Back at the end of the 19th century, the skyscraper was born in Chicago. Thanks to new engineering methods—particularly the idea of building steel cages that solved issues of "load bearing capacity"—architects could think to the skies. Designers want to go big, then bigger, then even taller. The race for the tallest building, once just an unspoken battle between Chicago and New York, hasn't stopped since.

The skyscraper may be an American invention, but the allure holds across the world. As economies develop, and new powers emerge, the skyscraper remains a global symbol of success. And, as fresh success is discovered, the desire to tower above all others remains. New "tallest buildings" arrive so quickly that you wouldn't be faulted for believing the John Hancock Building in the Windy City still holds the title.

Well, times have changed. We're here to get you up to speed…err, into the clouds.

The World's 25 Tallest Buildings

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