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May 30, 2024 36 mins

Once society became convinced that you could build skyscrapers without them immediately collapsing, cities across the United States -- and, soon the world -- scrambled to build their own structures. In part two of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore the continuing race to build the tallest, the strongest, and the most iconic skyscrapers.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Ridiculous History is a production of iHeartRadio. Welcome back to

the show Ridiculous Historians. Thank you, as always so much
for tuning in. That's our super producer, mister Max Williams.

Speaker 2 (00:36):
Max sky High Williams.

Speaker 3 (00:38):
Have you talked about the poop yet?

Speaker 2 (00:40):
The pop Day?

Speaker 1 (00:42):
That's Noel Brown. I've been bowling Noel. This is a
two parter.

Speaker 2 (00:46):
Yeah, yeah, if you can tell already, I think I
think it earned two partner. Lots of really fun stuff
to talk about when it comes to skyscrapers and man's
inherent need to outdo himself, themselves, ourselves others. Yeah, there's
a bit of a bit of a historical flex episode
if you think about it. Let's jump right in.

Speaker 1 (01:09):
The whole Insurance building did not just stand up on
its own. It became a symbol something that stood for
an entire architectural movement. We loosely call this the Chicago School,
and this gave birth to all of those amazing skyscrapers

in Chicago from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.
And if you go to Chicago now and you go
downtown or you're around the Loop, it's still very much
a skyscraper City. You can take the little architectural river
tour and they on a boat and they go.

Speaker 2 (01:49):
If you're lucky, the Dave Matthews Band's tour bus will
pull under the overpass bridge and dump the contents of
its toilets on you.

Speaker 1 (01:57):
Not guaranteed with the price of the ticket, but always
a chance.

Speaker 2 (02:01):
It will happen. It has been known to happen. The
very least was I saw the fun This is really
all by the way, look it up. I saw where
it was like a meme where it was just a
picture of a cassette like a fish concert, you know,
taping kind of thing where it's like bootlet, but it
just said Dave Matthews Band tour bus toilet dumping incident audio.
And it was like someone was like, that was a

fire set right there there. It is. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (02:25):
And around this time the construction of the Home Insurance building.
Around this time, in the eighteen eighties, people came up
with a specific term to describe these types of towers.
It was a name as bold and as ambitious as
the buildings themselves.

Speaker 4 (02:47):
Skydnswers scraper, No scrapers, not Skuys scrapers, s Guy's scrape
doesn't it give us a record scratch.

Speaker 1 (02:59):
Perfect? Weird side note, skyscrapers at this point was not
entirely a new term. It used to mean a lot
of other things.

Speaker 2 (03:08):
So weird. I had no idea. In the seventeen eighties
it was used to describe a particularly tall horse. I
almost wonder if it was like a particularly famous, very
tall horse that was named skyscraper. But I can't imagine

people thrown around lots of skyscraper, right, I don't. That
just doesn't sound right. Skyscraper sounds like the name of
a race horse, you know what I mean? Yeah, it
sounds very specific. But there's more right. It even was
used now this I can't. I don't know why this is.
This makes more sense to me. I just don't feel
like as tall as a horse might be, there is
no danger of it even even appearing to scrape the

sky in any way, shape or form. However, the mast
of a very large ship, when viewed from the horizon
coming in that absolutely gives skyscraping. I'm trying to talk
like the kids, you know, they just say it gives
that's the new thing. It's not even new. But I
would always say it gives skyscraping vibes. But the kids
just drop vibes. It's just implied. It's just it gives skyscraper. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (04:18):
Uh, tall hats or very tall bonnets.

Speaker 2 (04:24):
I don't know why that's funny to me.

Speaker 1 (04:26):
Yeah, like a top hat, like a stovepipe and stovepipe.

Speaker 2 (04:29):
Yeah, good old aby linky.

Speaker 1 (04:32):
A ball that was hit high into the air would
be called a skyscraper.

