Tallest building in any city

My father would always say that the tallest building in any city will always be a bank. I am wondering how true this is.

Probably not true at all.

Tallest building in Chicago: office building.

Tallest building in Springfield: hotel.

Tallest building in Peoria: hotel.

Tallest building in St. Louis: a monument.

Tallest building in Washington, DC: a monument.


If you look at this list List of tallest buildings by U.S. state and territory - Wikipedia
a large percentage of them are banks.

Don’t think it’s true in Nashville. The tallest building used to be an insurance building, then it was a rival insurance building and now it’s a telephone company building. On this list ( List of tallest buildings in Nashville - Wikipedia ) #3 and #5 are the insurance buildings I mentioned.

Looks like for a while #2 (a bank) was the tallest. FWIW, #1 is better known as “The Batman Building.”

Certainly not true in the U.S. Just look at the list of tallest buildings by state. There are a number of bank buildings on it but it is far from true for all or even most cities.

So even if it isn’t the tallest it’s in the top 5.

Yes. And for a while, before Batman, it was the tallest. When I first came to town #5 was by far the tallest and could be seen in the middle of every highway coming into town. We talking “centrally located.” Recent buildings have made downtown more of a tall building cluster than those days of the 50’s. And the only reason Batman draws so much attention is its shape.

Check it out: File:Nashville panorama Kaldari 01.jpg - Wikipedia

(The L&C Building (#5) is blocked from view, but you can make out its observation tower behind ths beige/brown building fourth from left.)

The Washington Monument’s not really a building, though it remains the tallest structure in the city that’s not a radio tower. The tallest habitable building would be the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The tallest building in Montreal is 1000 De La Gauchetière, an office building.

The tallest building in Toronto (and in Canada) is First Canadian Place, an office building that houses the headquarters of the Bank of Montreal (yes, we know) but a bunch of other companies too, like most office buildings.

The tallest building in Calgary houses the headquarters of an energy company.

The tallest building in Vancouver is a condominium and hotel tower; in Edmonton, an office building whose anchor tenant is an insurance company; in Winnipeg it was built by a bank but now belongs to a broadcaster.

Boston: 62-story John Hancock Insurance is the tallest, having surpassed the 52-story Prudential (Insurance Co.) Tower (on whose 48th floor I worked for 2 years).

As for the tallest in the world, from

Tallest building by function
Category Structure Country City Architectural top (m, ft)
Mixed-Use* Burj Khalifa United Arab Emirates Dubai 828 2,717
Office Taipei 101 Taiwan Taipei 509 1,671
Hotel Rose Tower United Arab Emirates Dubai 333 1,093
Residential Q1 Australia Gold Coast 323 1,059
Educational Moscow State U Russia Moscow 240 787
Church Ulm Minster Germany Ulm 143 469
Hospital London Guy’s
Hospital UK London 143 468
Library Shanghai Library China Shanghai 106 348

Banks are nothing but offices. And despite their selling themselves as those friendly people for savings accounts and mortgages, their real customers are businesses.

So logically they are going to need large buildings full of office space, and situate them in the middle of concentrations of their biggest clients. That translates into skyscrapers in downtowns.

Skyscrapers are expensive to build and maintain. Suburban complexes are cheaper. But building the largest and most visible skyscrapers is a form of advertising and a big piece of ego on the part of CEOs. Tall bank buildings are logical investments. Really big skyscrapers are not. They sometimes still happen because ego triumphs over sense, and bankers aren’t immune.

So the OP’s dad is onto something if you dial it back to say that most cities (in America, and also in Canada and I’m pretty sure in most European countries, and maybe everywhere) will have an abundance of large skyscrapers built by banks. That’s true even if the very largest skyscraper isn’t a bank. It’s a good bet that if you take inventory of skyscrapers you’ll see more bank names than anything else.

You should have a look at the forums at skyscraperpage.com

Anything you want to know about tall building they know

Quoth matt_mcl:

I presume that this is by a definition of “building” which excludes the CN Tower?

The tallest building by far in Cleveland was, for many decades, a multi-use office building, originally built as a railroad terminal (though the complex also includes a hotel, a department store, and a shopping mall). In the 80s, an oil company built another skyscraper that rivaled it, but was a little shorter. Then, in the early 90s, a bank building was built that surpassed the Terminal Tower. There’s still no other building in Cleveland that’s anywhere near as tall as those three, so one might say that banking accounts for 1/3 of the tallest buildings in Cleveland.

Quite right. Excluding the many cases where it isn’t true, the tallest building in any city is always a bank.

Happy now?

Yes, a “building” is a habitable structure. Specifically,

Anyway, all we’re discussing here are buildings so defined; there are no radio masts or observation towers (the Washington Monument was previously dealt with), since these are obviously not banks.

I’ve never heard it called a “building”. Usually people describe it as “the world’s tallest free-standing structure”, but not “building”.

I don’t think I’ve lived anyplace where the tallest building was a bank.

In Thailand, it’s Bangkok’s Baiyoke Tower II, which contains the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest hotel in Southeast Asia. The tower is the fourth-tallest all-hotel structure in the world.

It will soon be eclipsed by the Ocean 1 Tower in Pattaya, which will be the tallest all-residential building in the world.

Does “it’s a bank” mean that the building is owned by a bank or that a bank has bought the sign rights to the building? For example, the tallest building in Los Angeles is the U.S. Bank Tower, but they don’t own the building and it has many other tenants.

I work in the “X Bank Building” (not nearly the tallest in the city, only 33 stories) but we don’t actually occupy even half the floors.

The tallest building in Lincoln, Nebraska is the state capitol building, AKA the “penis on the plains”. It will always be the tallest because no buildings taller are allowed by law.

But just because a bank owns a building doesn’t mean it occupies all of the office space (or even any of it). Three of the six largest buildings here in Rochester carry the name of a bank, but I’d wager the banks aren’t even the largest tenant in any of them.

Most skyscrapers house dozens (or hundreds) of different companies. A 30 story building with a bank branch in the lobby and a couple of floors of offices doesn’t make the whole building a bank.