Inside the Race For the World's First Mile-High Building

The race is on to construct the world’s first mile-high building. It would be almost twice the size of the Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building in the world, and four times the size of the Empire State Building. The difference in air pressure means designers will have to crack the altitude sickness issue. In 1956, Frank Lloyd Wright unveiled a design for a mile-high skyscraper called the Illinois that was to be built in Chicago. The plans called for 528 floors, with 12.3 million square feet of office space to be occupied by a maximum of 130,000 people. Commuters could choose from 15,000 parking spots after they arrived by one of four feeder highways. Two helicopter landing decks could accommodate 50 helicopters each, and the building was to be served by 76 quintuple-deck elevators — 5 elevators stacked on top of each other. In 1923, after witnessing a devastating earthquake in Japan, Wright decided skyscrapers could become a threat to the welfare of human beings, and that was the end of his plans for a mile-high building. Are we likely to be living in a world populated by mile-high towers? That remains to be seen.

Frank Lloyd Wright's depiction of the mile-high building, Illinois