Thirteenth floor

From Academic Kids

For the film, see The Thirteenth Floor.

Missing image
In many buildings in the U.S. and Canada, there is no "thirteenth" floor.

Generally, the floors of a building are numbered sequentially, from one or ground upwards. However, in some countries, including the United States and Canada, buildings will sometimes purposely omit the thirteenth floor, because in these countries, 13 is considered an unlucky number. Even landlords who are not themselves superstitious realize that the rentability of suites on the 13th floor might be compromised because of superstitious tenants, or tenants who are afraid their own customers might be superstitious.


How it is done


Sometimes the floor is simply renumbered as 12a; this does not affect the numbers of the higher floors.

Simply being skipped

Most commonly, it is skipped altogether. Although the thirteenth floor has been skipped in terms of numbering (i.e., for hotel/apartment/suite numbers), the floor numbered 14 is technically the thirteenth floor of the building; it is simply not numbered as such. Any calculations involving the height of a building based on the height of a floor should take this into account (particularly in reference to BASE jumping).

Special designations

Other buildings will often use names for certain floors to avoid giving a floor on the building the 13th floor designation. One such example is the APAC Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The building is 14 stories tall. However, the ground floor is called the Lobby. Because the city's downtown skywalk system connects to the building on the second floor, that floor is referred to as the Skywalk Floor. The third floor of the building is referred to as 1st Floor. The 13th floor is referred to as the 11th Floor. The top level—or the 14th floor—of the building is referred to as 12th Floor.


Similarly, new buildings in some parts of China omit the fourth (as well as the 14th, 24th, etc.) floors, as the word "four" (Hanzi: 四)sounds like "death" (死) in Mandarin, the predominant dialect for the country, and most other Chinese dialects. A small number of buildings also follow the Western tradition of omitting the 13th floor, with the 15th floor immediately following the 12th.

Although the Hanja for four and death are read identically in Korean, buildings in South Korea tend not to omit the fourth floor. However, newer buildings tend to label the fourth floor with the letter F, instead of the number 4.

Conspiracy theory

Some conspiracy theorists have suggested that the thirteenth floor in government buildings is not really missing, but actually contains top-secret governmental departments, or more generally that it is proof of something sinister or clandestine going on. This implication is often carried over, implicitly or explicitly, into popular culture; for example, in the films The Thirteenth Floor and Being John Malkovich, the hidden research and development labs of Network 23 in the television program 'Max Headroom', and the computer game Floor 13 by Virgin Interactive. It might be noted that to place a floor between those accessible from an elevator, it is necessary to either take longer to travel between the neighboring floors, or accelerate, both of which would be noticed by the riders.

See also


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