The tallest buildings in the world

Archisoup-Frank-Gehry-portrait.jpg

The tallest buildings

With the world’s population rapidly increasing, the construction of tall buildings has become a necessity in order to achieve high-density development.

The definition of a tall building is not absolute since for a building to be considered to be tall, there are several factors to be considered, such as the proportion of a building’s base to its height, and the height of the building in relation to the height of other buildings in the same area.

Tall buildings which achieve significant heights are further classified into two subgroups: a “supertall” building, which is a tall building that is either 300m or taller, and a “megatall” building, which is a tall building that is either 600m or taller.

Tall Building Definition

There is no absolute definition of a tall building. A building is defined as tall differently in different scenarios and jurisdictions.

Furthermore, there are several factors to be considered when labeling a building as tall. These factors include the proportion of a building’s base to its height, and the height of the building in relation to the height of other buildings in the same area.

Quick facts about tall buildings:

  • Tall buildings, also known as high-rise buildings were able to be constructed after the invention of the elevator.

  • A high-rise building which is very tall is known as a skyscraper.

  • The first skyscraper was constructed in Chicago and was completed in 1885.

Factors Influencing the Height of Tall Buildings

Restrictions/limitations

Several countries have laws that restrict the maximum height of structures. There are several reasons for these restrictions.

The restrictions can be due to enhance air travel safety, the protection of historic skylines and to maintain the views of natural features such as mountains.

Technology

Advancement in technology has greatly influenced the explosive growth of the skyscraper industry, especially in the last 20 years.

Technological advancement has led to the development of new techniques and equipment which are used in the construction industry, making construction of taller buildings much easier.

Construction techniques

In recent times, there has been the development of new construction techniques which have revolutionized the skyscraper construction industry.

These techniques include the use of tube frames instead of conventional steel frames during construction.

Weather

Weather plays a very crucial role in influencing the height of skyscrapers. Weather elements such as the horizontal force of wind, which increases with increase in altitude, causes very tall buildings to sway, and sometimes the occupants of the building feel the swaying. 

Location

Another factor which influences the height of tall buildings is the location. In some locations, the geological structure of the area may prove unsuitable for the construction of tall structures.

The construction of tall buildings in open areas is also ill-advised since there will be no wind resistance from other tall structures.

The below video takes a deeper look into this, and discusses the technological, structural and construction advancements that were developed through time to enable the the current tallest building in the world to be built, The Burj Khalifa.

Benefits of tall buildings

Tall buildings have several benefits. They include:

  1. They save a lot of space by accommodating more people per unit compared to short buildings.

  2. They are economical since they help save on the cost of land that would otherwise be used in the construction of a short building of the same area.

  3. Tall buildings also receive more natural light hence a lot of electricity costs that would otherwise be used to light the building is saved.

  4. Tall buildings also have better circulation and fresh air.

Disadvantages of tall buildings

  1. Most tall buildings experience constant oscillations which may cause the residents of the building to feel nauseated

  2. Construction of tall buildings, especially skyscrapers requires skilled professionals, expensive equipment, sophisticated foundations, among many other requirements, which makes their construction an expensive affair.

  3. Wind funneling which usually occurs at the base of skyscrapers is a major inconvenience for pedestrians. Skyscrapers also cast large shadows blocking sunlight from reaching the pedestrian level.

How are tall buildings ranked?

When measuring the height of buildings, there are groups of standards which need to be taken into consideration. There are four different sets of criteria which are used to determine the height of different buildings to be ranked. The criteria used are:

  • Height to the floor of the highest occupied floor.

  • Height to the highest part of the building.

  • Height to the architectural or structural top.

  • Height to the top of the roof.

The tallest possible building

The tallest building today is the Burj Khalifa, standing at an impressive 828m. But this is not the tallest structure humans can construct. Hypothetically, humans can construct structures which are much taller.  

Currently, the tallest building ever designed is the X-Seed 4000, which is still a concept, but the blueprints have already been completed.

If constructed, the structure would be 4000m tall, as tall as Mt Fuji and the base would have to be 6 km across. The structure would be able to house 1 million people.

