Tallest Buildings In The World Promote Sustainable Skyscraper Development

The tallest buildings in the world are architectural wonders. Each building represents the latest in technological and engineering advances. A correlation exists between a building’s height and how advanced a  country is. Third-world nations do not have skyscrapers, and the reasons why are obvious.

History Of Skyscrapers

Tallest Buildings In The World

America’s biggest contribution to architecture is the skyscraper. The first skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885. It stood at an impressive 138 feet, hardly noticeable by today’s standards. The building signaled what would the beginning of a long and dominant run for the US.

It wasn’t until Malaysia unveiled the Petronas Towers at 1,483 feet tall that the US would lose its dominant place. Today, the Malaysian towers rank 20th globally. Asia and the Middle East experienced construction boom, propelling those regions to build taller buildings. 

Tall Buildings And Transit Oriented Development (TB-TOD)

Today, the world plans to achieve a 70 percent urbanization rate by 2050. To help reach this goal, Tall Buildings and Transit Oriented Development (TB-TOD) has emerged as the dominant architectural design style.

Skyscrapers or supertall structures aren’t merely tall buildings but rather sustainable, living machines that connect with people and the environment. A relationship exists between the structure and those who use it.

TB-TOD model ensures a constant presence of people through mass transit, mixed-use activities, and tall buildings. It also refers to vertical mixed-use building projects centered on mass transit nodes. The model provides sustainable options for metropolitan cities moving forward.

Key factors pushing the TB-TOD model include efficient use of land resources, higher population density, boosted ridership, improved regional connectivity, sensible suburban growth, and improved placemaking.

Skyscraper Requirements

Before a building is classified as a skyscraper, it must adhere to certain standards. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) sets the criteria and announces which buildings are the tallest worldwide.

The CTBUH ranks the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as the tallest building in the world. When measuring a building, the height starts at the sidewalk and goes to the top of the building. The measurement includes the penthouse, tower, and any spire on the top. Radio antennas and flagpoles do not count.

World’s Tallest Buildings

The 15 tallest buildings in the world include structures from China, a country with almost 3,000 skyscrapers.

TopBuildingConstruction StatusYearAddressFloor AreaHeightObservatoryLifts/Elevators
#1Burj KhalifaCompleted20091 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai3,331,100 sq ft (309,473 m2)2,722 ft (829.6 m)124th floor (1,483 ft/452 m)57
#2Merdeka 118Completed2022Jalan Hang Jebat, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia3,140,000 sq ft (292,000 m2)2,227 ft (678.7 m)1,857 ft (566 m)87
#3Shanghai Tower Completed2014501 Yincheng Middle Rd, Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai, China4,090,300 sq ft (380,000 m2)2,073 ft (631.8 m)121st floor (1,844 ft/ 562 m)97
#4Abraj Al-Bait Clock TowerCompleted2012Mecca, Saudi Arabia3,343,680 sq ft (310,638 m2)1,972 ft (601 m)1,589 ft (484.4 m)96
#5Ping An International Finance CentreCompleted20175033 Yitian Road, Futian District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China4,153,990 sq ft (385,918 m2)1,966 feet (599.2 m)1,844 feet (562 m).80
#6Lotte World TowerCompleted2016Sincheon-dong, Songpa District, Seoul, South Korea3,273,100 sq ft (304,081 m2)1,819 ft (554.4 m)117th~123rd floor
#7One World Trade Center Completed2014285 Fulton St, New York, United States3,501,274 sq ft (325,279 m2)1,776 ft (541.3 m)1,268 ft (386.5 m)73
#8Guangzhou CTF Finance CentreCompleted2016Zhujiang East Road, Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China5,464,633 sq ft (507,681.0 m2)1,739 ft (530 m)-95
#9Tianjin CTF Finance CentreCompleted2019Binhai New Area, Tianjin, China2,714,055 sq ft (252,144.0 m2)1,739 ft (530 m)-81
#10China ZunCompleted2018Z15 plot, Guanghua Road, Beijing CBD, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China4,600,000 sq ft (427,000 m2)1,731 ft (527.6 m)108th floor
#11Taipei 101Completed2004No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan4,440,100 sq ft (412,500 m2)1,667 ft (508.1 m)91st floor67
#12Shanghai World Financial CenterCompleted2008100 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai, China4,107,500 sq ft (381,600 m2)1,614 ft (491.9 m)1,555 ft (474 m)91 + 33 escalators
#13International Commerce CentreCompleted20101 Austin Road West
West Kowloon
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
2,950,000 sq ft (274,064 m2)1,588 ft (484 m)100th floor83
#14Wuhan Greenland CenterCompleted2022Linjiang Avenue, Wuhan, Hubei, China3,264,420 sq ft (303,275 m2)1,560 ft (475.4 m)-84
#15Central Park Tower Completed2020225 West 57th Street
Manhattan, New York City, United States
1,285,308 sq ft (119,409.0 m2)1,550 ft (472.4 m)-11

The US tallest building ranks second with 857 and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at a distant third with 314.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa World Tallest Building

Height: 2,722 feet.

