restaurants, bars, and both indoor and outdoor cafes inside the Center.
Columbia Center – Seattle, WA
Formerly named the Bank of America Tower and the Columbia Seafirst Center, the Columbia Center in Seattle stands at nearly 1,000 feet and is open as the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest. Developed by Martin Selig and completed in 1985, the structure is one of the strongest and safest buildings in the region and holds 76 stories. The Center is home to the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Center and offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding Seattle suburbs, mountain ranges, lakes and the Space Needle.
Initially constructed in 1982 by Howard S. Wright, the foundation was among the largest for a building in Seattle. The building would later be completed three years later and opened in 1985. The structure is approximately 50% taller than the previous tallest skyscraper in Seattle, then Seattle First National Bank Building opening in 1969, now renamed Safeco Plaza.
One World Trade Center – New York City, NY
Opened in 2014, the One World Trade Center has a footprint identical to the original Twin Towers and ascends 69 stories high. Designed by David Childs, consulting design partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Child’s work spans a diverse range of projects including the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Stuyvesant School Bridge in Tribeca. The building offers entrances on all four sides of the building and holds a perfect octagon at its center. The crystalline-like structure created a light refractive effect much like a kaleidoscope and changes throughout the day.
Standing 1,776 feet high, the One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the United States and the 7th tallest building in the world. In 2015, the Center opened an enclosed observation deck, the “One World Observatory” standing 1,250 feet above street level. Located within the archaeological heart of the original World Trade Center site lies the National 9/11 Memorial Museum serving as the country’s principal institution for documenting the events of the tragic date. The 9/11 Memorial Plaza, located outside of the Center, is the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States with each pool being approximately one acre in size as a tribute to the past and as a beacon of hope for the future.