Humans have an enduring fascination with skyscrapers. These architectural marvels symbolise innovation, ambition, and the conquest of nature’s limits.
They represent our constant quest to reach new heights, both literally and metaphorically, reflecting the human spirit’s unrelenting desire for progress and achievement.
The limit for how high we can build in the real world is constrained by our current understanding of physical laws. But when it comes to fictional skyscraper design, there are, quite literally, no limits.
And that idea inspired this latest study from the skyscraper lovers at Buildworld. They looked at the biggest buildings in movies, books, TV, and video games, then designed several charts comparing them to see which is the tallest of all the tallest fictional skyscrapers.
Here’s a look at the results.
The Tallest Fictional Building
The International Space Elevator from the video game series Ace Combat takes the title of the tallest fictional building. In the games, the space elevator is said to reach 100,000,000 miles into the sky, symbolising humanity’s first full-scale (fictional) attempt at creating a highway to space.
This colossal structure elevator transmits solar energy collected in the atmosphere, converts it into microwaves, and then distributes it as a clean energy source. Sounds awesome. Maybe someone should drop Elon a tweet about it.
Cinema’s Tallest Building
Star Wars geeks (sorry, fans!) will recognise the cinema’s tallest fictional building. It’s the 500 Republica from The Phantom Menace.
These same Star Wars fans will tell you that “500 Republica” is an opulent skyscraper located in the central district of Galactic City on the planet Coruscant. It’s a residence for many of the galaxy’s most influential figures, including senators and other dignitaries, and stands as a symbol of the power and influence of the Galactic Republic.
But do those Star Wars superfans know how tall it is? The answer is an impressive 4,040 metres; that’s more than 3 times the size of the world’s tallest building. Save that trivia nugget for your next sci-fi-themed quiz night.
The Tallest Structure from Fantasy Books
The Lord of the Rings universe is where you’ll find the tallest building from fantasy books. Barad-dûr, also known as the Dark Tower, was built by Sauron in the Second Age of Middle-earth with the power of the One Ring.
In the novel, the towering centrepiece of Mordor is described as massive and imposing, made of black stone and iron, and is said to be virtually indestructible as long as the One Ring exists.
There’s no mention of how tall it is. However, according to the Buildworld research, this fictional dark skyscraper is 1,500 metres tall.
Gaming’s Tall Buildings
We’ve already talked about the biggest building in gaming – Ace Combat’s Space Elevator. So let’s give an honourable mention to some of the other buildings that made the list.
Second place belongs to The Citadel from Half-Life 2 (8,406 metres), followed by Halo’s Space Elevator (2,500 metres) and The Shard from Mirror’s Edge (2,438 metres).
Grand Theft Auto’s Biggest Building
As such, the scale of its tallest buildings never reaches the dizzying heights of fictional skyscrapers from gaming and fantasy novels. For example, Grand Theft Auto’s tallest building, the Jefferson St Credit Union Tower, stands at a ‘miniature’ 438 metres.