Architecture : Piercing the Sky — What is the Tallest Building in the World?

Human beings are obsessed with creating and breaking records, over and over again. Our skyline has been regularly altered by the skyscrapers that stretch higher and higher. Once upon a time, churches used to be the architecture of the era, then public institutions and now, it’s the commercial skyscraper that defines our urban fabric. With skyscrapers being built across the globe, the tallest building in the world keeps getting updated.
Countries all over the world are building taller — especially as the price of land goes up and area to built becomes lesser. The US has only two cities representing it in the list of skyscrapers — Chicago and New York. China and Dubai boast of more than 3 “tallest buildings in the world” within their boundary.
When it comes to defining what makes a building tall, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat have come up with their own rules. This was done because it became difficult to decide what buildings were tall, with antennas and other gadgets on top of the building. The CTBUH measures it from “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.”
Using this system they have classified more than 3400 buildings as more than 150 meters tall.

At 1227 Feet, The Federation Tower

Via Igor3188 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Began in 2011 and completed only in 2016 — this skyscraper took a significant amount of time to construct. Located in Moscow, Russia, it is constructed as two towers on a common podium. What’s interesting about this skyscraper is that it has the highest digital clock.

At 1227 Feet, The Central Plaza

Via Marshall Gerometta

This was the first building to use reinforced concrete to reach such heights. Later, the CITIC Plaza crossed this. Situated in Hong Kong, the Central Plaza has a clock that changes color every 15 minutes.

At 1250 Feet, Empire State Building

Via Eric Kilby / flickr

Once upon a time, the “king of skyscrapers”, The Empire State Building held the title of World’s tallest building for 40 years. This structure has 102 stories and can be found in New York City.

At 1287 Feet, 23 Marina


Designed by Hafeez Contractor and KEO International Consultants, this skyscraper has 89 floors!

At 1380 Feet, Jin Mao Tower


Designed by SOM, this tower hosts retail and office space and features the Grand Hyatt Shanghai from floor 53 to 87. An interesting fact of the tower is that it has the world’s longest laundry chute.

At 1397 Feet, Park Avenue

Via Glen McCallum

With the highest roof in NYC, this tower has 88 floors above ground and 104 condos. It also has the title of the tallest residential building in the world.

At 1399 Feet, Marina 101


This residential apartment in Dubai has private pools and elevators inside apartments.

At 1437 Feet, Wuhan Center

Via Adrian Smith and Gordan Gill Architecture

Inspired by a sailing vessel, this sustainable tower represents a focus on reducing pollution in China.

At 1440 Feet, Guangzhou International Finance Center

Via Wikimedia Commons

This is a commercial skyscraper, with a sleek rounded look and houses a Four Seasons Hotel.

At 1451 Feet, Willis Tower


The second tallest building in the US, this structure used to be known as Sears Tower. It is an icon of Chicago’s skyline.

At 1476 Feet, Zifeng Tower

Via Haha169 / Wikimedia Commons

Specifically designed to withstand earthquakes, this tower forms a unique part of China’s skyline

At 1483, Petronas Towers


Once the tallest structure in the world from 1998 till 2004, this Cesar Pelli designed skyscraper ooze Malaysian design.

At 1588 Feet, International Commerce Center

Via WiNG / Wikimedia Commons

Standing in one of the world’s stunning skylines, the ICC is more than a commercial structure. It has a shopping mall, a restaurant, and a swimming pool.

At 1614 Feet, the Shanghai World Financial Center

Via GG001213 / Wikimedia Commons

This building is instantly recognizable by all with the large hole on top. With its bottle-opener like shape, it creates a lot of miniature figurines and bottle openers that tourists are fond of buying.

At 1670 Feet, Taipei 101

Via kagenmi

This is a landmark skyscraper in the city of Taipei.

At 1740 Feet, CTF Finance Center


The younger of the Guangzhou twin towers, the CTF Finance center has more edges and is in a rectangular theme.

At 1776 Feet, The One World Trade Center

Via Max Touhey

It stands as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and rises over NYC’s 9/11 Memorial.

At 1823 Feet, Lotte World Tower

Via Lotte Group

Towering over South Korea’s capital, this skyscraper features a sleek focus on glass and metal.

At 1965 Feet, Ping An Finance Centre

Via timothymwilliams / Flickr

The second tallest building in China constructed of stainless steel which gives a streamlined skyscraper look.

At 1971 Feet, Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower

Via King Eliot / Wikimedia Commons

This work of architecture rises in Mecca and has several towers to house the numerous pilgrims. The highest of them has the four largest and highest clock facades in the world.

At 2073 Feet, Shanghai Tower

Via Baycrest / Wikimedia Commons

The second tallest building in the world, The Shanghai Tower is only the second to break the 2000 feet barrier. It is a swirly, smooth and eco-friendly building.

At 2717 Feet, Burj Khalifa

Via Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

700 Feet taller than its closest competitor, Burj Khalifa rises above the clouds. It houses the world’s highest observation deck, the world’s highest restaurant, and the world’s highest nightclub.

Source: Tallest Building


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