CTBUH Tall Building Observation Decks
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat World's Highest Observation Decks – Historically.

It's no secret that humans have always wanted to go higher—the United States alone has approximately 179 skyscrapers 100 meters (328 feet) and above, currently under construction—and observation decks set atop of tall structures have been one way of experiencing new heights. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) recently released their new data research project titled, Tall Buildings in Numbers–The World's Tallest Observation Decks. This research aims to highlight the history of observation decks, and how they have long been an exciting way for the public to behold cities from an optimum viewpoint. 

Tourists view New York from the One World Trade Center observation deck.
Connie Zhou Tourists view New York from the One World Trade Center observation deck.
The Sky Portal in the One World Trade Center.
Connie Zhou The Sky Portal in the One World Trade Center.

The interactive site uses graphics to compare heights and provide historical information about the observation decks of the world's tallest buildings, current and projected. The most general graphic is one that compares the "World's Highest Observational Decks–Historically." This page puts long beloved tall structures such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, side by side with newer tall structures such as the One Trade Center in New York. CTBUH also used Chicago, New York, and Shanghai as examples of global cities to illustrate "Historic Increases in Observatory Height by City.” When users hover over yellow points on the graphics, they reveal small informational menus about each building—which also link to official Skyscraper Center webpages for the individual structures.

Historic Increases in Observatory Height in Chicago.
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Historic Increases in Observatory Height in Chicago.

According to the CTBUH, though it can be said that observation decks were first popularized in North America, this feature has made its way to tall buildings being built in Asia and the Middle East, where it continues to be developed further. In fact, the top five current tallest built observation decks in the world are all located in Asia or the Middle East. If we were to factor in skyscrapers that are still under construction, then the Top 10 tallest decks would still be in those two regions—six of which are in China.

Read more about the world's highest observation decks at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats' website, and learn about the One World Trade Center's observation deck and how decks have evolved from just being about the view, to being about the thrill.

This article has been updated.