The world economy has endured a series of crises over the past century, and architecture has recently been recognized as a harbinger of these crises. Two years ago, British finance group Barclays released an index of skyscraper construction projects that correlate with the occurrence of economic downturns since 1873. Many of the tallest buildings in the world have been built at times of severe economic struggle, the most recent being Dubai's Burj Khalifa, built during the Great Recession of 2007 through 2010. According to Barclays, "the world’s tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction."
All the major financial crises in the past century, and the buildings that predicted them after the break...
If this holds true, then global markets are about to take another serious blow. This article by Business Insider tells us that next week, construction will begin on Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Set to become the world’s tallest building, Kingdom Tower is 568 feet taller than Burj Khalifa, the current record holder. The cost is expected to be $1.23 billion. If Barclays is correct, such a massive “misallocation” of wealth can only mean equally massive economic consequences.
See the full Barclay Skyscraper Index below for a look at all the major financial crises of the past 100 years, and the buildings that predicted them.