The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The structure is a It stands over half a mile tall. The modernist tower is a mixed-use building. It includes a hotel with 1,608 rooms that can hold 5,ooo guests.

According to Adrian Smith, the architect for Burj Khalifa, “A piece of architecture in and of itself, can be an attraction that is a significant draw to a city. The premise in Dubai is to create architecture – of quality, permanence, and commitment – that will draw people to visit it, view it, and use it.” Smith is with the design firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the same company that designed Chicago’s Willis Tower and One World Trade Center in New York City. 

The top of the Burj Khalifa is equipped with an outdoor observation deck. When it was built it was the highest outdoor deck in the world, but has since been surpassed.

Merdeka 118

The Merdeka 118 skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Height: 2,227 feet.

The Merdeka 118 skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is the world’s second tallest building. The 118-story supertall structure’s name means “independence” and was inspired by two stadiums located close to the skyscraper..

Architect Fender Katsalidis designed the tower with RSP KL. It was the first structure in Malaysia to receive a triple platinum sustainability certification rating.

The mixed-use skyscraper has offices, a hotel, residential units, and retail stores. At the top, there’s an observation deck known as The View at 118, which is also the tallest in Southeast Asia. 

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower

Height: 2,073 feet

The third tallest building in the world has been China’s tallest building since 2015. It boasts 128 stories and cost 15.7 billion RMB to build, which at today’s exchange is US$2.3 billion.

Architects Marshall Strabala & Jun Xia of the Gensler firm designed the skyscraper. It is the largest LEED Platinum-certified building in the world.

Shanghai Tower is also home to the world’s highest observation deck within a building, although it shares the record with the Ping An International Finance Centre. The highest floor also contain a concert hall, restaurants and a hotel.

The building’s elevators also hold a record as the world’s second fastest.

Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower

Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower

Height: 1,972 feet

Located in Mecca, Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower is the centerpiece of a seven-skyscraper complex. The government built the complex to meet the needs of pilgrims visiting the nearby Great Mosque.

Abraj Al-Bait Clock is the fourth-tallest building and ranks as the sixth-tallest freestanding structure on a global level. It contains a hotel and a museum on the top four floors.

SL Rasch GmbH and Dar Al-Handasah Architects designed the building, which has 120 floors. At the top of the spire is a gold crescent, that is made of fiberglass-backed mosaic gold and weighs 35 tons.

Ping An International Finance Centre

Ping An International Finance Centre

Height: 1,966 feet

The fourth tallest building in the world is Ping An International Finance Centre in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. American firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates designed the supertall skyscraper, which has 120 floors and 80 elevators.

Offices, a conference center, hotel and a high-end shopping mall make up the structure’s interior. The world’s highest observation deck within a building is on Floor 116, however, the record is tied with the Shanghai Tower.

Lotte World Tower

Lotte World Tower

Height: 1,819 feet

The world’s sixth tallest skyscraper is South Korea’s tallest. With 123 stories, Lotte World Tower is a major landmark in Seoul.

Lotte World Tower is home to offices but also has residences on the higher floors. The top seven make up the observation deck called Seoul Sky. The space includes a viewing area, cafes, lounges and bars. Seoul Sky also has the highest glass floor observatory.

Architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the skyscraper. It was completed on December 22, 2016, six years after developers broke ground.

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Height: 1,776 feet

One World Trade Center is the main skyscraper built on the site of the World Trade Center destroyed in the September 11th terrorist attacks and is the tallest building in NYC.

David Childs of SOMl designed the skyscraper, which is also the tallest building in the United States and the Western Hemisphere. It is an office building with 95 floors. The supertall building is part of the World Trade Center complex, which includes retail centers and a transportation hub underground.

Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre

Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre

Height:1,739 feet

The Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre is also called East Tower. It has 111 floors, plus an additional five underground.

Architects from Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the building, which is part of the Guangzhou Twin Towers. The other tower of the pair,m the Guangzhou International Finance Center at just 1,439 feet tall, is called the West Tower.

The mixed-use skyscraper includes offices, apartments, a shopping mall and a hotel. Guangzhou CTF Finance Center also has underground connections to public transportation. The offices go to floor 66, and then 355 apartments take up the next 24 floors. The top 16 floors are a hotel with a ballroom, pool, skybar and restaurant.

