"This is The Illinois, gentlemen!"
With this exclamation, master architect Frank Lloyd Wright presented one of the most visionary projects in the history of modern architecture: a skyscraper one mile (or more than 1.6 km) high.
As extravagant and utopian as the American architect's idea was at the time – it was 1956 and Wright was almost ninety years old – today we can say that this feat is not impossible. Indeed, if any contemporary architect were to take up the master's challenge, no one would be surprised.
For the moment we are only halfway there: the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest skyscraper, is "only" 828 metres high, but among the towers under construction around the world there is already one, the Jeddah Tower, which will reach 1,000 metres.
“In 50 years the Tower has accumulated the meanings of: catalyst of consciousness, symbol of technological progress, marker of pleasure zone, subversive short-circuiter of convention and finally self-contained universe”, wrote Rem Koolhaas in his famous book Delirious New York, which is Manhattan's retroactive manifesto. Koolhaas himself, with his OMA studio, completed the CCTV in Beijing in 2013, a building whose ring-shaped form has revolutionised the concept of the skyscraper.
In recent years it seems that height is not the only element characterising towers: uniqueness of form and typological experimentation are now determining factors. It is also interesting to see how the race for the sky fits into various urban and cultural contexts.
In our list of skyscrapers under construction around the world we will try to span as many countries as possible and highlight various types of architectural experimentation.