Speaker 2 (04:36):
That makes sense totally, like in like a you know,
a big old pop fly or whatever you know in
best Ball.

Speaker 1 (04:45):
Oh, don't mention baseball around Max. He hates that stuff,
does he?

Speaker 2 (04:49):
I thought he likes the sporting.

Speaker 3 (04:50):
I'm just lost reading about the Stave Matthews fan Chicago.

Speaker 2 (04:54):
You're not aware of this?

Speaker 1 (04:58):

Speaker 2 (04:59):
Can you imagine relaxing water taxi tour of the beautiful
architecture of Chicago only to be drenched in pope.

Speaker 3 (05:09):
Hundred pounds of it? Oh god, how long are they
storing this cause waste? It's the violinists bus alone.

Speaker 2 (05:17):
Yeah, he wasn't in it.

Speaker 3 (05:18):
The guy was driving around, but it said, uh and
estimated eight hundred pounds of human waste.

Speaker 2 (05:23):
Like, first of all, they get they each get their
own full sized bus. The violinist gets his own pay.
He has passed away, let's be respected. That's right.

Speaker 3 (05:34):
Well, when he lived, he pooped a lot. Yeah, it's
just like, oh, it's terrible.

Speaker 2 (05:42):
Do you see anything in your research there? Max really
quickly not to derail this too much. But was there
legal action taken? Because I would argue, oh, yeah, they had.

Speaker 3 (05:50):
They had to pay two hundred thousand dollars in environmental protection.
They donated another one hundred thousand dollars to like like
the river side, like like nonprofit crews.

Speaker 2 (06:02):
But what did the people covered in filth get paid?

Speaker 3 (06:05):
I am looking into that detail.

Speaker 2 (06:06):

Speaker 3 (06:06):
The bus driver, uh, did have to plead guilty to
dumping waste April two thousand and five.

Speaker 2 (06:14):
Let's just say it wasn't Boyd Tinsley, and that was
the name of the violinist that pulled the trigger. It was.
It was not in the bus right.

Speaker 1 (06:23):
If anything, it's disparaging to his character to call it
his bus. It is a bus that he rode, you
know what I mean.

Speaker 3 (06:32):
Oh, but by the way, just want those They did
take the boat back to doc and issue everyone a refund.
Oh kind of that, and then quickly swapped out his
crew cleaned everything and then having a one tour they
got they didn't miss their next tour.

Speaker 1 (06:51):
Which is weird because there are some tours where people
would pay for that. You know what, it's all about them,
It's all about the framing of the experience.

Speaker 2 (07:02):
I know. But I just feel like damages would have
had to have been paid if that happened to me.
I mean, that is a PTSD type moment, y'all. That
is what if it got in your mouth? Who knows
disease could have been spread.

Speaker 3 (07:14):
I mean a lot of questions if people have to
go to the hospital for that fear alone.

Speaker 1 (07:18):
Oh I'm sure. How does this take us back to skyscrapers?

Speaker 2 (07:22):
Oh yeah, you know where we're looking at the beautiful
architecture before being blasted from our architectural reverie. But let's
get back into it and just talk about the evolution
of the concept of skyscrapers.

Speaker 1 (07:34):
Yeah, because we were talking about this off air a
little bit. The definition of skyscraper. It is no longer
a weirdly big horse, nor a very tall bonnet or hat.
It is now specifically architecture, and the definition is a
bit changeable. The idea of what constitutes a skyscraper, like

the burden of proof gets higher and higher and high.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
Literally. By the late twentieth century, the term was used
to describe what we would now maybe maybe more refer
to as high rise buildings, but particularly high high rises
generally greater than forty or fifty stories, because if we'll
recall back, you know, in the early days of this

type of construction, ten stories was a big deal. Twelve
stories was a big deal. So the scale is sliding now.
In order to be considered a skyscraper, boy, you got
to be a minimum forty stories.

