The Backstories Behind 5 Iconic Skyscrapers

©Picryl ©Flickr,Jim Epler

It’s pretty incredible to gaze up at a skyscraper from the street, but if you take the long trip up to the observation decks of the buildings on this list, you’re up for a truly incredible sight.

Here are the stories behind 5 iconic skyscrapers around the globe.

1. Willis Tower – Chicago

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the Windy City (which was also the tallest building in the world for 25 years) was constructed to house Sears’ thousands of employees. The Willis Tower is 110 stories tall, took 4 years to complete, and officially opened in 1973. The building’s final beam was signed by 12,000 construction workers, Sears employees, and Chicagoans.

2. Bank of China Tower – Hong Kong

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This skyscraper opened in 1990, and was designed by architect I.M. Pei. The architect faced a lot of challenges, including designing an eye-pleasing 70-story tower in a typhoon zone. Construction took 5 years, and the steel beams are meant to represent bamboo shoots.

3. The Chrysler Building – New York

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The recognizable Chrysler Building opened in 1930 and was the tallest building in the world for 11 short months until the Empire State Building usurped the Manhattan skyscraper. Auto tycoon Walter P. Chrysler wanted the building to have a glamorous look so he requested adding eagle-like gargoyles (that looked like Chrysler hood ornaments) to the building.

4. Taipei 101 – Taiwan

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Taipei 101 opened in 2004 and was the first skyscraper to surpass the half-kilometer mark. It was the tallest building in the world until 2010. Like Hong Kong’s Bank of China Tower’s steel beams, Taipei 101’s entire structure was designed to resemble a bamboo stalk. The building contains the world’s fastest elevator, whisking passengers from the 5th floor to the 89th in only 37 seconds.

5. CN Tower – Toronto

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This tower was the highest free-standing structure in the world from its opening in 1976 until 2007. As such, the CN Tower was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in 1995. A helicopter had to fly the massive antenna up to the top in 36 sections.