Famous Metal Building Structures

While wood constructed buildings have been the norm for generations, metal building construction has trended rapidly for over 150 years. Throughout the world, we have some of the most iconic and majestic metal building structures that have withstood the test of time. These architectural innovations have taken advantage of the strength and durable properties found in metal that has become a cost-effective commodity. Check out our list about the famous metal building structures around the world.

Eiffel Tower

Whenever a question about naming a steel structure comes up, perhaps the first one that comes to mind is the Eiffel Tower. It was first constructed in 1889 for the World Exhibition as the fair displayed artifacts, objects, and other exhibition pieces. The Eiffel Tower stands at about 1,050 feet and was considered one of the tallest buildings in the world for the next 45 years.

While many people think that the Eiffel Tower is made out of steel, this metal was not available enough during that year for the engineers to use, and they weren’t confident that steel could withstand the rigors of time and weather without collapsing. Instead, they used 7,000 metric tons of puddle iron. It took 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days to construct the iconic tower. To maintain it today, the Eiffel Tower is stripped and painted every 7 years.

Empire State Building

Between the years of 1931 to 1971, the Empire State Building in New York was considered the tallest metal building structure in the world. The 103-story building stands at 1,454 feet, going higher than even the Eiffel Tower. The entire building weighs more than 365,000 tons, with 57,000 tons being contributed by the massive amount of steel used in its construction. The rest of the structure is made from 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel, and 10 million bricks.

It took 1 year and 45 days to construct the Empire State Building. Its architectural design focused on the Art Deco trends during the 1930s. It is mainly used as offices for corporate functions and does not have any residents living in the building.

Burj Khalifa

When looking at more recent metal buildings that are the tallest structures in the world, the Burj Khalifa is at the top of the list. Completed in 2009 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the building has 163 stories and stands at 2,719.8 feet. It is considered the tallest building in the world as of this year. It took 5 years to construct the building as it has an 11-hectare park, 900-foot long fountain, and an observation deck on the 124th floor.

During construction of the building, engineers adopted a bundled tube design to reduce the amount of metal that would be needed to make the structure. Workers used 39,000 tons of steel rebar and 431,600 cubic yards of concrete for the foundation and an additional 166,800 square feet of embossed stainless steel as well as 1.1 million square feet of glass. The building is considered mixed use, as it has commercial offices, residential apartments, and hospitality shops.

Willis (Sears) Tower

Once known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower located in Chicago, Illinois is an impressive and famous structure that was built in the 1970s. The building is a 110-story steel-frame structure that took 3 years to complete. It was considered the tallest building up to 1998 and has the highest observation deck located in the United States. It is 1,450 feet tall for just the building. When adding in the building’s twin antennae, the total height rises up to 1,730 feet.

The building’s combined weight is 220,000 tons and 76,000 tons of steel was used in its construction. The Willis Tower has a unique construction design as it uses smaller buildings joined together and held in place with massive steel supports and beams. The Sears Roebuck & Company had its central offices there for 18 years until they sold the building and moved out. It was renamed the Willis Tower after Willis Group Holdings and was later acquired by Blackstone in 2015. Over 100 companies used the building as corporate offices.

There are many other famous metal building structures around the world, including the US (USX) Steel Tower, the Seagram Building, The Chrysler Building, and countless steel bridges and arches. 

Contact SteelCo

While you may not be looking to construct a famous building, you can get sturdy and durable steel building construction here at SteelCo. Contact us today to learn more.


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