For half a century, the 1,454-foot-tall Empire State Building in New York City was the tallest building in the world, but the architectural world has come a long way since then.
In 1972, the Empire State Building lost that title and today, it doesn’t even crack the top 40 list of the tallest man-made structures in the world. Even now, this list of the tallest 17 buildings isn’t permanent. With new skyscrapers being constructed all the time, it’ll be interesting to see how many of these towers retain their standing as the one of the tallest buildings in the world.
TALLEST BUILDINGS IN THE WORLD
17: Petronas Towers
With a height just shy of 1,483 feet, both of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, rank as the 17th tallest buildings in the world. They’re also the tallest twin towers in the world.
The 88-floor towers were designed by Argentine-American architect César Pelli to have a distinctive post-modern style appropriate for a 21st-century icon. Construction began on March 1, 1993 and was completed on March 1, 1996.
- About Petronas Twin Towers
- How to Visit the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur
- Petronas Towers, The World’s Tallest Twin Towers
- The History and Construction of the Petronas Twin Towers
16: Changsha IFS Tower T1
The Changsha IFS Tower T1 edges out the Petronas Towers by mere inches. Coming in at a little more than 1,483 feet tall, this skyscraper takes the 16th spot on this list of tallest buildings in the world.
The construction of this tower in Changsha, China took four years from 2013 to 2017 for completion. The IFS (International Finance Square) development actually includes two skyscrapers but the second tower is only 1,033 feet tall.
15: Landmark 81
This tower is 1,513 feet tall with 81 floors and is located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Along with being the 14th-tallest building in the world, Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam and the tallest completed building in Southeast Asia.
Its primary investor was Vinhomes, Vietnam’s largest real estate company. The tower has 35 floors of residential property and two other floors with lounges and clubs strictly for residents. Above the residential floors are 35 floors of hotel space. The two uppermost storeys include an observation deck called Skyview, which opened in 2019.
14: Lakhta Center
The Lakhta Center is an 87-story skyscraper in the Lakhta neighbourhood of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is 1,516 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Europe. When construction began in March 2015, it was registered by Guinness World Records to have the largest continuous concrete pour of 19,624 cubic meters, although that record has since been surpassed.
The building was completed in 2019 and earned LEED Platinum certification, ranking it among the five most eco-friendly skyscrapers in the world.
13: Central Park Tower
Central Park Tower is a residential skyscraper built in 2019 in New York City. It’s 1,550 feet tall and is home to a Nordstrom store as well as 179 condominiums. Central Park Tower is the tallest building in the world that’s primarily residential.
- Central Park Tower Pushes the Limits of Skyscraper Design
- Central Park Tower: The World’s Tallest Condo Tower
12: International Commerce Centre
Located in Hong Kong, China, the International Commerce Centre (ICC) stands 1,588 feet tall and has 108 floors. When it was built, it was the fourth-tallest building in the world, but now it is only the tallest building in Hong Kong. The ICC holds a mall, offices, a Ritz-Carlton hotel and a swimming pool on the top floor of the building.
11: Shanghai World Financial Center
The Shanghai World Financial Center is a skyscraper in the Pudong district of Shanghai that’s 1,614 feet tall and has 101 floors. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by the Mori Building Company to be a mixed-use skyscraper with offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks and a shopping mall.
When it was completed in 2008, the Shanghai World Financial Center was the second-tallest building in the world and the tallest building in mainland China. That year, the skyscraper was named the year’s best completed skyscraper by an international architects’ group and was lauded for its unique design.
10: Taipei 101
Taipei 101 used to be known as the Taipei World Financial Center when it was inaugurated in 2004 in Taiwan. At the time of its completion, the 1,667-foot-tall building was the tallest building in the world, a title it held until 2010, before the Burj Khalifa in Dubai claimed it.
This 101-floor skyscraper used a postmodernist architectural style to evoke traditional Asian design aesthetics in a modern building. It was designed to withstand earthquakes and tropical storms that are common in the region and also has a LEED Platinum certification, making it the tallest green building in the world.
9: CITIC Tower
The CITIC Tower is also known as China Zun. Its nickname comes from the name for an ancient Chinese wine vessel, the shape of which inspired the design of the building. The CITIC Tower is 1,731 feet tall and has 109 floors. It is the tallest building in Beijing and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future because authorities have capped new projects at a height of 180 meters (590.5 feet) to reduce congestion.
