Chicago lays claim to the world’s first skyscraper. The 138-foot-tall Home Insurance Building was built in 1888 and was the first building to use steel beams as support. Soon after, builders in Chicago and New York were competing with each other to build the world’s tallest building.
In the early years, the world’s highest building seemed to change from week to week as architects, engineers and business magnates raced to design, build or own the biggest, best and tallest building in their city’s skyline.
It was a race that started in the United States, where the Empire State Building won the race and held the title for more than 40 years after Depression called a halt to the building boom. The US picked up the ball again in the 1970s with the construction of the World Trade Center and the Sears Tower. But in recent years, Asia has thrown its heart and soul to the race: Taipei 101 in Taiwan is currently the world’s tallest building, but Dubai’s Burj Dubai will take the title later this year. And more buildings are in the works. Here’s a look at some of the more noteworthy skyscrapers of the last 100 years or so.