A History of the World’s Most Extraordinary Building

Judith Dupré
Introduction by Adrian Smith

At 18 inches tall, this revised edition of Judith Dupré’s best-selling Skyscrapers is a giant celebration of all of today’s most significant superstructures and features an all-new design with full-color photographs, 10 new buildings, and informative updates throughout.

When Judith Dupré’s inspired history of the skyscraper was published in 1996, it was an instant bestseller. Now, critically acclaimed with more than 475,000 copies in print, it has become a modern classic. In this new edition of Skyscapers, Dupré has updated the book from sidewalk to spire and added 15 new essays. The book opens with a provocative interview with architect Adrian Smith, designer of the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, and the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, soon to be the newest tallest and the first structure on earth to break the one kilometer mark.

Breathtaking full color photographs capture the buildings’ monumental scale and larger-than-life personalities, while the book’s arresting design and oversize format mirrors the shape of its subject. The skyscraper is celebrated in a chronological tour – spanning 125 years and circling the globe – of the world’s tallest buildings, designed by such star architects as Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Philip Johnson, Morphosis, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, and Christian de Portzamparc.

Each spread features photos of the supertalls from various angles, building plans, diagrams, insights from the architects, and structural details. Thematic spreads explore the history of towers; the building boom in China, home to 60 of the 100 tallest buildings now under construction; and the new supergreen, supertall towers. Throughout, informative profiles, features, and statistics make Skyscrapers not only a magnificent visual feast, but also an invaluable reference.

Skyscrapers introduces readers to the world’s most remarkable and beloved buildings, including the Chrysler Building, Willis (Sears) Tower, and the Transamerica Pyramid. It includes Price Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright’s only realized skyscraper; 30 St Mary Ax, that woke up London’s staid skyline; Chicago’s Aqua, by Jeanne Gang, the only skyscraper designed by a firm owned by a woman; Bank of America Tower, Manhattan’s “greenest” skyscraper; Trump International Hotel and Tower, developed by Donald Trump, which began earning income even before it was completed; and One World Trade Center, soon to open at Ground Zero.

Other outstanding buildings in the new edition are the Shard of London, the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Mecca, and 53W53 in New York. This year, Shanghai Tower topped out. Coupled with Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai now boasts the world’s first adjacent grouping of three supertalls.

Dupré also details recent innovations in construction. For example, One World Trade Center uses concrete that can withstand up to 14,000 lbs per square inch of pressure. Buildings are also being constructed in a more environmentally responsible way. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed Pearl River Tower in China to b the first skyscraper to consume no energy. She also explores the skyscraper-based satellite cities being planned for population-rich countries.

Environmentally responsible skyscrapers are on the rise. According to architect Adrian Smith, “Developers are seeing the payback from highly sustainable buildings. Routinely, now, developers are asking for LEED Gold [Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design], whereas before they just wanted it certified. In China, where there’s a modified LEED system, they’re asking for LEED Gold and sometimes Platinum. We are not seeing adherence to stringent LEED standards yet in Saudi Arabia, but I think that will come around in future buildings.”

Skyscrapers is for everyone who looks up when they walk down a street. They represent many different things to different people: beauty, power, wealthy, urbanity. In Judith Dupré’s knowledgeable hands and distinctively elegant voice, Skyscrapers takes us literally and figuratively on a tour of skyscrapers from the ground up, from their origins to their present place in the physical and psychological landscape, and a vision of their future.

Judith Dupré is passionate about the built world. A graduate of Brown and Yale Universities, she is the author of several acclaimed and bestselling books about architecture, including Bridges (BD&L), New York Times bestselling Churches, and Monuments. She consults on large scale infrastructure projects and lectures at Yale and other universities. She lives in New York. Find her on

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