The 3,281–foot Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia will be the world’s first kilometer–tall building
2014 Was the “Tallest Year Ever,” With the Completion of a Record 97 Buildings Above 200 Meters
Elisha Otis founded The Otis Elevator Company in 1853, but it was the company’s 1903 innovation called the gearless traction elevator that set in motion a remarkable change in the urban landscape. The invention made very tall buildings practical for the first time and ushered in the era of the modern skyscraper. Things have been going up ever since. In fact, 28 buildings over 1,312 feet in height are due for completion by the end of 2018, compared with just 15 in the previous 15 years.
That’s good news for Otis Elevator, the world’s largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products, including elevators, escalators and moving walkways. Otis is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
Otis elevator systems are used in many of the world’s most iconic buildings, including eight of the last 10 to have held the title of the world’s tallest building. The current record holder, the 2,716-foot (163 floors) Burj Khalifa in Dubai, relies on Otis systems, as does the 2,165-foot Ping’An Financial Center in Shenzhen, which will be China’s tallest upon completion in 2016. Otis received about $36 million for its work on Burj Khalifa. The elevators in the kilometer-high Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, however, will be installed by rival KONE Corporation, founded in Finland in 1910.
For comparison, the 102-story Empire State Building, which stood as the world’s tallest for 40 years after its completion in 1931, is 1,250 feet tall. Today, it’s the 25th tallest building in the world. Otis installed the elevators in 1931.