What are the Tallest Buildings in the World?

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  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2019
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When speaking of the tallest buildings in the world, it is important to specify exactly what is being measured. Listers must decide if the building is to be measured from sidewalk level or below, whether or not TV towers or masts are included, and whether an antenna, flagpole, or spire should count. A building differs from a tower in its primary use, being designed for residential, business, manufacturing, or mixed use, whereas a tower is not.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, formerly the Joint Committee on Tall Buildings, in conjunction with Emporis Buildings, is the authoritative source for information about the tallest buildings in the world, and their list of the tallest buildings, drawn from an extensive database, is based on the height of the building to the structural or architectural top, which includes spires and pinnacles, but does not include antennas, masts, or flagpoles. Prior to 9/11, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, New York were ranked fifth - 1,368 ft (417 m) – and sixth – 1,362 ft (415 m) – on the list of the tallest buildings in the world.


Interesting facts:

  • The tallest building in the world, Taipei 101, is nearly 200 feet (61 m) taller than the next tallest building.
  • Of the top ten tallest buildings, all are either in Asia or the United States.
  • Of the top 20 tallest buildings in the world, the most, five, are in China, with four in Hong Kong, three in Chicago, and two each in Taiwan and Kuala Lumpur.
  • In the top 100 tallest buildings, the only ones completed prior to 1969 are all in New York City and were completed between 1930 and 1932. They are: the Trump Building, originally called the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, and the Chrysler Building – 1930; the Empire State Building – 1931; and the American International – 1932.
  • In the top 200 tallest buildings in the world there are:
    • 25 in New York City
    • 17 in Hong Kong
    • 13 in Shanghai
    • 12 in Chicago.
    • 8 in Dubai
    • 7 in Singapore
    • 6 each in Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney and Houston
    • 5 in Kuala Lumpur and Shenzhen, China
    • 4 each in Los Angeles and Melbourne and Toronto and Atlanta

Number Building City Height Floors Year Architect
1. Taipei 101 Taipei, Taiwan 1,671 ft (509 m) 101 2004 C.Y. Lee & Partners
2. Petronas Tower 1 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1,483 ft (452 m) 88 1998 Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects, Adamson Associates, RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Private Limited
3. Petronas Tower 2 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1,483 ft (452 m) 88 1998 Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects, Adamson Associates, RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Private Limited
4. Sears Tower Chicago, IL USA 1,451 ft (442 m) 108 1974 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
5. Jin Mao Tower Shanghai, China 1,380 ft (421 m) 88 1998 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, The Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design (SIADR), East China Architectural Design & Research Institute Co. Ltd.
6. Two International Finance Centre Hong Kong 1,362 ft (415 m) 88 2003 Rocco Design Limited, Cesar Pelli & Associates Architects
7. CITIC Plaza Guangzhou, China 1,283 ft (391 m) 80 1997 DLN Architects & Engineers
8. Shun Hing Square Shenzhen, China 1,260 ft (384 m) 69 1996 K.Y. Cheung Design Associates
9. Empire State Building New York City, NY, USA 1,250 ft (381 m) 102 1931 Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates
10. Central Plaza Hong Kong 1,227 ft (374 m) 78 1992 DLN Architects & Engineers

© Emporis 7/2006


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

People have always tried to build higher and higher. The buildings mentioned below are currently the world's tallest.

T&C Tower (Kaohsiung,Taiwan): 348 meters (11,41 feet).

Empire State Building (New York, USA): 381 meters (1,250 feet).

Shun Hing Square (Shenzhen, China): 381 meters (1,250 feet).

CITIC Plaza, (Guangzhou, China): 391 meters (1,283 feet).

Jin Mao Tower (Shanghai, China): 421 meters (1,381 feet).

Sears Tower (Chicago, Illinois, USA): 442 meters (1,450 feet).

Petronas Towers, (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia): 452 meters (1,483 feet).

Burj Khalifa, (Dubai, UAE): 828 meters (2,717 feet).

The magnificent Burj Khalifa is the centerpiece of downtown Dubai. It gained the title of the worlds tallest building after its opening in 2010. Today it stands as the tallest man made structure ever built. Knowing mankind, this is just the beginning.

Post 3

@ istria- It's insane to think that the Burj Khalifa is almost a thousand feet taller than the world's next tallest building. I recently read an article in esquire about the new development happening at the site of the old World Trade Buildings. The centerpiece is 1 World Trade, and it will become the tallest building in the united states and the third largest in the world. It may not be as tall as the Burj, but when considering the number of towers going up on the site, the memorial, and the museum, the scope of the project is just as ambitious. 1WTC will reach over 1700 feet into the air, adding about 400 feet to the Twin Towers, while

only having a footprint of 200 by 200 feet. A building of this height on a footprint this small is impressive. Like the Burj, Chicago design firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, designed this building. I'm sure if there were more area, the tower could have been built taller, but I think this monument will suffice.

I can't wait to take a trip to New York when this tower is completed to visit the site.

Post 2

@ anon64988- The Burj Khalifa is truly a masterpiece of design. I personally believe it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all the world's skyscrapers. The building's base is a Y that spirals over 2700 feet into the air not including the buildings antenna array. They say the spiral affect causes the building to be stable in Dubai's heavy winds.

I have also heard that the grounds are amazing as well. There are swimming pools that sit over a thousand feet above the ground, allowing residents and hotel guests to swim from the building’s interior to the building’s exterior, a sort of swimming observation deck. Fountains, reflection pools and the likes also surround the building. My friend is from New Zealand, and she works as a flight attendant on Air Dubai. She has told me that the buildings in Dubai are the most magnificent in the world, especially the Burj.

Post 1

the tallest building now is Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Its height is 828 m.

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