A skyscraper is a wonder of architectural innovation just on the merits of everything you can see, but when you go deep underground, it becomes even more insane. After all, these foundations are the reason the building doesn’t just fall over with a strong wind. Here are some of the most important things to know about the foundations for some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers.
Wilshire Grand Center – Los Angeles – 1,100 Ft Tall
This building is the tallest in the United States West of Chicago, and it’s definitely a beautiful building that’s easy to see in Los Angeles. Plus, the concrete mat, which is 18 feet thick, set a Guinness World Record: the largest continuous concrete pour in history.
Willis Tower – Chicago – 1,451 Ft Tall
This gigantic building, which used to be called the Sears Tower, was the tallest building in the United States and the world for nearly 25 years. It withstands the strong Chicago winds with 114 reinforced concrete caissons that drill directly into the bedrock.
Taipei 101 – Taipei – 1,667 Ft Tall
This unique postmodernist skyscraper has an extremely deep foundation, stretching down 262 feet, including a four-foot-thick wall that extends 154 feet down to cut off groundwater, which starts about six feet below grade. It’s also the tallest and largest green building in the world, with a platinum LEED certification.
One World Trade Center – New York City – 1,776 Ft Tall
After the original World Trade Center building was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the One World Trade Center came up to take its place many years later. Its height is an intentional reference to the year the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the skyscraper’s underground supports had to go around existing commuter trains.
Shanghai Tower – Shanghai – 2,073 Ft Tall
This building has the deepest foundation on this list, with a foundation that reaches down a whopping 282 feet, which is 13.6% of the building’s height. To support its weight, the tower uses 980 foundation piles with a three-foot diameter and a 20-foot-thick concrete mat for reinforcement.
Burj Khalifa – Dubai – 2,723 Ft Tall
This is currently the tallest building on the planet, and that makes it even more surprising that the foundation isn’t actually the deepest on this list – it’s only 164 feet deep, shallower than either Shanghai Tower’s or Taipei 101’s. One difference may be that the Burj Khalifa has a very wide base that moves up into the immensely high skyscraper.
There are many differences between the different skyscrapers on this list, and even though the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest building for a pretty long time, you never know when someone might be able to change that with some advancements in the way people create skyscrapers. However, one thing is for certain: the architectural marvels of the foundations of these buildings are just as amazing, if not sometimes more so, than the architectural marvels that one can see above ground. The entire structure is truly phenomenal.