The Daily Parker

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Burj Dubai opens tomorrow; Chicago helped

The Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world, opens tomorrow. The Chicago Tribune reports on its historical debt to Chicago:

[T]he Burj Dubai has a broader -- unmistakably global -- significance for Chicago, which invented the skyscraper in the 1880s, pioneered supertall structures in the mid-1960s and had bragging rights to the world's tallest building title from 1974 to 1996, when Sears (now Willis) Tower wore the crown.

These days, the city's cloud-busting architectural achievements aren't simply found in the downtown blocks girdled by the rough-edged steel structure of the "L." They're spread across the world, from Dubai to Shanghai and beyond.

"From the foundation established in Chicago, that legacy is now being exported to other countries," said Joseph Rosa, the Art Institute of Chicago's architecture and design curator.

The article goes on to laud Adrian Smith, the building's chief architect. It's good to remember, though, that Chicago invented the skyscraper, and led the world for decades. But we're content to let the young upstarts have their fun. Look upon their works, ye mighty, and despair.

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