Reaching for the Sky: The Top 10 Tallest Skyscrapers in the World

Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building in 2013

Burj Khalifa, also known as Burj Dubai, currently holds the record of world’s tallest building. It is a 160-storey mixed use building standing 828m (2,722ft) high in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Emaar Properties is the owner and developer of this iconic skyscraper that houses the Armani Hotel Dubai, along with private residences, corporate suites, a fine dining restaurant and an observation deck at its top.

The service elevator used at Burj Khalifa is the tallest in the world.

Construction of the $1.5bn iconic building was started in January 2004 and completed in January 2010. The high-rise tower, which was designed by Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), provides breathtaking views of Dubai, the City of Dreams.

Shanghai Tower

The 632m (2,073ft) high Shanghai Tower is currently the world’s second tallest building, and the tallest in China.

The 121-storey skyscraper, located in Lujiazui district of Shanghai, witnessed the topping out in August 2013.

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Construction of the $2.2bn mixed-use building project was started in November 2008 and is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The building will offer a total floor area of 521,000m².

Shanghai Tower Construction and Development is the owner and developer of the skyscraper. American design and architecture firm Gensler designed the tower.

Thornton Tomasetti provides the engineering services for the project.

The tower will use 106 elevators supplied by Mitsubishi Electric.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel

The 601m-high Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, also known as the Abraj Al-Bait Towers, stands as the third tallest building in the world.

The 120-storey building complex houses a hotel, shopping mall and a clock tower and is located adjacent to the Masjid al Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The hotel building was developed as part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project, which aimed at modernising the city in response of the rising number of pilgrims.

Construction of the Abraj Al-Bait Towers began in 2004 and was completed in 2012.

Saudi Binladin Group is the developer of this six-tower skyscraper hotel building. Dar Al-Handasah was the architect and the structural engineer.

One World Trade Centre

The US’s 541m (1,776ft) high One World Trade Centre (1 WTC) currently ranks as the world’s fourth tallest building.

The 106-storey new trade centre building, located in the Lower Manhattan area of New York City, will replace the former 6 World Trade Centre which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

Construction of the $3.9bn 1 WTC project started in April 2006 and is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The final section of the Spire at the One World Trade Centre was installed in May 2013.

The project is co-developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Durst Organization. David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is the architect of One World Trade Centre.

Taipei 101

Taipei 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Centre, is a 508m high building located in the Xinyi District of Taipei in Taiwan.

The 106-storey Taipei 101 currently ranks as the world’s fifth tallest building. The mixed-use building offers a floor area of 193,400m².

Taipei 101 is owned by the Taipei Financial Centre Corporation and managed by Urban Retail Properties. Construction of the $1.8bn building project was started in 1999 and completed in 2004.

The building was designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners.

Taipei 101 tower features 61 Toshiba/KONE ultra high speed elevators running at a speed of 1,010m/min.

The building received the World’s Fastest Elevators award from Guinness World Records.

Shanghai World Financial Centre

The Shanghai World Financial Centre (SWFC) building, which is presently the world’s sixth tallest building, is located in the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Centre of Pudong district in the city of Shanghai, China.

The 492m-tall and 101-storey mixed-use commercial building is owned and operated by Shanghai World Financial Centre Company.

The building was developed by Mori Building Company of Japan.

Construction of the $1.2bn skyscraper was started in 1997 and completed in 2008.

The building, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, uses 91 elevators and has a total gross floor area of 381,600m².

Leslie E. Robertson Associates was the main contractor for the project.

International Commerce Centre


International Commerce Centre, a 484m (1,588ft) high skyscraper in the Hong Kong city of China, is the seventh tallest building in the world.

The 118-storey building with a total floor area of 274,064m² houses the Ritz-Carlton hotel and commercial offices, as well as an observatory.

The building, which was developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties, is the tallest building in Hong Kong.

The construction of the mixed-use building was started in 2002 and completed in 2010.

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates was the designer of the building. Sanfield Building Contractors was the main contractor and Arup was the structural engineer.

Petronas Twin Towers

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, currently rank as the eighth tallest building in the world.

The twin towers measuring 451.9m high are two 88-storey structures, housing commercial offices.

The construction of the $1.6bn Petronas Towers started in 1994. The twin towers were inaugurated in 1999.

The Petronas Towers owned by KLCC Holdings were designed by the Argentine architect César Pelli.

Hazama Corporation and Samsung Engineering & Construction were the main contractors for the project.

Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering services for the twin towers project.

Zifeng Tower

Zifeng Tower, formerly known as the Nanjing Greenland Financial Centre, is a 450m (1,480ft) high mixed-use building in Nanjing, China.

Construction of the Zifeng Tower was started in 2005 and completed in 2009.

The 66-storey building provides retail and office space in its lower section, and houses restaurants and a hotel in its upper section.

A public observatory is located at the top of the tower, which is crowned with a spire.

Zifeng Tower was designed by the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) led by Adrian Smith.

The project received Structural Engineers Association of Illinois Award 2012.

Willis Tower

Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, in the downtown area of Chicago in Illinois, US, is currently the world’s tenth tallest building.

The 442m (1,451ft) high and 110-storey mixed-use building is the second tallest building in the US, after the One World Trade Centre.

The construction of the Willis Tower was started in 1970 and completed in 1973. The tower was officially opened in 1974.

The tower underwent two major renovations in 2000 and 2009. It was officially renamed as Willis Tower in 2009.

Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) was the design architect and the structural engineer for the tower.

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