Tianjin CTF Finance Centre

Tianjin CTF Finance Centre

Height: 1,739 feet

Tied for eighth place with the Guangzhou CTF Finance Center, the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre is also the tallest building in the world with fewer than 100 floors.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP designed the building in collaboration with Ronald Lu & Partners. Apartments and hotel rooms take up the 97 floors. The supertall building has a distinctive silhouette with curving glass covering eight sloping mega-columns. The structure is important to seismic concerns the shape helps moderate wind forces.

China Zun

China Zun

Height: 1,731 feet

Beijing’s CITIC Tower is known as “China Zun.” Sun is the name of an ancient Chinese wine vessel, which inspired the design. It has 109 stories and is the tallest skyscraper in the city.

Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the mixed-use building. Office space takes up 60 floors, and 20 floors are luxury apartments. In addition, it has 300 hotel rooms that take up 20 floors. A rooftop garden sits on the top.

Taipei 101

Taipei 101

Height: 1,667 feet

Taipei 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center was once the tallest skyscraper worldwide. It was overtaken in 2009 by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

Architects C.Y. Lee & C.P. Wang designed the 101-story supertall building. Their design incorporates structural features that allow it to withstand the Pacific Ring of Fire’s earthquakes and tropical storms.

Offices, restaurants, and indoor and outdoor observatories fill the tower. A multilevel shopping mall is adjacent to the skyscraper. The tower’s 61 elevators set speed records because they run up to 37.7 miles per hour.

Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai World Financial Center

Height: 1,614 feet

The Shanghai World Financial Center is a supertall mixed-use skyscraper in the Pudong area.

Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the building, which was the second tallest in the world when completed in 2007. Its 101 floors hold a shopping mall, offices, a hotel and observation decks. The Park Hyatt Shanghai takes up the 79th to the 93rd floors and is the third-highest hotel in the world. Shanghai World Financial Center observation deck has views of the city and beyond at 1,555 feet high.

The tower’s most recognizable feature is the trapezoid-shaped opening at the top. Architects included it to cut down the stress on the building by wind pressure.

International Commerce Centre

International Commerce Centre

Height: 1,588 feet

The International Commerce Centre (ICC) is the 13th tallest building in the world. The 108-story commercial skyscraper is in West Kowloon, Hong Kong. In fact, it sits atop Kowloon station.

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates designed the ICC, which is also the tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong.  

The tower houses the 312-room Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. It also has Sky100, an observatory, and several five-star restaurants. The skyscraper’s highest floor is the 118th and it has the world’s highest bar called OZONE and highest swimming pool.

Wuhan Greenland Center

Wuhan Greenland Center

Height: 1,560 feet

Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China is still under construction. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects in conjunction with Thornton Tomasetti Engineers designed the building. The original height for the skyscraper was 2,087  feet. 

However, construction halted at the 96th floor due to new airspace regulations enacted by the Chinese government. This meant architects had to redesign the building so it wouldn’t exceed 1,640 feet. Upon its completion, it will be the 15th tallest building in the world with 97 floors.

Central Park Tower

Tallest Buildings In The World

Height: 1,550 feet

Completed in 2021, Central Park Tower is the 15th tallest building in the world. The building is also the tallest luxury residential building worldwide and follows the TB-TOD model. In New York City, it ranks second tallest. Central Park Tower has a Nordstrom store at the base, which explains why the building is known as Nordstrom Tower.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What country has more tallest buildings in the world?

More of the world’s tallest skyscrapers over 984 feet tall are in China than anywhere else. The country has 103, while the United States only has 29 and United Arab Emirates 32.

What tallest buildings in the world are under construction?

A number of buildings are being planned that would be even taller than the current top 15 tallest in the world. The Mubarak al-Kabir Tower in Kuwait will be 3284 feet. New York will have the Edison Tower, expected to be 4,300 feet tall. An even taller building is proposed for Tokyo, Japan. The Sky Mile Tower plans are for a supertall building of 5,577 feet. Some are speculating about buildings event twice that tall.

Why can skyscrapers get even taller? 

Advances in materials technology are the main reason architects can build even taller skyscrapers. For example, carbon fiber elevator ropes weigh much less than steel and resist wear and tear. Non-metallic composites are expected to replace current building materials such as steel.

Why do cities build so many skyscrapers?

Population density in cities is the main reason for supertall buildings. Skyscrapers let more people live in a specific area near offices, shopping and public transportation.

 Are skyscrapers environmentally friendly?

Recent calculations are contradicting the assertion that they are greener than low-rise buildings. Building supertall skyscrapers, especially luxury residential buildings, has a higher carbon impact. Tall towers are often unpopular because they cast a very long shadow, blocking sunlight.

Tallest Buildings Conclusion

Thanks to Tall Buildings and Transit Oriented Development, the future of the skyscraper is bright. Unlike society growth patterns of the past, the future of living design will move vertically. The world’s tallest buildings are architectural marvels. Each structure has an original design, spectacular views, and state-of-the-art construction.