Breathtaking buildings around the world serve as reminders of the amazing feats of architecture and engineering that humans have achieved. Historically, this meant churches, but more recently we have seen record breaking structures come in the form of skyscrapers. The motivation to test limits in inherently human, and this can be seen in the new record heights reached by some of the world’s skyscrapers. This article will introduce the 10 buildings that currently rank as the tallest in the world.
- 1. Burj Khalifa
- 2. Shanghai Tower
- 3. Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower
- 4. Ping An Finance Center
- 5. Goldin Finance 117
- 6. Lotte World Tower
- 7. One World Trade Center
- 8. Guangzhou CTF Finance Center
- 9. Tianjin CTF Finance Center
- 10. China Zun
1. Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world is Burj Khalifa which is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This building has held the record of tallest building and tallest structure in the world since its construction was completed in 2010.
The building was originally named Burj Dubai but was later renamed in honor of ruler Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Burj Khalifa blends the classic Islamic traditions with modern, energy-saving features to create a structure that redefines what is possible is the design and engineering of skyscrapers.
The building has received many international architecture awards, for it representation of the ability of humankind to test boundaries and break records.
Asia, and most particularly China, dominates this list, with structures that many in the West may know little or nothing about. This trend seems to coincide with Asia’s rise to a more prominent force in the world’s economy.
That being said, this list is likely to shift in the coming years, with many major developments on the horizon. The PNB 118 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is currently under construction with designs planning a height of 644 m. Further, Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia began construction in 2013 with a planned height of 1008 m tall — which would beat previous records and make it the tallest building in the world.
2. Shanghai Tower
Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building in the world (and the tallest building in China).
This twisted structure spirals 632 meters into the sky. This design is both visually appealing, as well as beneficial to the structural integrity of the skyscraper—as it allows the building to better withstand strong gusts of wind.
This is also the structure that shares the record (with Ping An Finance Center) for the highest observation deck in the world.
3. Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower
The third tallest building in the world is Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower, located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Reaching heights of 601 m this tower is the tallest building with a clock face; and the second tallest building in the Middle East.
Abraj Al-Bait is a complex of seven skyscraper hotels, which were constructed as part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project. The central hotel tower is called the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, which has the largest clock face in the world. Due to this, the top four floors of this tower are dedicated to the Clock Tower Museum.
This tower complex, along with the closely located Great Mosque of Mecca (the largest mosque in the world), make this area of the city a bustling tourist district.
4. Ping An Finance Center
Located in the city center of Shenzhen we find the fourth tallest building in the world, Ping An Finance Center. At 599 m tall, it acts as the physical and iconic center of Shenzhen’s Futian district.
This structure is prototypical of a new generation of Asian skyscrapers, as it is tall, dense, and hyper connected.
Ping An Finance Center attracts tourists due to the record breaking height of its observation deck, which is only matched by Shanghai Tower.
5. Goldin Finance 117
Number five is Goldin Finance 117 which is another building in the city of Tianjin. This skyscraper is the third tallest building in China reaching 596.6 meters into the sky.
The design of Goldin Finance 117 means the structure resembles a walking stick. At its pinnacle, it is capped by a diamond-shaped chamber. Within this chamber tourists can observe the city views from the rotating observation deck and fine dining restaurant.
This building is particularly striking at night, as the top is brilliantly lit, like a beautiful beacon against the backdrop of the busy city landscape.
6. Lotte World Tower
Number six on our list of the tallest buildings in the world is South Korea’s Lotte World Tower. Lotte World Tower is 554.5 m tall and is a famous landmark in Seoul. It draws locals and tourists alike with its luxury hotel, retail shops, office spaces, concert hall and rooftop cafe.
It holds significance in the country, as it was South Korea’s first 100-story building. In addition, the sleek design was inspired by traditional Korean art forms.
7. One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center, also known as One WTC or Freedom Tower, is located in Lower Manhattan in New York City. This structure is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the only entry on the current top 10 list outside of Asia.
This skyscraper was constructed on the rebuilt World Trade Center complex, replacing the Twin Towers which were destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As part of the effort to memorialize and rebuild following 9/11, the footprint of One WTC is the same as the original two towers.
This building has particular significance for Americans, who view it as a symbol of fortitude and healing in the face of such a crisis. As such, even the height of the building(1,776 feet) has significance, as it signifies the year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
8. Guangzhou CTF Finance Center
Number eight on our list is another Chinese structure, the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, which measures 530 m tall. Although Guangzhou CTF Finance Center has the same architectural height as the Tianjin CTF Finance Center, this building makes it to no. 8 by having a higher ‘occupied height’ of 495.5 m, while Tianjin CTF has an occupied height of 439.4 m.
This skyscraper is located in the busy port city of Guangzhou, on the bank of the Pearl River. The tiered design of this structure allows for outdoor terraces, built in skylights, as well as a shopping mall, offices, apartments and a hotel.
Another interesting feature of Guangzhou CTF is that it currently claims the title of fastest elevator in the world, which can reach speeds of 21m/s (47mph).
9. Tianjin CTF Finance Center
Measuring at 530 m, the Tianjin CTF Financial Centre outreaches China Zun by 2 meters to maintain the position of ninth tallest building in the world.
This skyscraper is mixed-use, and includes office space, luxury apartments, and a hotel. The facade of the Tianjin CTF Financial Center has undulating curves that are both visually stunning and structurally significant, as they help minimize the force of wind against the building.
10. China Zun
Number ten on the list is CITIC Tower, popularly known as China Zun. This building is located in the Central Business District, and is currently the tallest in Beijing.
The unique design of China Zun eqipts it with a tapered middle section, which developers claim is meant to evoke the image of the ancient Chinese ritual vessel (the ‘zun’).
Due to a 2018 cap on new developments in Beijing’s business district, CITIC Tower will remain the tallest building in the city for the foreseeable future.