Speaker 1 (08:33):
Wow. Yeah, that's a lot of stories, stories and anthology.
So the historians sometimes will just describe skyscrapers of this
period as the commercial style. But the architects of the

Chicago School they had a common interest. They said, we
can use new material science, we can use steel, we
can use electricity, we can create these buildings that solve
very real problems of urban density. And you know, they
had elevators. Now, it doesn't make sense to build a

skyscraper without elevator technology, you know. I like, what's the
old joke about Manhattan. I got a great place. It's
a fifth story walk up.

Speaker 2 (09:31):
That's the joke. Where's the punchline? That just sounds terrible.

Speaker 1 (09:34):
No, I think the guy was just mad about it.
His calves were great.

Speaker 2 (09:38):
Yeah, the place I stayed recently, a dear friend of
the show, Jordan Runtag, allowed me to crash in his
pad in Brooklyn, and it's a three story walk up,
which it definitely makes you think twice about leaving. They
coming back, even with three stories with no elevator. And
you know, I'm just you know, I'm not exactly female,

most athletic of types, but I can't imagine a five
story walk up. That is very much a thing. And
these are very narrow stairways. I've never personally helped anyone
or moved myself into one of these apartments, but can
you imagine just just lugging your furniture, your bed frame,
all this of turning those corners just seems like a nightmare.

Speaker 3 (10:20):
I'll say. So, as you guys know, I'm taking a
trip to New York and here the next few weeks.

Speaker 2 (10:25):
And that's, by the way, on your first trip to
New York City.

Speaker 3 (10:27):
Yeah, I bet in Chicago many years ago he did
not have poop dumped on me.

Speaker 1 (10:32):
Though New York's great, you're gonna have a fantastic time.

Speaker 3 (10:34):
Well poopy dumped out town.

Speaker 2 (10:36):
Possibly there's places for that if you would like.

Speaker 1 (10:38):
There's always a non zero chance of being pooped on.

Speaker 3 (10:42):
But to continue on, we were gonna book this thereby
and being at booked like the morning right before we
got it, and we ended up getting a different one, more expensive,
And I'm actually kind of hapy about it because the
first one had a five story walk up. Well the
second one has a one. So yeah, I'm like, you know,
but I'm kind of glad we're paying extra for a
nicer place with a one story.

Speaker 2 (11:03):
It just really makes you considerately, do I really want
to go outside?

Speaker 1 (11:09):

Speaker 2 (11:10):

Speaker 1 (11:11):
And this is first off again Max, You're gonna have
a wonderful time. Sorry I can't be there with you.
But next time, let's take a road trip together. What
do you say?

Speaker 3 (11:22):
Yeah, but only if we're going to like North Dakota,
fair enough, or back to Montana's Montana's not the best
day in this country?

Speaker 2 (11:29):
All right?

Speaker 1 (11:29):
Well, I was talking about New York, but sure.

Speaker 3 (11:32):
I mean upstate New York. You can go to Maine, Connecticut.

Speaker 1 (11:36):
Never been to Maine?

Speaker 2 (11:37):
You guys just want to start talking about Skyrm again.
Since all things are on the table, apparently.

Speaker 1 (11:41):
No, I was in Connecticut just like a couple of
weeks ago or last I can't remember last week. Maybe anyway, Yes,
if everything is on the table, then let's introduce a
couple of architects. One of my favorite names from the
Chicago School. I don't know if you're ready for this,

dank Mar.

Speaker 2 (12:03):
Adler, the dankest of dank Mars.

Speaker 1 (12:11):
Dank Mar d A n K M A R.

Speaker 2 (12:14):
Yeah. Usually I think of that name as being a Dagmar.
This guy is dank Mar. He is like the dankest
of the dank and his buddy Lewis Sullivan, their firm,
gave Frank Lloyd Wright another name, well not nearly as
dope as dank Mar, that you may have heard of.

