Thursday, November 26, 2015

Don’t Look Down – the 10 Tallest Buildings in the World.

1. Location: Burj Khalifa
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Height: 2,717 feet
Completion Date: 2010

Like a needle pointing into the stratosphere, the tallest building in the world reaches an astounding 77 feet higher than half a mile! To put that in perspective, it’s the equivalent of 7.5 football fields standing on top of each other.

The designer, Adrian Smith, planned its construction with a revolutionary A tripedal design with sharp edges that cut into the wind, an aerodynamic marvel needed to reduce the strong wind turbulence at that altitude. The Burj Khalifa stands a decided 700 feet above its closest competitor. Having the tallest building in the world is definitely a proud and well-earned accomplishment.

"It's a recognition that they want to project their image out into the global scene," says Daniel Safarik of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). "One easy way physically to do that, in a relative sense, is with a skyscraper."

But Adrian Smith isn’t resting on his laurels, already at work constructing the Kingdom Tower in Saudia Arabia that will stand 3,281 feet high, set to open in 2017.

2. Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel
Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Height: 1,972 feet
Completion Date: 2012

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel was constructed to replicate Big Ben, but sits far from London, England. In fact, the Makkah is in Mecca, Saudia Arabia, the second most holy place in the Islamic religion and home to millions of Muslims who travel there every year.  Instead of the sleek, aerodynamic needle-like architecture of the Burj Khalifah, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower is built on a wide foundation with multiple block construction.

3. One World Trade Center
Location: New York City, United States
Height: 1,776 feet
Completion Date: 2014

The first U.S. building on the list of tallest in the world, the spire of One World Trade Center reaches the exact height of 1,776 feet above the ground, a tribute to the year of our independence. There is controversy, however, as critics say the height of the building – and not an antenna, spire, or other uninhabitable space – should be calculated for the height. Only counting the building, One WTC still reaches 1,300 feet – not as tall as the Willis Tower in Chicago. But no matter which side of the debate you lean, One WTC is a marvel of modern design.

4. Taipei 101
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Height: 1,667 feet
Completion Date: 2004

The construction of Taipei 101 is definitely noticeable – and vastly different than any other of the world’s tallest buildings. The designer planned it with the same rooflines as pagodas (temples), with eight segments of eight floors each, as eight is a significant number for good luck (representing infinity or abundance) in Chinese and Asian cultures.

5. Shanghai World Financial Center
Location: Shanghai, China
Height: 1,614 feet
Completion Date: 2008

The Shanghai World Financial Center is unique because of its open rectangular empty space “carved” into the middle of the top of the building, exposing open sky. While there is no doubt it’s quite an architectural feat, the building is also the butt of jokes that say it looks like a giant bottle opener. Unfortunately, that joke is perpetuated in the building, itself, which sells actual bottle opener replicas in the gift shop.
6. International Commerce Centre
Location: Hong Kong, China
Height: 1,588 feet
Completion Date: 2010

International Commerce Center is a mixed-use office and hotel building that was opened in 2010 and doing very well commercially, despite the fact that it’s a good bit away from Hong Kong’s downtown. However, the ICC isn’t as popular as it probably could be, as some say the design looks like a giant tin can robot, and plans to make it the tallest building in the world were thwarted by a local ordinance that mandated construction of any structure couldn’t be higher than the nearby mountains.

7. Petronas Towers 1 and 2
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Height: 1,483 feet, each
Completion Date: 1998

The world’s tallest building for a period in the late 1990s, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia is truly an iconic project with its two-story sky bridge that connects the parallel flowers all the way up on the 41st and 42nd floors. Not only does it serve a structural purpose by anchoring the tall buildings midway up but it sets an idyllic view of the future of mega structures, as tall buildings are expected to be connected with walkways and bridges in the clouds in future decades.

8. Zifeng Tower
Location: Nanjing, China
Height: 1,476 feet
Completion Date: 2010

The Zifeng Tower was built by the same Adrian Smith, along with Gordon Gill Architecture, that built the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. This Chinese structure was designed to mimic the look of a dragon wrapping around the building.

9. Willis Tower
Location: Chicago, United States
Height: 1,451 feet
Completion Date: 1974

Finally, another U.S. building is on the list with the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. It has gigantic block-like bottom flower for a very rectangular, industrial look that typified construction in the 1970s. The Willis Tower is on the losing side of the debate of whether it or World Trade Center One is the tallest in America, since the spire on WTC One counts toward the height but the radio towers on top of the Willis do not.

10. The Kingkey
Location: Shenzhen, China
Height: 1,449 feet
Completion Date: 2011

The Kingkey, called the KK100, is a major player in the Shenzhen, a major manufacturing metropolis just north of Hong Kong. The building is known for its signature transparent glass upper section that is home to an impressive mall.

Other notables:

12. Trump International Hotel & Tower
Location: Chicago, United States
Height: 1,389 feet
Completion Date: 2009

21. Empire State Building
Location: New York City, United States
Height: 1,250 feet
Completion Date: 1931, and then known as the world’s tallest building for the next 40 years

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