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!
Jayne Building, Philadelphia: first metal-framed glass curtain wall
Crystal Palace, London: world’s first grand plate-glass structure
E.V. Haughwout Building, New York City: first passenger elevator
Central Park, New York City: nation’s first grand urban park
Savoy Theatre, London: first public building to be lit entirely by electricity
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain: Gaudí’s masterpiece breaks ground
Home Insurance Building, Chicago: world’s first skyscraper
Eiffel Tower, Paris: world’s tallest structure, until 1930
Rand McNally Building, Chicago: first all-steel-framed building
Wainwright Building, St. Louis, Mo.: Louis Sullivan’s influential office tower
Sea Lion Park, Coney Island, N.Y.: first permanent amusement park to charge admission for rides
Ingalls Building, Cincinnati: world’s first reinforced concrete skyscraper
Sackett-Wilhelms printing plant, Brooklyn, N.Y.: first building with modern AC
Highland Park (Mich.) Ford Plant: first moving assembly line
Hotel La Salle garage, Chicago: first multistory parking garage
Chrysler Building, New York City: world’s tallest, until 1931
Empire State Building, New York City: world’s tallest, until 1974
Pentagon, Arlington, Va.: one of the globe’s largest (and most secure) offices
Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif.: revolutionized amusement parks
Bridgers and Paxton Solar Building, Albuquerque, N.M.: first solar building
Guggenheim Museum, New York City: arguably FLW’s greatest nonres. work
Civic Arena, Pittsburgh: first sports venue with a retractable roof
Astrodome, Houston: world’s first domed sports stadium
Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Mo.: nation’s tallest manmade monument
Montreal Biosphère, Québec: Buckminster Fuller’s most notable dome
1 and 2 World Trade Center, world’s tallest twin towers, until 1998
Sydney (Australia) Opera House: Jørn Utzon and Arup’s masterpiece
Willis (Sears) Tower, Chicago: world’s tallest, until 1998
CN Tower, Toronto: world’s tallest slip-form-erected building
Foothill Communities Law Center, San Bernardino, Calif: first seismic base isolation
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
El Peix, Barcelona, Spain: Frank Gehry’s first CATIA-assisted design
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)
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: world’s tallest twin towers
Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, Ohio: first Living Machine system
Philip Merrill Environmental Center, Annapolis, Md.: first LEED Platinum building
Taipei 101, Taiwan: world’s tallest, until 2010
Turning Torso, Malmö, Sweden: world’s first twisting skyscraper
Beijing National Stadium: largest steel building in the world
CCTV, Beijing: “3D cranked loop” form is a structural engineering marvel
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
Burj Khalifa, Dubai: current world’s tallest
Miami Valley Heart Center, Ohio: large-scale prefab MEP installation
Packard Foundation HQ, Los Altos, Calif.: largest net-zero-certified building
Forté, Melbourne, Australia: world’s tallest all-timber tower
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
Transportation & Parking Facilities | Mar 23, 2023
Amsterdam debuts underwater bicycle parking facility that can accommodate over 4,000 bikes
In February, Amsterdam saw the opening of a new underwater bicycle parking facility. Located in the heart of the city—next to Amsterdam Central Station and under the river IJ (Amsterdam’s waterfront)—the facility, dubbed IJboulevard, has parking spots for over 4,000 bicycles, freeing up space on the street.
AEC Innovators | Mar 3, 2023
Meet BD+C's 2023 AEC Innovators
More than ever, AEC firms and their suppliers are wedding innovation with corporate responsibility. How they are addressing climate change usually gets the headlines. But as the following articles in our AEC Innovators package chronicle, companies are attempting to make an impact as well on the integrity of their supply chains, the reduction of construction waste, and answering calls for more affordable housing and homeless shelters. As often as not, these companies are partnering with municipalities and nonprofit interest groups to help guide their production.
AEC Tech Innovation | Jan 24, 2023
ConTech investment weathered last year’s shaky economy
Investment in construction technology (ConTech) hit $5.38 billion last year (less than a 1% falloff compared to 2021) from 228 deals, according to CEMEX Ventures’ estimates. The firm announced its top 50 construction technology startups of 2023.
Game Changers | Oct 4, 2019
Call to action: BD+C is looking for the industry’s next game-changing projects
Is your firm working on a project that could be the next advance in design, engineering, technology, or construction? If so, send us information about it for possible inclusion in our upcoming “Game Changers” feature.
Game Changers | Jan 17, 2019
The coming bonanza in marijuana facilities
AEC firms are rushing to fill orders for cannabis facilities in the 33 states where the sale of marijuana is now legal.
Game Changers | Jan 16, 2019
In the age of Amazon there's nowhere to go but up
Multistory warehouses could help speed ecommerce delivery in urban centers.
Game Changers | Jan 15, 2019
IPD super teams hit jackpot for clients
Meet the firms achieving double-digit returns using true, shared-risk, multi-party integrated project delivery.
Game Changers | Jan 9, 2019
Developers invest in mega amenities to draw top-notch tenants
As the competition for highly coveted tenants and patrons heats up, developers take the amenities arms race to new extremes.
Game Changers | Jan 17, 2018
Is farming ready to grow up?
Armed with the latest agri-tech and millions in VC funding, vertical farming startups believe they’ve cracked the code on indoor farming.
Game Changers | Jan 16, 2018
Shape shifters: Kinetic architecture allows buildings to perform beyond their intended purpose
Kinetic architecture can bring practical and aesthetic value to an already ambitious project.