They gave him his first shot architectural stardom, along with
a guy named Daniel Burnham, who in nineteen oh two
designed New York City's still standing flat iron building, which
is it's very cool. Yeah, it's it's it's it's you
love to see that it's still around.

Speaker 1 (12:56):
And the Chicago School really in fluenced, the influenced and
popularized the idea of skyscrapers, but perhaps more importantly, the
way humans started building cities. You know, previously unthinkable levels
of density are suddenly possible with the elevator, with the

building up and building down instead of out. We also
know we also know that other cities picked up the trend.

Speaker 2 (13:34):

Speaker 1 (13:35):
New York makes sense, right because the whole insurance company
is based in New York, so they want to get
in on this. You know what happened. It became an
arms race to build the tallest building.

Speaker 2 (13:48):
Oh, we've already been in that, right, even since, dating
as far back as the Pyramids. Right, everyone's trying to
outdo everyone else there is now but now no longer
it is there this dry I have to build as
close to heaven as possible. It's a much more monetary drive. Right.
But then, of course there is that prestige of making

a name for yourself as a city. You know, we
possess the largest building, the world's tallest building, the United
States tallest building, what have you. It does seem though,
that the honor of world's tallest building is never going
to be in the United States ever.

Speaker 1 (14:25):
Again, well, the odds are not great.

Speaker 2 (14:28):
We'll see, there's a lot of money invested in some
of these other countries we're going to talk about into
being the most literally the most doing the most, being
the most. Ley what if we built the world's tallest
building and also covered it in gold leaf?

Speaker 1 (14:45):
Folks, you may have heard it ridiculous historians. My cat,
doctor Venkman, one of my cats, agreed with that so
hard that he co signed what I was about to say,
which is, really it depends on the record for tallest building,
depends on how many buildings stay standing over time. Right,

It's like the old joke about inflation. One time I
asked my dad, Hey, do you ever think I'll be
a millionaire? And he said, inflation's crazy. You might be
a millionaire tomorrow, which is yeah, disturbing thing to say
to a child.

Speaker 2 (15:21):
Question, does it count that are you a millionaire if
you've earned a million dollars over the course of your life?

Speaker 1 (15:28):
Well, by that definition, a lot of people would be millionaires.

Speaker 2 (15:31):
I think that's right. It's just funny to think about
when you think about things like inflation. I think a
lot of people in like upper middle class, over the
course of a lifetime have likely earned a million dollars
or more. But I guess maybe a million dollar a
millionaire is more termed for people's net worth, right.

Speaker 1 (15:49):
Yeah, And there were a lot of millionaires in the
world of architecture where it would lead to a lot
of millionaires because they like buying skyscrapers. They're super in
to it. It's one of their things.

Speaker 2 (16:01):
And just really quickly to take a sidebar and talk
about an interesting concept that's kind of wrapped up in
the question of does the antenna count, you know, like
who owns the air There is a legal concept wrapped
up in this, the idea of air rights, referring to
a real estate owner's license over the vertical space extending

above their property, and it is something that has to
be procured. There's a real cool article on a blog
called mansion Global that says property owners gain the rights
to the land beneath the physical property as well as
the air space above it, which can offer significant development opportunities.
Vertical development does, though, have to consider air traffic and

the interests of neighbors and use and development of that
air space can't hang over into a neighbor's airspace or
else the neighbor has the right to remove the structure
that could involve things like antennae or satellite dishes that
maybe you're jutting off to the side. As we know,
a lot of you know, New York real estate buildings

that are owned by separate entities are real close to
one another. But I've always found the idea of like
owning the air sort of like owning the moon or something.
It's very interesting. Air rights are known today as transferable
development rights, and they can be leased or bought or
sold just like physical property, and are are incredibly valuable,

as you know, as as available space on the ground
continues to be scarcer and scarcer.

