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The ever-changing roster of scale model skyscrapers in the Building Tall exhibit—located on the second floor of the CAC, in the Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery—introduces visitors to design and engineering marvels from around the world.

by Ian Spula

On July 3, when the Center re-opens, you’ll notice four new models on view: 1000M, Sendero Verde, TAIPEI 101 and King Power MahaNakhon. Three more models will be placed on display over the course of the summer, including two groundbreaking Chicago projects: Solstice on the Park and NEMA Chicago.

Here’s a bit more about our starting lineup:


Rising 74 stories on Michigan Avenue, Chicago architect Helmut Jahn’s subtly contoured condo tower will contain micro units as small as 325 square feet as well as huge penthouses priced at multiple millions. Together with the recently completed NEMA Chicago, 1000M will help define further the southwest corner of Grant Park.

Sendero Verde

Located in East Harlem in New York City, Sendero Verde is the largest fully affordable housing development in the world to pursue Passive House certification, using specialized materials and construction techniques to achieve 60 to 70 percent reductions in energy use. The 700-unit project by Handel Architects was aided by local government initiatives furthering eco-friendly affordable housing.


Unmistakable on Taipei’s skyline, TAIPEI 101 evokes both traditional Asian pagodas and the ringed stems of bamboo. It may no longer be the world’s tallest but impressive records still apply: TAIPEI 101 is the largest LEED Platinum-certified building and boasts a 660-ton tuned mass damper—a counterweight against typhoon winds and earthquakes.

King Power MahaNakhon

Thailand’s second-tallest building challenges assumptions about high-rises as socially isolating and sealed-off from nature. Its eye-catching, pixelated form creates terraces, balconies and “floating” rooms for occupants—a merger of indoor and outdoor living space. Public gardens at its base further connect the tower to the surrounding city of Bangkok.