The Ongoing Controversy Over Calculating Spires Into the Height of the World’s Tallest Skyscrapers

Architectural blog The B1M explores the very controversial subject of height amongst the tallest skyscrapers in the world. More and more, building height calculations include the height of spires and other unusable spaces. This trick became known as vanity height.

Many of the world’s tallest buildings are now achieving their record-breaking status by using one of architecture’s most controversial tricks – vanity height.

The controversy over vanity heights began in 1998 when the elaborately spired Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur eclipsed the Willis Tower in Chicago as the worlds tallest building, despite the latter having a taller roofline.

This led the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) to deliver a ruling on what it considers part of a building’s overall height. The ruling excluded anything that can be arbitrarily increased in height, such as communication antenna, but allowed for the inclusion of decorative spires as long as they formed part of the building’s original design and did not exceed 50% of the structure’s overall height.

via Boing Boing

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.