Speaker 1 (17:39):
Yeah, agreed, right, And it's a it's it reminds me
a bit of space Balls, that famous film wherein they
talk about selling air right, remember that they can this.

Speaker 3 (17:53):
Also, you can't say Spaceball. Don't expect me to jump in.
Did you know Tuvak is in that movie, the guy
who plays Tim Russ, who plays Tubac Tubac and of
course he has the greatest line of all time when
they're like comb the planet and they go through like, no,
we found nothing. They ask like the the two Black
stormtroopers who have a pick and Afro pick. Yeah, yeah, screens,

we found. That's pretty about it.

Speaker 2 (18:21):
Last thing that I just want to say that the
up until the nineteen hundreds, air rights were considered to
reach indefinitely into the heavens until a little thing called
air travel became increasingly viable and popular. So now the
Federal Aviation Administration actually has what's called a public easement

for air transportation at high altitudes above all real estate.
So there you go. Just thought i'd mentioned that because
I think it's an interesting concept.

Speaker 1 (18:49):
Yeah, it's it's an innovation that becomes necessary or an idea
that becomes necessary with the construction of things like skyscrapers,
which get higher into the air.

Speaker 2 (19:01):

Speaker 1 (19:01):
And then also the question is the same as or
it's similar to the question of medieval architecture, right, where
they would build two story buildings and then the second
story would jut out from the first, right, which is
part of why the streets looked so weird. It's because

if you lived on the second story of these buildings
in medieval Europe at least, you would commonly throw your
poop out I'm doing a Dave Matthews call back, or
throw your poop out into the street, and you would
who would stop you? Because you were there, you had
the rights to that air well.

Speaker 2 (19:43):
And just swear to God. Last thing. This is fascinating
for some reason. You probably already thought about this. But
one way that developers can capitalize on their air rights
if they're not building up, they've reached a cap kind
of anything above that is going to be impractical, Well,
they can lease it out to advertisers, you know, for billboards.

Speaker 1 (20:04):
And the innovations with the skyscrapers continue. In the first
decade of the twentieth century, there was this demand for
office space. They had a lot of white collar staff
we could call them, that are growing all these office jobs, right,
so where are we going to put all these offices

for all these people. Engineering developments made it easier to
build and live in ever taller buildings. Chicago kept building
new skyscrapers, and New York was more experimental. This is
where we see, you know, the FLATIRN building, which we
mentioned earlier, is where we see the Singer Tower, is

where we see the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company tower, and
the Woolworth building. And I have to tell you it's
weird to me that multiple skyscrapers are the property of
insurance companies. I guess that's a good billboard, yeah.

Speaker 2 (21:02):
For sure. And I guess it is sort of an
old industry as well. These skyscrapers were largely commercial successes,
but this idea of these kind of towering structures started
to feel to some like eye sores. They broke up

the city skylines and created issues with kind of neighboring
streets and buildings being shrouded in shadow because of these giant,
looming structures. There was, of course, we know was coming.
We all saw it, maybe not the time, but a
serious economic depression coming that led to zoning restraints in

New York City in nineteen sixty. Up until this point, guys,
it was kind of wild westy you know, in terms
of like with the unfettered development and being able to
build up. So zoning became much more of a thing.
And as many folks that are interested in city planning,
no zoning is very very important. It can be a

real pain in the butt in terms of like what
is this space zoned for? You know what type of use?
And you have to get permits based on all of
these things to build and unless you're Greece and some palms,
which as we know, certainly is a thing. It can't
hold you up, it can hold up development, and definitely
if you're not, you know, ticking the boxes.

Speaker 1 (22:29):
And people love a good idea, right at least in
the world of engineering, And so between World War One
and World War Two, skyscrapers spread to most major US cities.
And if you look around the world at this time,
you'll see skyscrapers popping up in Japan and China, Argentina, Italy, Poland, Spain.

