When you see a skyscraper, it obviously makes a lot of sense to marvel at the architecture of the parts you can see. However, what about the parts you can’t really see? As it turns out, these require an immense amount of architectural genius as well, and it’s definitely an incredible feat to make sure that the foundation of a skyscraper is as sturdy as possible. Here’s a bit more about the foundation sizes for some of the tallest buildings in the world.
Wilshire Grand Center (Los Angeles, United States)
The Wilshire Grand Center is 1,100 feet tall, and the basement floor stretches down five feet, though all the foundation and supports go down 90 feet under the ground. The building also has an 18-foot-thick concrete mat that set the Guinness World Record for the largest continuous concrete pour.
Willis Tower (Chicago, United States)
As one of the tallest buildings in the United States, Willis Tower, which used to be called Sears Tower, is an incredible 1,451 feet tall, and its foundation goes down 100 feet. However, it only has three basement floors. It does, however, rely on 114 reinforced concrete caissons that go into the bedrock.
Taipei 101 (Taipei, Taiwan)
Overseas, Taipei 101 is known for being a modern marvel of architecture. To keep it secure, the foundation goes down a whopping 262 feet, as China is known for being prone to earthquakes from time to time. It has five basement floors and includes a four-foot-thick wall stretching down 154 feet that cuts off groundwater.
One World Trade Center (New York City, United States)
After the Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001, New York City needed something new to define its skyline, and the One World Trade Center fit the bill. Its height, 1,776 feet, is a reference to the Declaration of Independence’s signing. It has a 150-foot foundation with five basement floors, and it had to build its supports around pre-existing commuter trains.
Shanghai Tower (Shanghai, China)
Shanghai Tower is the second-tallest building in the world, stretching up 2,073 feet. It requires a 282-foot foundation with five basement floors, and it uses 980 foundation piles to keep it sturdy, especially in case of earthquakes.
Burj Khalifa (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, is an astounding 2,723 feet tall – more than a mile into the air. Astonishingly, its foundation is only 164 feet deep, with only a single basement floor, and it uses 192 foundation piles for sturdiness.
As you can see, foundations are widely variable. They consider the skyscraper design, the length down to bedrock, various environmental risks, and the soil composition of the soil underneath the skyscraper. Foundation depth isn’t perfectly scaled to the height of a foundation. However, no matter how deep the foundation for a skyscraper is, it’s equally clear that it’s a truly monumental architectural success, at least as much as the skyscraper that you can see above ground.