We can’t help it, we’re enthralled by skyscrapers. While often derided as monuments to money, ego or materialism, skyscrapers can also be seen as design and engineering prowess at their finest. Almost as temples to what is possible with the human spirit. For years, the Burj Khalifa has stood as the tallest in the world, topped out at an incredible 2,717 feet, or 828 meters. Lately, several new megatall skyscrapers have entered the picture, but none have yet claimed the title from the Burj. When Jeddah Tower tops out in 2020, it will have a height of over a kilometer, instantly becoming the tallest ever. Below are the current (as of late 2017) tallest in the world, in descending height and order. We’ll report back in the future with a newly updated list.
One of the most famous buildings in the world, Burj Khalifa took the world by storm, and ushered in a new level of fame for Dubai, the flashiest city in the United Arab Emirates. Designed by American firm Adrian Smith , the Burj cost over $1.5 Billion to build, and has 163 floors, which is far more than any of it’s competitors.
The recently completed Shanghai Tower has the highest observation deck of any building, at level 121. It also boasts the world’s fastest elevators, which whisk people up at nearly 50 mph. Designed by firm Gensler, the twisting form has a transparent façade with double layer glass.
We can’t say we’re visual fans of the enormous clock tower complex in Mecca. Looking like a gaudy cluster more destined for Vegas than the middle east, Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower is made up of seven enormous hotel buildings, culminating with the world’s biggest clock tower, which stands 1,971 feet tall. Finished in 2012, the clock tower accommodates the huge crowds that make a pilgrimage to Mecca every year. The building also holds the record for most expensive ever, at $15 billion.
Located in China’s Southeast, Shenzhen has been one of the fastest growing cities in the world for decades, with a population of over 11,000,000. Ping An Finance Centre was completed in 2017, and rocketed number 4 on the top 5 tallest building rankings, standing 1,966 feet tall, with over 115 stories. The building was originally designed with a large, 180 foot tall antenna on top, but it is so tall that there were fears it would interfere with flights.
At 1,821 feet tall, Lotte World Tower dwarfs other buildings in Seoul, South Korea. Opened in 2017, the 123 story skyscraper has an elegant shape, gently curving as it reaches it’s pinnacle. The tower boasts a seven-star hotel and the world’s highest swimming pool, on the 85th floor.