Of course the United Kingdom. They took our comments about
the Tower London person, yeah, and built things like the Strand.
So the economic boom of the nineteen twenties and all
the real estate speculation encouraged a new wave of skyscraper

projects in New York and Chicago. They also did something
pretty smart. We talked about it a little bit, the
exoskeleton concept. So our old architect Jenny figured out this
idea of a curtain wall. That's where you build this
skeleton of metal and then you sort of tack masonry

on it and it looks like it's a stone building,
but the actual internal structure is steel. And skyscrapers mimic
that design today.

Speaker 2 (23:50):
Kind of reminds me of like the you know, traditional
home building where you got like a wood sort of strain,
you know, with studs and all of that, and crossby
that's then covered with drywall.

Speaker 1 (24:10):
And this is the story of the skyscraper. This has
turned into a two parter. Spoiler, folks. We also know
that now skyscrapers, which were once commercial architecture, they're residential
at this point, Like a lot of people live in
what we would call skyscrapers. And you may be asking

yourself what happened to that famous home insurance building. Well,
it was demolished in nineteen thirty one and replaced with
an even taller skyscraper.

Speaker 2 (24:45):
Of course it was yeah, forty five stories, the Lesalle
Bank building. Well, I guess that kind of does bring
us to the presence we should probably talk about some
absurdlyly phallically dog swinging skyscraper flexes.

Speaker 1 (25:04):
Huh yeah, yeah, you want to talk about the top five,
Maybe we start with number five and get together.

Speaker 2 (25:09):
I think we should number five. Oh boy, I'm not
gonna do an amazing Joba pronouncing. Actually, Ben, maybe you
should do this one. You've got a little bit more
grasp of Chinese pronunciation than oh no, no.

Speaker 1 (25:22):
Just spelled PI n G Space A in the ping
On Finance Center in Shenzhen, China, built in twenty seventeen.
It's a little bit south of two thousand feet tall
and it has one hundred and fifteen occupied floors nine
hundred and sixty five feet tall. We are fund at parties.

Speaker 2 (25:42):
Yeah, and this is I guess the name says it
all right, it is. Oh, it's a it's a real
cool looking building. Very it looks like some sort of
like crystal, you know, like with the tip of it,
like a like a very giant sort of like energy crystal.
Some guy. It's considered actually a many of these are

considered like superstructures, like super tall skyscrapers. Right. And it
was commissioned by ping On Insurance and designed by an
American architect actually American architectural firm Kohne Patterson Fox Associates,
and was finished in twenty seventeen. And it's the tallest
building in Shenzen and the second tallest building in China,

but only the fifth tallest in the world.

Speaker 1 (26:28):
Yeah. To look at the next tallest building, We're traveling
to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The Macaw Royal Clock tower.
It was built in twenty twelve, so it's older than
the ping Alan Finance Center. It is one nine hundred
and seventy two feet tall. It has one hundred and
twenty occupied floors. So again we see this. These people

are edging each other out by margins.

Speaker 2 (26:54):
You know. Wow. And to be fair, I've never been
in this building, but it does have a bit of
a topper, almost like a hood ornament type deally bob
on the top. That doesn't seem occupiable to me. There's
in a big chunk of it is the clock face
in and of itself. So this one seems to be
hedging a little bit. I don't know, guys, what do
you think?

Speaker 1 (27:15):
Well, it still has more. That's that's why I wanted
to put the occupied floors.

Speaker 2 (27:20):
Okay, okay, so that's taking into account, thank you.

Speaker 1 (27:23):
So it as five war occupied floors, right, non antenna,
non clock, dally bops.

Speaker 2 (27:31):

Speaker 1 (27:31):
The next window is even taller.

Speaker 2 (27:34):
That's right. It is the Shanghai Tower in Cleveland, Ohio.
That's a joke. That's fun. It's a funny joke.

Speaker 1 (27:43):
Did it work?

