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Photograph © Frank van Wensveen.

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The Rotterdam White House
(Witte Huis)

Built: 1898
Designed by: W. Molenbroek
Type: Skyscraper
Stories: 10
Maximum Height: 140 feet / 43 meters
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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T he White House is something of an architectural landmark in Europe. It is the continent's first skyscraper, built in 1898 for a pair of Rotterdam businessmen eager to show off their wealth. They commissioned, "a grand office building in the American spirit." This is the result: An 11-story, 147-foot structure in the French chateau style. It rests on nine-hundred pilings driven into the ground, and at the time of its completion was the tallest building in Europe. It was also one of the few buildings in central Rotterdam to survive the German bombing campaigns of World War Two. Unlike American skyscrapers which rely on a steel frame to support its stonework, this building's load it borne by two thick interior walls perpendicular to four other lighter walls. However, steel is still used to hold the facade in place and to brace the floors.

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