Our first skyline is the most familiar. New York
Skyscraper Day falls on 3 September every year, so let’s pause for a moment to appreciate some of these magnificent buildings and skylines.
The date was chosen to commemorate the birth of the American architect and ‘Father of Skyscrapers’ Louis Sullivan, whose works included the old Chicago Stock Exchange – a 13-storey high-rise built in 1893.
It is often said that skyscrapers are our modern day pyramids. Massive glittering symbols of wealth and power. Bragging opportunities for the rich and powerful. But they’re also monuments to the engineering and construction skills of the people who design and build them, as well as the architects who envisioned them in the first place. One of the best things to do on arrival in any new city is find the highest viewing platform and make your way to the top. Only there can you get your bearings, see the city laid out before you, and get a better understanding of how it all connects.
Every city has its own unique skyline and classic photo opportunity. While they look magnificent in the day, they’re especially impressive at night. And they’re forever changing. For architecture aficionados, there’s nearly always something new to admire.
To commemorate Skyscraper Day, we’re taking a whirlwind tour around some of the great skylines of our route network with Virgin Atlantic’s own fabulous photographer Steve Brookwell, who trains IT Systems in Engineering.
The tallest structure in Boston is the 60-story John Hancock Tower although the best viewing platform is probably the second-tallest building,the 52-storey Prudential Tower
San Francisco, more than any other city has a difficult relationship with skyscrapers. The anti-skyscraper movement of the 60s and 70s managed to get the height of the Transamerica Pyramid reduced. But skyscrapers tell the story of any city and with San Francisco it’s one of tech takeover with the new Salesforce Tower ruling the skyline.
Hong Kong surely holds a special place in the hearts of all skyscraper fans. A city that loves it skyline and gives you the very best views of it, whether viewing from above at Victoria Peak or from below on the Kowloon waterfront. It also holds a nightly skyscraper lightshow. Photo © Shutterstock
Seattle: If you’ve already done the Space Needle then the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Centre is 900 feet up and offers more great views of the city.
No skyline mixes old with new like London, and The Shard, while pricey, is one of the greatest skyscraper experiences in the world.
Shanghai has some giants in its line up, with the Shanghai Tower at 632 metres the current tallest. Breakfast in the Shanghai World Financial Centre puts you right in the middle of them all, and gives one of the best close-up, high-up skyscraper views in the world.
Miami has almost as many skyline photo opportunities as skyscrapers.
The incredible Burj Khalifa skyscraper sets too many records to list here. It also boasts the highest viewing platform in the world with an outside terrace (!) at 555 metres.
All photos (except Hong Kong) by Steve Brookwell.