Speaker 2 (27:46):
Do you guys know? The deal with Ohio? It is
the thing the kids are saying like, is Ohio good
or bad? You know if you're you've got skibbity Ohio riz?
Do you guys know about this? Okay? I think Ohio's lame.
I think I think Ohio is considered kind of milk toast,
kind of like no swag, not cool.

Speaker 3 (28:05):
I mean the Buckeye state think think about it.

Speaker 2 (28:08):
You are fun at parties, aren't you've been?

Speaker 3 (28:10):
I do that one not too actually, but that's some
universal mission fan. It's like, let's make a swamp, make
it completely flat, and then make it cold. Are you
talking about DC or Ohio? H DC is also really
hot as well.

Speaker 2 (28:23):
Yeah, he's different.

Speaker 3 (28:24):
I mean DC's a different level of swamp.

Speaker 1 (28:27):
We're keeping all of this, of course.

Speaker 2 (28:28):
We are, because I thought Cleveland rocks. The kids don't
appreciate rocket.

Speaker 3 (28:33):
Have you ever seen the hastily made Cleveland tourism videos. No,
it's an early early YouTube jokes type of stuff. There's
some stuff, and of course that's age like milk. But
I'll send them to y'all later.

Speaker 2 (28:45):
Please, But you guys are familiar with this idea that
the kids are slandering Ohio on the regulars lo key Okay,
So no, it's not actually in Cleveland, Ohio. It's in Shanghai. Oh.

Speaker 1 (28:57):
The tower yes, built in twenty fifteen, being a little
bit north of two thousand feet tall, one hundred and
twenty eight occupied floors. How would how would we describe
the appearance?

Speaker 2 (29:10):
Yeah, let's uh, let's let's do that. Oh boy, uh,
very very Lord of the ringsy. It looks kind of
like the like it's got a weird bowing structure on
the inside, like it tapers kind of. I don't know,
it's giving souron vibes to me for some reason. It
just needs that eye floating over the top. By the way,

I've always thought this been and there's one in particular
I want to say it's in It's a city that
we've been to a couple of times. I think Austin maybe,
But there's like a building that does have these two
two towers kind of that you could picture like electricity
tesla coiling between. And there's something kind of sinister about

the designs of some of these buildings, especially.

Speaker 1 (29:58):
When we consider that the film adaptation of The Lord
of the Rings right was made in two thousand and one.
So whoever built the Shanghai Towers in twenty fifteen, knew
about the Tower of Surai and the adaptation of it,
and they must have said it was cool. They also

they always.

Speaker 2 (30:20):
Kind of you know what the tapering comes from, Ben,
I'm seeing it only from aside, But if you look
at like a three sixty shot, it kind of twists.
It sort of has like a weird half twist as
it goes up. God, that is in the architecture is
so cool, Like, how'd you accomplished that? I just couldn't
even begin to answer that question.

Speaker 1 (30:39):
What is it like to live on floor one twenty
eight or have your office on the one hundred and
twenty eighth floor. I feel like there's a diminishing return,
like at some point that elevator ride becomes uncomfortable, or
you ride multiple elevators, like you have to go to
floor fifty and switch and then switch again. Eventually it's

like taking a bus trip.

Speaker 2 (31:02):
Guys. Apparently this was a giant economic flop. Apparently due
to a bureaucratic red tape, safety concerns and issues from
local fire authorities who were concerned about this giant flexy height.
It took several years for the tower to gain all
of its fire certifications. While operating at losses, the tower

ran a deficit of more than one point five billion dollars. Cool,
nothing weird. I guess that's the gamble though, right every
time you build a skyscraper, you're taking an enormous risk.
You might end up with something like number two right now.
The second tallest skyscraper the merdeca Ie eighteen in Malaysia.

This was built in twenty twenty three, just last year.
It's two two hundred and twenty seven feet tall, but
it only has one hundred and eighteen occupied floors, which
leads me to once again ask should we.