The World’s next tallest Building

The current world’s tallest building is the Burj Khalifa, which is located in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. However, the construction of a skyscraper which will be taller than Burj Khalifa is underway in northern Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The skyscraper is called the Jeddah Tower.

Jeddah Tower is expected to be the first building to reach a height of 1000 m (1 km).  The building is to be the centerpiece of a development project known as the Jeddah Economic City. The building is expected to have 200 floors.

Archisoup-X-Seed-4000.jpg

Tallest buildings in the world

Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates - 828m

The Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the tallest building in the world. It is 828m tall and has a floor count of 154+9 maintenance. The construction of Burj Khalifa took 5 years and was completed in 2009.

Shanghai Tower, China - 632m

The Shanghai Tower is not only tallest building in China but also the second tallest building in the world. It stands at 632m and has 121 floors. The construction of the Shanghai Tower took 6 years and was completed in 2014.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower, Saudi Arabia - 601m

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower of Saudi Arabia is the third tallest building in the world. It stands at 601m. It has a hotel with 120 floors as well as a conference center, a prayer room with a capacity of 10000 people, and an Islamic museum.

Ping An International Finance Centre, China - 555m

The Ping An International Finance Centre is located in Shenzen, China. It is the fourth tallest building in the world, standing 555m tall and having 115 floors. The building features a conference center, hotel, and high-end retail spaces

Lotte World Tower, South Korea - 554.5m

The Lotte World Tower is located in Seoul, South Korea. It is the fifth tallest building in the world and its construction was completed in 2016. It is 554.5m tall and has 123 floors, six of which are underground.

One World Trade Center, United States - 541.3m

The One World Trade Center is not only the tallest building in New York City but also in the United States. It stands 541.3m tall and has 104 stories. The One World Trade Center was built in the commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, China - 530m

The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre in Guangzhou, China, is the seventh tallest building in the world together with the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, also in China. The building houses offices, a shopping mall, and a hotel.  

Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, China - 530m

The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre in Tianjin, China, holds the joint position of the 7th tallest building in the world with the Guangzhou CTF Centre, also in China. It is 530m tall and has 97 floors dedicated to mixed use.

China Zun, China - 528m

The China Zun is located in the Central Business District of Beijing, China. It is in its final stages of construction and is estimated to be completed in late 2019. The 108-storey, 528m building is the 9th tallest building in the world.

Taipei 101, Taiwan - 508m

Standing at 508m tall, Taipei 101 is currently the tenth tallest building in the world. Just as the name suggests, the building has 101 stories. For six years, it was the world’s tallest building before being surpassed by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa

The Tallest Buildings in the United States

One World Trade Center, New York City - 541m

The One World Trade Center is currently the tallest building in the United States. It is located in New York City. It is 541m tall and has 104 stories. It was built in the commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and it was completed in 2014.

Willis Tower, Chicago - 443m

The Willis Tower is located in Chicago. It is the tallest skyscraper in Chicago. It is also the second tallest building in the United States. Upon its completion in 1974, it was the tallest building in the world. It is 443m tall and has 110 floors.

432 Park Avenue, New York City - 426m

432 Park Avenue is the second tallest building in New York City. It is also the third tallest skyscraper in the United States. It is 426m tall and has 96 floors. Its construction was completed in 2015.

Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago - 423m

The Trump International Hotel and Tower is the second tallest skyscraper in Chicago. It is also the fourth tallest building in the United States. It has a height of 423m and 98 floors. Its construction was completed in 2009.

30 Hudson Yards, New York City - 387m

The 30 Hudson Yards is the third tallest building in New York. It is also the fifth tallest skyscraper in the United States. It has a height of 387m and has 73 floors. The construction of 30 Hudson Yards was completed in 2019.

Tallest buildings in Chicago

Willis Tower - 443m

The Willis Tower is located in Chicago. It is the tallest skyscraper in Chicago. It is also the second tallest building in the United States. Upon its completion in 1974, it was the tallest building in the world. It is 443m tall and has 110 floors.

Trump International Hotel and Tower- 423m

The Trump International Hotel and Tower is the second tallest building in Chicago. It stands at a height of 423m and has 98 floors. It was completed in 2009.

