Burj Khalifa to Lotte World Tower: These are 14 of the tallest buildings in the world
Skyscrapers have been a topic of controversy due to their carbon footprint, aesthetic appeal, and being labeled as vanity projects. However, architects, corporations, and governments continue to construct super tall buildings, and people still remain fascinated by these concrete behemoths. The world’s tallest structures have evolved from being conventional office spaces to mini-cities, housing a combination of office spaces, hotels, residential complexes, and shopping malls. These buildings play a significant role in driving economic activity around them. In the last two decades, we have witnessed the completion of at least one skyscraper above 300-599 meters across the world. Here is a list of the 14 tallest completed buildings in the world, which are also architectural marvels in their own right.
Burj Khalifa, UAE
Located in Dubai, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, standing at 829.8 meters and comprising 163 floors. Its construction began in 2004 and took six years to complete. The architect Adrian Smith and his team at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) designed it, drawing inspiration from the Great Mosque of Samarra, Chicago’s The Illinois, and Lake Point Tower. With the world’s fastest double-deck elevators, the building houses several attractions, including the world’s largest choreographed fountain and the Armani Hotel, along with swimming pools on the 43rd and 76th floors.
Shanghai Tower, China
Shanghai Tower is the second-tallest building in the world, standing at 632 meters and comprising 128 floors. It is located in Shanghai’s Pudong district and is home to the world’s highest luxury hotel, J Hotel, located between the 84th and 110th floors, and a restaurant on the 120th floor. After its construction began in 2008, the building opened to the public in 2016. The tower has a unique structure with nine cylindrical buildings stacked on top of each other and enclosed by a double glass facade. It was designed by the firm Gensler, with architect Jun Xia leading the team.
Abraj Al-Bait, Saudi Arabia
Abraj Al Bait, also known as the Makkah Royal Clock Towers, is a 601-meter-tall complex in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Binladin Group built the collection of seven skyscraper hotels owned by the government after demolishing the Ajyad Fortress, the 18th-century Ottoman citadel. The complex is located 300 meters away from the Great Mosque of Mecca, and its four-faced clock (the largest clock in the world) at the top is visible from kilometers away.
Ping An Finance Centre, China
The 118-storey-tall Ping An Finance Centre is located in the Central Business District of Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong province. After its completion in 2017, it broke the record of having the highest observation deck at the 116th floor. The building stands as a stone and glass tower, its design mildly influenced by Chinese mythology through the outline of a dragon’s snake-like body. It was designed by the American firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, and the 599-meter-tall building is the fourth-tallest in the world.
Lotte World Tower, South Korea
The 555.7-meter-tall Lotte World Tower ranks fifth among the tallest buildings globally and is located in South Korea’s capital, Seoul. It opened to the public in 2017 and has offices, hotels, and residential and retail spaces. Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the building, including an observation deck that occupies the top seven floors and has a glass skywalk, shops, restaurants, and outdoor terraces. The tower’s lantern-shaped roof structure is made of diagonally intersecting steel beams that can endure earthquakes up to 9 on the Richter scale.
One World Trade Center, USA
One World Trade Center, located on New York City’s Manhattan Island, is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, standing at 541 meters with 94 floors. It is the main building at the rebuilt Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center. It has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center and was designed by architect David Childs of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill. It opened to the public in 2014.
Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre, China
The Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre is a 530-meter-tall mixed-use skyscraper in Guangzhou, China. It has 111 floors and was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Completed in 2016, it houses offices, shops, restaurants, and a hotel. It is said to be inspired by Chinese symbolism, with the tower’s curved form resembling the ruyi, a traditional Chinese scepter.
International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong
The International Commerce Centre stands tall at 484 meters and comprises 118 floors. Designed by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and completed in 2010, it is the tallest building in Hong Kong. The tower houses offices, hotels, and a shopping mall. Aside from that, there are some great restaurants and bars located on its top floors, including the world’s highest bar Ozone.
Petronas Towers, Malaysia
The Petronas Towers are twin 88-story buildings located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a height of 452 meters each. They held the title of ‘tallest building in the world’ from 1998 to 2004, currently ranking eighth in the world. The buildings are joined at the 41st and 42nd floors by the Skybridge, the world’s highest two-story bridge, providing a panoramic view of the city skyline.
Taipei 101, Taiwan
Located in Taipei, Taiwan, Taipei 101 stands at 508 meters tall, comprising 101 floors. Built in 2004, it was the tallest building in the world until the Burj Khalifa was built. It has observatory floors, an outdoor observation deck, a Starbucks, and a food court.
Shanghai World Financial Center, China
The 492-meter-tall Shanghai World Financial Center is located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. It comprises 101 floors and has offices, retail spaces, restaurants, and observation decks on its top floors. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and completed in 2008.
International Finance Centre, Hong Kong
The International Finance Centre (IFC) is in the Central district of Hong Kong, standing at 412 meters tall with 88 floors. It houses offices, a shopping mall, and a commercial complex that includes a luxury hotel. It was designed by the Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli and opened to the public in 1998.
Zifeng Tower, China
The Zifeng Tower is a 450-meter-tall skyscraper located in Nanjing, China. Completed in 2010, it comprises 89 floors and houses offices, shops, restaurants and residences, and a hotel.
Towering above cities worldwide, these 14 buildings are the epitome of human ingenuity and engineering marvels. They symbolize globalization, technological advancements, and economic growth, with each skyscraper’s unique and innovative design being an attraction in and of itself. Despite their controversies and criticism, these buildings have continued to attract awe and admiration from people worldwide.
The CN Tower, which stands at 553 meters, was once the tallest free-standing structure globally and held the title of ‘tallest building’ until the completion of the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago in 1973.
The Shanghai Tower is the world’s fastest elevator, traveling at 73.8 km/h.
The Burj Khalifa’s facade is capable of withstanding desert temperatures that reach 60 degrees Celsius and can resist winds of 200 km/h.
From the Burj Khalifa to the Lotte World Tower, these 14 skyscrapers redefined the skyline of the world’s major cities. They may be controversial and criticized; however, these buildings possess an undeniable gravity that attracts people worldwide. These towering structures signify the resilience and progress of human innovation and engineering, each having its unique charisma and charm. They are architectural marvels that are worth admiring and appreciating for their grandeur, innovation, and inspiration.