Back in the day there weren’t actually many tall buildings in the world! I actually saw a couple of them in January of 1948 when my mother and I were coming back home from Columbia. New York, New York with its Empire State Building and its Chrysler Building!
The next one I saw was in 1950 when we were back in Cumbria – the Blackpool Tower. My view of this, though, was from 25 miles away across Morecambe Bay! Certainly a sticking-up skyline building! The last of these I saw was the Eiffel Tower which I viewed from the window of an old BOAC Avro York plane whilst flying out to Ghana in 1954. These were unpressurised and flew low level – from Heathrow it was a 36 hour trip back then!
But how the times have changed since those days! Building seems to have gone ever upwards and most cities, and even some towns, around the world can be identified by their tall buildings! Some of these building are iconic; many are simply blocks put up whose major design criterion was simply function.
Paris has a few more skyscrapers these days but they are all pretty well situated in La Defense. That they are all in one place, stuck out of the way, has a simple explanation. The Parisians don’t like tower blocks in their city and won’t have them! One place which has gone wild building upwards is Hong Kong. That is understandable because it is a pretty small island for it population.
But why Beijing should have built upwards puzzles me. China doesn’t suffer any shortage of land to build on!