Buildings were not always as tall as we have them today. Improved scientific methods and better innovations in building technology have made it possible for building to go high, and up above the world.

Take a look at the progression in the height of buildings from more than four thousand years ago in ancient Egypt to the what shall be the tallest building in the world by 2020.

At a time, these structures were the tallest in the world, until they were eclipsed by a new one. So, get your gear, and let’s take a ride.

Ancient Egypt

pyramid of giza


In 2560 BC, construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza commenced and it took 20 years to complete, standing at 146.5 m tall (a majestic height for that time!)


Fast forward 3,800 years later to 1240, and we arrive at the old St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It took 153 years to complete and stood at 149 m tall (spire included), but the spire later collapsed in a fire in 1561.

St. Paul's Cathedral, City of London. Exterior, elevated view from south east.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London


Then in 1311, the Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln was built, taking a total of 4 years to complete. It was 159.7 m tall (spire included), and just like before, the spire collapsed in a storm in 1549.

lincoln cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral, London


eiffel tower

In 1889, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was built, and took 2 years to complete. It stands at a height of 324 m.

United States of America

empire state building

In 1931, the Empire State Building in New York City was built and took one year to complete. Standing at a majestic 443.2 m tall, it was the tallest building in the world for a long time and even appeared in the movie King Kong  in 1933.

United Arab Emirates

burj khalifa

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed in 2010 after taking 6 years to build. It stands 830m tall and is the tallest building in the world, almost twice the height of the Empire State Building!

Yet, it’s exalted position is set to be challenged by the building that follows next.

Saudi Arabia

kingdom tower

The Kingdom Tower in Jeddah is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in 2020. Upon completion, it will be the tallest building in the world at 1,008m!

See Also: The Engineering Behind How Skyscrapers Go High Above the World and Stay That Way