While the building officially opened in 2018, the CITIC Tower surpassed the China World Trade Center Tower III in 2016 to become the tallest building in Beijing before it was even completed.
8: Tianjin CTF Finance Centre and Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre
At number 8, we have a tie between The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre and the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre.
The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre was completed in 2019. It is 1,739 feet tall and has 97 floors. The building was designed with softly curving glass that integrates eight large columns structured to increase the building’s ability to withstand earthquakes.
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is a 1,739-foot-tall skyscraper with 111 floors that was completed in 2016 in Guangzhou, China. It houses a shopping mall, offices, apartments and a hotel. The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre also has the world’s fastest elevators, which can reach speeds of up to 69 feet per second.
The building is one of the Guangzhou Twin Towers and is often referred to as the East Tower. These twin towers are similar in size and function, but the East Tower is 300 feet taller than the West Tower.
6: One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in New York City. Standing at 1,776 feet tall with 94 floors, it is the tallest building in the United States as well as the tallest building in the western hemisphere.
One World Trade Center was designed by David Childs, whose architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill also designed the Burj Khalifa and the Willis Tower.
5: Lotte World Tower
At 1,823 feet, the 123-floor Lotte World Tower was completed in 2017 in Seoul, South Korea and is currently the tallest building in the country. It took 13 years of planning and site preparation before the building’s developers got the South Korean government’s approval to move forward with construction. The design includes a slender cone of gently curved sides and pale glass that was inspired by Korean ceramics.
4: Ping An International Finance Center
Completed in 2017, the Ping An International Finance Center is a 1,965-feet tall skyscraper in Shenzhen, China. It was designed by the American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and upon completion became the tallest building in Shenzhen and the second-tallest building in China.
The Ping An International Finance Center also broke the record for the highest observation deck in any skyscraper. It’s the headquarters to its namesake, Ping An Insurance and contains other offices, retail spaces, conference centres, a hotel and a high-end shopping mall.
3: Makkah Royal Clock Tower
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the tallest building with a clock face in the world. It also features the world’s largest clock face. Standing 1,972 feet tall with 120 floors, the government-owned building was built as a way to modernise the city.
It’s located not too far away from the world’s largest mosque and Islam’s most sacred site, the Great Mosque of Mecca. It is currently the second most expensive building in the world after the Great Mosque of Mecca. The building was built after the Ajyad Fortress, an 18th-century Ottoman citadel overlooking the Great Mosque was demolished in 2002.
2: Shanghai Tower
The Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China. Standing at 2,073 feet with 128 floors, it is also the tallest twisted building in the world. The Shanghai Tower also shares the record for the world’s highest observation deck with the Ping An International Finance Center.
Completed in 2015 by the architectural design firm Gensler, the tower is owned by the Shanghai government. Its tiered construction is designed for greater energy efficiency and there are nine separate zones in the building divided among office space, retail space and leisure. In 2018, the building won the Tien-Yow Jeme Civil Engineering Prize.
1: Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world is located in Dubai, UAE. It’s a 2,716-foot-tall building with 163 floors. The construction of this monumental structure, made out of reinforced concrete, began in 2004 and the exterior was completed in 2009.
The Burj Khalifa is the centrepiece of the Downtown Dubai district. It was designed by Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which also designed the One World Trade Center. The world’s tallest building was named to honour the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
- Did You Know? Facts and Figures About Dubai’s Burj Khalifa
- Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE: The Tallest Building in the World
Architecture for Kids
- Architecture Adventure: Crash Course Kids: This episode of Crash Course Kids explains what architects do and how to think like an architect.
- Opening Kids’ Eyes to the Wonders of Architecture: Early childhood is an ideal time to teach kids about the buildings around them and the field of architecture. This page offers ways to help connect the dots for the little ones.
- Architecture for Kids: A Primer: This page includes a bunch of fun activities kids can do with things found around the house to get them interested in architecture.
- Michigan Architectural Foundation: Resources for Kids: Scroll down to find “ArchiTreks” videos that can help kids learn about architecture from young architects.
- Building With Toothpicks: Try using toothpicks to build your own structures. How tall can you make yours?
That’s all we have for you on the tallest buildings in the world. Stay tuned to MyBayut for more trends and trivia from in and around the UAE.