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What is a tall build­ing?

There is no ab­so­lute def­i­ni­tion of what con­sti­tutes a tall build­ing. It is a build­ing that exhibits some el­e­ment of tall­ness in one or more of the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories: Height rel­a­tive to con­text

It is not just about height, but about the con­text in which it ex­ists. Thus, whereas a 14-storey build­ing may not be con­sid­ered a tall build­ing in a high-rise city such as Chicago or Hong Kong, in a provin­cial Euro­pean

city or a sub­urb this may be dis­tinctly taller than the ur­ban norm


Again, a tall build­ing is not just about height but also about pro­por­tion. There are nu­mer­ous build­ings which are not par­tic­u­larly high, but are slen­der enough to give the ap­pear­ance of a tall build­ing against low back­grounds.

Tall tech­nolo­gies

If a build­ing con­tains tech­nolo­gies which may be at­trib­uted as be­ing a prod­uct of tall (eg, spe­cific ver­ti­cal

transport tech­nolo­gies, struc­tural wind brac­ing as a prod­uct of height, etc), then this build­ing can be classed as a tall build­ing. Al­though the num­ber of floors is a poor in­di­ca­tor of defin­ing a tall build­ing due to the chang­ing floor to floor height be­tween dif­fer­ing build­ings and func­tions (eg of­fice ver­sus res­i­den­tial us­age), a build­ing of per­haps 14 or more storeys – or over 50 me­ters (165 feet) in height – could per­haps be used as a thresh­old for con­sid­er­ing it a tall build­ing.

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