While towers soar, stock markets crash. The completion of the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world, coincides with the bursting of the Gulf’s real-estate bubble, and in Spain the four new Madrid towers reach their final height as markets collapse. As often before, the construction of high-rises comes with the ruin of economic expectations. Thus, the Great Depression that began in 1929 was marked in New York’s profile by the topping of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State, and that same year Madrid saw the opening of the Telefónica building, the first European skyscraper. Once again, the 1973 oil crisis coincided with the topping of the WTC towers and the Sears Tower of Chicago, which would successively be the tallest buildings of the planet, and when the crisis hit Spain a few years later, the completion in Madrid of the Windsor Building and the Bank of Bilbao tower would signal the country’s bust. In 1996, the bursting of the Asian bubble had its architectural correlate in the opening in Kuala Lumpur of the Petronas Towers, once again a world record coinciding with a crisis, and that same year Madrid saw the delayed inauguration of the KIO (Kuwait Investment Office) towers, whose construction had been interrupted in 1993, becoming a symbol of economic decline and social despair during that period of Spanish democracy...


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