Speaker 1 (32:03):
Count the antenna? Should we count the part of the
building where people can actually.

Speaker 2 (32:09):
Go I'm with you both, Well, I'm with you Max,
and I think you're probably on the same I know
you're just being Devil's advocate here, but I think we
all agree that, you know, unless you're one of those
Spiderman type figures who can like crawl the top of
that antenna to do a crazy panoramic YouTube video that
makes me want to vomit. You see those these crazy
Russian kids that go out and do these and they

hang off the top of these things. Absolutely terrifying just
watching the video. I can't even do the VR, you know,
stepping off the edge of the plank game without getting
a little bit of a cold sweat. But I think
one thing we're learning clearly here is that past a
certain point, this stuff does become risky, as evidenced by
the Shanghai towers and ability to get those permits because

of safety concerns. So you do get to a point
where this is literally a d measuring contest.

Speaker 1 (33:00):
Yeah, and we know that this contest continues right now
as we are recording on May twenty first, twenty twenty four.
The Berje Khalifa in the UAE United Arab Emirates is
the tallest building in the world. It was built in
twenty ten. It's two thousand, seven hundred and seventeen feet tall.

There are one hundred and sixty three occupied floors. However,
this will be number two pretty soon if everything else,
if everything goes to play in Saudi Arabia, is going
to make the world's newest tallest building. The Jetta Tower.

Speaker 2 (33:42):
Located in Jetta, Saudi Arabia, which is a port city
bordered by the Red Sea. It's the second most populated
city in Saudi Arabia. When complete, this skyscraper will be
the tallest skyscraper in the world. But that's going to
be quite a way away though, right Do we have
an ETA on completion? Everything I'm seeing is just kind

of artists rendering. It looks here, oh, it has. It
is under construction. It started back at twenty thirteen, took
a pause in twenty eighteen because they switched contractors, I
believe due to some political issues. It is predicted to
be completed. Jeez, it doesn't really say.

Speaker 1 (34:26):
They don't really know. They just have construction restarted in September.

Speaker 2 (34:31):
Speaking of stuff that's been under construction for ages, I'm
really excited. I'm going to Barcelona, Spain for the first time,
and I'm looking forward to seeing the gaudy church that
has been under construction for like one hundred years. It
is called the Sagrada Familia. It is the largest unfinished

Catholic church in the world, designed by Antony Gaudi, and
it is just about to be officially finished and you
can take a tour, and I'm really looking forward to
checking it out. It looks like something out of like
an alien movie. It's very otherworldly.

Speaker 1 (35:10):
And the construction continues. Humans like making stuff. This is
our week on skyscrapers, folks. It ended up as a
two parter because we just kept building. I'm doing references
and talking about poop. Well, Max, it needs to be mentioned.

Speaker 3 (35:31):
Not throw me under the bus. No, you brought up
skyrm beforehand. You brought up the poop.

Speaker 2 (35:36):
I know, but then you just double down every time. Max,
You're incorrigible, you're encouraged.

Speaker 3 (35:41):
That's my job. That's what y'all pay me to do.

Speaker 2 (35:44):
Fair enough, fair enough, and worth every penny.

Speaker 1 (35:47):
And thank you to our super producer, mister Max Williams,
Thanks to aj Bahamas Jacobs, thanks to doctor Rachel Big
Spinach Lance and of course thinks that Eves Jeff goat
here in spirit.

Speaker 2 (36:00):
And thanks to you Ben for rocking this incredible outline,
taking us on this incredible water taxi tour through the
history of skyscrapers, and we emerged unscathed by the fecal
matter of the Dave Matthews Band, So thank you for
that as well, maybe slightly slightly scathed.

Speaker 1 (36:17):
You know, he's a big fan of Dave Matthews. Jonathan
Strickland aka the quister.

Speaker 2 (36:23):
I wonder if he's such a monster. We'll see you
next time, folks. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your
favorite shows.

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