The Question:

Historically, what have been the world's tallest buildings?

The Answer:

Before getting to the list, let's define our terms. By "building," we mean a freestanding structure with floors intended for residential, business, or manufacturing use. (For more on various types of structures, please see the giant footnote at the bottom of the World's Tallest Towers table.)

With that said, here are the record-holders from the past century or so:

  • 1890: New York World Building, New York City (309 feet, the number of stories is disputed, but figures range from 16 to 26)
  • 1894: Manhattan Life Insurance Building, New York City (348 feet, 18 stories)
  • 1913: Woolworth Building, New York City (792 feet, 60 stories)
  • 1930: Chrysler Building, New York City (1,046 feet, 77 stories)
  • 1931: Empire State Building, New York City (1,250 feet, 102 stories)
  • 1972: World Trade Center, New York City (1,368 feet, 110 stories)
  • 1974: Sears Tower, Chicago (1,450 feet, 110 stories)
  • 1998: Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1,483 feet, 88 stories)
  • 2004: Taipei 101, Taiwan (1,670 feet, 101 stories)
  • 2010: Burj Khalifa (formerly called Burj Dubai), United Arab Emirates (2,716 feet [828 meters], 160 stories) Read more: Tallest Buildings Timeline — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tallest-buildings-timeline.html#ixzz1OiNk0ujO

For more on famous buildings, see World's Tallest Buildings, World's Tallest Towers, Famous Buildings and Structures, and other articles in our Structures and Buildings section.

—The Fact Monster