A favourite pastime of architects and governments around the world seems to be outdoing each other for the top spot in the highest building category. From Dubai to New York to Shanghai, Skyscanner takes you to new heights atop some of the world’s tallest buildings.
1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Since its completion in 2010, the Burj Khalifa stands as the tallest building in the world. At a towering 828 metres, it also holds the record for most number of floors at 163. The Burj Khalifa is one of the most famous buildings in a country known for stunning structures, and has accomplished its main objective of putting Dubai on the world map.
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2. Shanghai Tower, Shanghai
At 632 metres, Shanghai Tower falls short of the Burj Khalifa by about 200 metres. It holds the distinction of having the fastest elevators anywhere in the world – climbing the 121 floors at 18 metres per second! This is the second highest building in the world, scheduled to be completed in 2015 and is also China’s tallest. However, this honour will be lost to the 660-metre tall Ping An Finance Centre in Shenzhen in 2016.
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3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, Mecca
The 601 metre tall Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel holds the record for the third tallest building in the world since 2012. Known as the Abraj Al Bait Towers, it is infamous for standing at the spot of an 18th century fortress that was demolished to make place for this super structure.
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4. One World Trade Centre, New York City
At 541 metres high, One World Trade Centre is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and is 60 metres shorter than the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel. It was completed in 2014 and stands at the site of the former World Trade Centre which was brought down in a terrorist attack in 2001. The height of One World Trade Centre is 1,776 ft; a deliberate reference to the year when the US Declaration of Independence was signed.
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5. CTF Finance Centre, Guangzhou
530 metres high, the CTF Finance Centre is 11 metres shorter than One World Trade Centre. Topped out in 2014, it is expected to be complete in 2016 and is the fastest assembled skyscraper in modern building history.
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6. Taipei 101, Taipei
Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world in 2004 and remained so till the Burj Khalifa raced ahead in 2010. This 509 metre high beauty is an award winner for its unusual and beautiful design.
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7. Shanghai World Financial Centre, Shanghai
In 2007, when the Shanghai World Financial Centre reached its final height of 492 metres, it was declared the second tallest building in the world. Only 16 metres shorter than Taipei 101, it is easily recognisable because of its distinctive ‘bottle opener’ design.
8. International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong
At 484 metres, the eighth tallest building in the world is also Hong Kong’s tallest. Its 118 floors were completed in 2010. The International Commerce Centre building holds the record for housing the highest hotel in the world in its top 13 floors.
9. Petronas Towers 1 and 2, Kuala Lumpur
Joint claimants of the 9th and 10th place are the Petronas Twin Towers which were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004, and remain the tallest twin towers at 452 metres. A notable feature is the double storey skybridge on the 41st and 42nd floors, which holds the record for the highest two-storey bridge in the world.
10. Zifeng Tower, Nanjing
At 450 metres high, this triangular tower is the 11th highest structure in the world. The stepped form of the 89 floor high building separate and indicate its various end uses within – office and retail space on the lower floors and a restaurant, a hotel and an observatory on the higher floors.
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11. Willis Tower, Chicago
The 442 metre tall erstwhile Sears Tower surpassed the World Trade Centre as the tallest building in the world on its completion in 1973. As of today, it is the second tallest building in the United States, with One World Trade Centre leading the pack.
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12. KK100, Shenzhen
Located in the financial district of Shenzhen, the 441.8 metre tall KK100 or Kingkey 100 is a hundred floors of mixed use space. It is currently the tallest building in Shenzhen, with its distinctive bell shaped canopy entry making it easily recognisable.
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13. Guangzhou International Finance Centre, Guangzhou
The Guangzhou International Finance Centre at 440 metres is a dramatic symbol for the commercial centre of Guangzhou. Of its 103 floors, most are reserved as office space, conference centres and a hotel; but the 99th and 100th floors are used as an observation deck. When it was completed in 2010, the Guanzhou International Finance Centre was the ninth tallest building in the world.
Photo credit: Alex Leung