Aon Center - 346m

The Aon Center is the third tallest building in Chicago. It has a height of 346m and has 83 floors. Upon its completion in 1973, it overtook the John Hancock Center to become the tallest building in Chicago.

John Hancock Center - 344m

The John Hancock Center, also known as 872 North Michigan Avenue, is the fourth tallest building Chicago. It has a height of 344m and has 100 floors. It was constructed in 1969 and was the tallest building in Chicago at the time.

Franklin Center - 307m

The Franklin Center is the fifth tallest building in Chicago. It was formerly known as the AT&T Corporate Center. It has a height of 307m and has 61 floors. Its construction was completed in 1989.

 The tallest buildings in New York City

One World Trade Center - 541m

The One World Trade Center is not only the tallest building in New York City but also the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. It has a height of 541m and has 104 floors. Its construction was completed in 2014

432 Park Avenue - 426m

432 Park Avenue is the second tallest building in New York City. Having a height of 426m and 96 floors, it is the tallest residential building in the world and the third tallest building in the United States. It was completed in 2015.

30 Hudson Yards - 387m

30 Hudson Yards is the third tallest building in New York City. It has a height of 387m and has 101 floors. It has the second highest number of floors in New York. The construction of 30 Hudson Yards was completed in 2019.

Empire State Building - 381m

The Empire State Building is the fourth tallest building in New York City. It was built in 1931, during the great depression. With a height of 381m and 103 floors, it was the tallest building in the world at the time until 1972.

Bank of America Tower - 366m

The Bank of America Tower is the fifth tallest building in New York City. It has a height of 366m and has 54 floors. It is the first skyscraper to receive a Platinum LEED certification. The Bank of America Tower was completed in 2009. 

The tallest buildings in San Francisco

Salesforce Tower - 326m

The Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in San Francisco. It is the 11th tallest building in the United States and the 2nd tallest in California. It has a height of 326m and has 61 floors. Its construction was completed in 2017.

Transamerica Pyramid - 260m

The Transamerica Pyramid is the second tallest building in San Francisco. Upon its completion in 1972, it was the tallest building in San Francisco until the construction of Salesforce Tower. It has a height of 260m and has 48 floors.

181 Fremont - 245m

181 Fremont is the third tallest skyscraper in San Francisco. It 2nd tallest is the 2nd tallest mixed-use residential building in the western United States. It has a height of 245m and has 56 floors. Its construction was completed in 2017.

555 California Street - 237m

555 California Street is the fourth tallest building in San Francisco. Upon its completion in 1969, it was the tallest building in the West Coast. It was formerly known as Bank of America Center. It has a height of 237m and has 52 floors.

345 California Center - 220m

345 California Center is the fifth tallest building in San Francisco. It is also the tallest mid-block skyscraper in San Francisco. It has a height of 220m and has 48 floors. Its construction was completed in 1986.

The tallest buildings in Seattle

Columbia Center - 286m

The Columbia Center is the tallest building in Seattle and the 29th tallest building in the United States. It has a height of 286m and has 76 floors. Its construction was completed in 1985.

1201 Third Avenue - 235m

1201 Third Avenue is the second tallest building in Seattle. It has a height of 235m and has 55 floors. Its construction was completed in 1988 

Two Union Square - 226m

The Two Union Square is the third tallest building in Seattle. It has a height of 226m and has 56 floors. The construction of the Two Union Square was completed in 1989.

Seattle Municipal Tower - 220m

The Seattle Municipal Tower is the fourth tallest building in Seattle. It has a height of 220m and has 57 floors. The construction of the Seattle Municipal Tower was completed in 1990.

F5 Tower - 201m

The F5 tower is the fifth tallest skyscraper in Seattle. It has a height of 201m and has 43 floors. Its construction was completed in 2017.

The tallest buildings in Boston

John Hancock Tower - 241m

The John Hancock Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Boston. It has been the tallest building in Boston and New England since its construction in 1976. It has a height of 241m and has a total of 60 floors.

Prudential Tower - 228m

The Prudential Tower is the second tallest building in Boston. Upon its completion in 1964, it was the tallest building in Boston until the construction of the John Hancock tower. It has a height of 228m and has 52 floors.

Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences, One Dalton Street - 226m

The Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences, One Dalton Street is the third tallest building in Boston. With a height of 226m, it is the tallest building built in Boston since 1976. Its construction was completed in 2019.

Millennium Tower - 209m

The Millennium Tower is the fourth tallest building in Boston. It is the tallest residential building in Boston, with a height of 209 floors. It has 60 floors. The construction of the Millennium Tower was completed in 2016.

Federal Reserve Bank Building - 187 m

The Federal Reserve Bank Building is the fifth tallest building in Boston. It is the tallest building in Boston’s Financial District. It has a height of 187m and has 32 floors. Its construction was completed in 1976.

The tallest buildings in Canada (Toronto)

First Canadian Place, Toronto - 298.1m

The First Canadian Place is the tallest building in Canada. It is located in Toronto. It is 298.1m tall and has 72 floors. The First Canadian Place was constructed in 1975.

The St.Regis Toronto, Toronto - 276.9m

The St. Regis Toronto is the second tallest building in Canada. It is also located in Toronto. It has a height of 276.9m and has 57 floors. The construction of The ST. Regis Toronto was completed in 2012.

Scotia Plaza, Toronto - 275m

The Scotia Plaza is the third tallest building in Canada. It is located in Toronto. It has a height of 275m and has 68 floors. The construction of the Scotia Plaza was completed in 1988.

Aura, Toronto - 271.9m

Aura is the fourth tallest building in Canada. It is also found in Toronto. It has a height of 271.9m and has 78 floors. The construction of Aura was completed in 2014.

TD Canada Trust Tower, Toronto - 260.9m

The TD Canada Trust Tower is the fifth tallest building in Canada. It is located in Toronto. It has a height of 260.9m and has 53 floors. The construction of the TD Canada Trust Tower was completed in 1990.

The tallest buildings in London

The Shard - 310m

The Shard is not only the tallest building in London but also the tallest building in the United Kingdom. Having a height of 310m and 87 floors, it is also the tallest building in the EU. Construction of the Shard was completed in 2012.

22 Bishopsgate - 278m

22 Bishopsgate is the second tallest building in London. It has a height of 278m and has 62 floors. The construction of 22 Bishopsgate was completed in 2019.

One Canada Square - 236m

The One Canada Square is the third tallest building in London. It has a height of 236m and has 50 floors. Construction of One Canada Square was completed in 1991. It is the tallest building in the Canary Wharf business district.

110 Bishopsgate - 230m

110 Bishopsgate is the fourth tallest building in London. It has a height of 230m and has 46 floors. Construction of 110 Bishopsgate was completed in 2011. It has a roof height of 202 m but has a mast which is 28 m long.

122 Leadenhall Street - 225m

122 Leadenhall Street is the fifth tallest building in London. It has a height of 225m and has 46 floors. Its construction was completed in 2014.

The tallest buildings in Europe

Lakhta Center, Russia - 462.5m

The Lakhta Center, which is located in St. Petersburg, Russia, is not only the tallest building in Russia but also the whole of Europe. It has a height of 462.5m and has 87 floors. Construction of Lakhta Center was completed in 2017.

Federation Tower: East Tower, Russia - 373.7m

The Federation Tower: East Tower, which is located in Moscow, Russia, is the tallest building in Moscow and the second tallest building in Russia and the whole of Europe. It is 373.7m tall and has 95 floors. It was completed in 2016.

OKO: South Tower, Russia - 354.1m

OKO: South Tower, which is located in Moscow, Russia, is the third tallest skyscraper in Europe and Russia. It is also the second tallest building in Moscow. It has a height of 354.1m and has 85 floors. It was completed in 2015.

Mercury City Tower, Russia - 338.8m

The Mercury City Tower, which is located in Moscow, Russia, is the fourth tallest building in the whole of Europe and Russia. It is also the third tallest skyscraper in Moscow. It has a height of 338.8m and has 75 floors.

The Shard, United Kingdom - 309.7m

The Shard, which is located in London, United Kingdom, is the fifth tallest building in the whole of Europe. It is the tallest skyscraper in London and the whole of the EU. It has a height of 309.7m and has 87 floors.