It’s hardly an original observation: Whenever the “tallest building in the world” rises up, the world economy goes into a downfall. It’s true even in individual cities, like Vancouver.
The tallest buildings in the British Empire, the Dominion Building (1910) and the Sun (or World) Tower (1912) respectively, were completed just in time for the Crash of 1913; the Marine Building (1930) was opened just in time to go bankrupt in the Crash of ’29, and Park Place (1984) got swept away in the downtown after 1981.
The Real Deal updates the international list: Why this 2,073-foot Chinese building could be an omen of economic doom, and provides a timeline of other towers that got hit in economic gales.
The newly completed 2,073-foot-tall Shanghai Tower is officially the second-tallest building in the world (behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa) and the tallest in China.
Equitable Life Building (1873) and The Long Depression, 1873–1878
The 142-foot building was the world’s first skyscraper. (You could stack 14 of these on top of one another, and they still wouldn’t be taller than China’s new Shanghai Tower.)
Auditorium (1889) and New York World (1890) and the British banking crisis, 1890
Masonic Temple, Manhattan Life Building, and Milwaukee City Hall (1893) and the US panic marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding, 1893
Chicago’s 302-foot-tall Masonic Temple, the 348-foot-tall Manhattan Life Building, and the 353-foot-tall Milwaukee City Hall coincided with the US panic of 1893 marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding.
It also overlapped with a string of bank failures and a run on gold.
Park Row Building and Philadelphia City Hall (1901) and the First stock market crash on the NYSE, 1901