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TIMELINE: 52 game-changing buildings through the years

Game Changers

TIMELINE: 52 game-changing buildings through the years

From the E.V. Haughwout Building (first passenger elevator) to the Sackett-Wilhelms printing plant (first building with modern AC), BD+C editors present a timeline of the pacesetting projects from the past 170 years. 

By BD+C Staff | February 5, 2016
TIMELINE: 52 game-changing buildings through the years

Philip Johnson once called the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao “the greatest building of our time.” Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As a postscript to BD+C’s 2016 Game Changers report, the editors compiled a list of 52 pacesetting projects from the past 170 years.

The timeline below includes an elite collection of architectural treasures (Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House), engineering feats (Burj Khalifa, CCTV HQ, Taipei 101), sustainability innovators (Philip Merrill Environmental Center, Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, Packard Foundation HQ), and cultural gems (The High Line, Central Park, Coulée verte René-Dumont). Enjoy! 



Wikimedia commons

Jayne Building, Philadelphia: first metal-framed glass curtain wall



Wikimedia Commons

Crystal Palace, London: world’s first grand plate-glass structure



Wikimedia Commons

E.V. Haughwout Building, New York City: first passenger elevator



Wikipedia Commons

Central Park, New York City: nation’s first grand urban park



Wikimedia Commons

Savoy Theatre, London: first public building to be lit entirely by electricity



Wikimedia Commons

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain: Gaudí’s masterpiece breaks ground



Wikimedia Commons

Home Insurance Building, Chicago: world’s first skyscraper



Wikimedia Commons

Eiffel Tower, Paris: world’s tallest structure, until 1930



Wikimedia Commons

Rand McNally Building, Chicago: first all-steel-framed building



Wikimedia Commons

Wainwright Building, St. Louis, Mo.: Louis Sullivan’s influential office tower



Wikimedia Commons

Sea Lion Park, Coney Island, N.Y.: first permanent amusement park to charge admission for rides



Wikimedia Commons

Ingalls Building, Cincinnati: world’s first reinforced concrete skyscraper




Sackett-Wilhelms printing plant, Brooklyn, N.Y.: first building with modern AC



Wikimedia Commons

Highland Park (Mich.) Ford Plant: first moving assembly line




Hotel La Salle garage, Chicago: first multistory parking garage



Wikimedia Commons

Chrysler Building, New York City: world’s tallest, until 1931



Wikimedia Commons

Empire State Building, New York City: world’s tallest, until 1974



Wikimedia Commons

Pentagon, Arlington, Va.: one of the globe’s largest (and most secure) offices



Wikimedia Commons

Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif.: revolutionized amusement parks



Wikimedia Commons

Bridgers and Paxton Solar Building, Albuquerque, N.M.: first solar building



Wikimedia Commons

Guggenheim Museum, New York City: arguably FLW’s greatest nonres. work



Wikimedia Commons

Civic Arena, Pittsburgh: first sports venue with a retractable roof



Wikimedia Commons

Astrodome, Houston: world’s first domed sports stadium



Wikimedia Commons

Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Mo.: nation’s tallest manmade monument



Wikimedia Commons

Montreal Biosphère, Québec: Buckminster Fuller’s most notable dome



Wikimedia Commons

1 and 2 World Trade Center, world’s tallest twin towers, until 1998



Wikimedia Commons

Sydney (Australia) Opera House: Jørn Utzon and Arup’s masterpiece



Wikimedia Commons

Willis (Sears) Tower, Chicago: world’s tallest, until 1998



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CN Tower, Toronto: world’s tallest slip-form-erected building




Foothill Communities Law Center, San Bernardino, Calif: first seismic base isolation



Wikimedia Commons

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, North Korea: world’s largest stadium



Dr. Wolfgang Feist, Passivhouse Institute

Kranichstein row houses, Germany: first Passive House-rated building



Wikimedia Commons

El Peix, Barcelona, Spain: Frank Gehry’s first CATIA-assisted design



Wikimedia Commons

Matitone, Genoa, Italy: first major BIM-designed building (ArchiCAD was used)




Coulée verte René-Dumont, Paris: world’s first elevated, linear park




Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: “The greatest building of our time.” (Philip Johnson)



Wikimedia Commons

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: world’s tallest twin towers



Wikimedia Commons

Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, Ohio: first Living Machine system



Wikimedia Commons

Philip Merrill Environmental Center, Annapolis, Md.: first LEED Platinum building



Wikimedia Commons

Taipei 101, Taiwan: world’s tallest, until 2010



Wikimedia Commons

Turning Torso, Malmö, Sweden: world’s first twisting skyscraper



Wikimedia Commons

Beijing National Stadium: largest steel building in the world



Wikimedia Commons

CCTV, Beijing: “3D cranked loop” form is a structural engineering marvel



Wikimedia Commons

The High Line, New York City: sparked the elevated, linear park craze



Washington University in St. Louis

Tyson Living Learning Center, Eureka, Mo.: first Living Building-certified project



Wikimedia Commons

Burj Khalifa, Dubai: current world’s tallest




Miami Valley Heart Center, Ohio: large-scale prefab MEP installation



Packard Foundation

Packard Foundation HQ, Los Altos, Calif.: largest net-zero-certified building



Victoria Harbour

Forté, Melbourne, Australia: world’s tallest all-timber tower



Wikimedia Commons

Cayan Tower, Dubai: world’s tallest twisting tower




New Century Global Center, Chengdu, China: world’s largest building




WinSun apartments, Shanghai: first 3D-printed commercial building

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