Top 10 skyscrapers: Tallest buildings in the world

Afraid of heights? Then you aren't going to enjoy these skyscrapers...

Over the past few years, improvements in building materials and methods have seen buildings grow ever higher. And with a greater understanding of aerodynamics, the sky really is the limit when it comes to building mega-tall skyscrapers.

There are already plenty of impressive structures around the world, showcasing the talents of architects and structural engineers who have built these incredible buildings that defy gravity.

Many more are in the planning or construction phase, such as the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, which has been designed to reach over 1000m in height once completed. The Bionic Tower, a design proposal for a vertical city in China, would reach the dizzy height of 1,228m if constructed.

But, for now at least, here are the 10 biggest skyscrapers in the world.

10. China Zun - 528m

The distinctive Citic Tower opened in 2018, and houses a mixture of offices, hotels and luxury apartments. There are also plans for a rooftop garden at 524m, which could lead to some decent sunbathing opportunities.

Its nickname China Zun comes from the influence of an ancient Chinese drinking vessel, which inspired the design of the building.

The tower is currently the tallest in Beijing, and due to new legislation banning buildings over 180m from being built in the city, it is likely to remain the tallest for a long time.

8. Tianjin CTF Finance Centre - 530m

Opened in 2019, the Tianjin tower has been built with sustainability in mind. Its distinctive shape was designed to protect it against the effects of strong winds on such a tall building, and also saves on the use of glass.

None of the glass panels used on the building are curved, but due to some ingenious design details, the whole structure appears to shimmer in the sun.

It also boasts a column system of 'soft braces' to help keep the building steady during an earthquake. As the tower is located in a part of northern China that has large seismic activity, this is a very sensible idea.

8. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre - 530m

The Tianjin tower also holds the record of the eighth-tallest building in the world with the similarly-named Guangzhou CTF tower. Both therefore can claim to be the third-tallest towers in China too.

This building is equipped with the world's fastest elevator, with a speed of 72km/h. This means you can get from the ground floor to the hotel lobby on the 95th floor in just 42 seconds, although it might be hard to keep your lunch down at that speed.

The overall shape of the building is not just aesthetic. The building is mixed-use, with floors dedicated to different uses (such as residential areas or offices) allocated completely different sizes.

7. One World Trade Center - 541m

The new 'One World Trade Center' was built on the site of Six World Trade Center, destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Construction started in 2006, and was completed in 2014, with a public observation deck opening in 2015.

The spire on top of the building takes the height to 541m, which is a deliberate design detail. This means the height when measured in feet is 1,776 - the year that America gained independence from Great Britain.

In total, there are 94 storeys, most of which are offices. However, a large part of the lobby houses artworks commemorating those who died on the site in 2001.

6. Lotte World Tower - 555m

Incredibly, the Lotte World Tower is the first building in South Korea to have over 100 floors. Of those, 10 are occupied by an exclusive shopping mall.

Opened in 2017, it took 13 years of planning and site clearance before construction commenced. As with most skyscrapers, the building is used for various different activities. With gyms, offices, shops and hotels you probably wouldn't need to ever leave the front door.

The tower is very strong, and was designed and built to be able to withstand earthquakes up to nine on the Richter scale, as well as high winds and tropical storms.

5. Ping An International Finance Centre - 599m

The Pin An tower is located within the business district of Shenzhen, China. Pin An is possibly the largest insurance company in the world, and translates as 'safe and well'.

Originally, there were plans for an extra 60m antenna to be added to the top of the structure which would have made this the tallest building in China. However, concerns that this might interfere with air traffic meant that the idea was dropped.

The tower is also spacious, with 500m2 of floor space contained within its 115 floors, which makes it the world's second-largest skyscraper by floor area.

4. Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower - 601m

This magnificent clock tower forms the centrepiece of a hotel complex in Saudi Arabia. Its main purpose is to cater for pilgrims visiting the nearby sacred site of the Great Mosque of Mecca, just 300m away.

People who happen to visit this amazing place won't have any difficulties knowing the time either, thanks to its huge clock faces – the biggest in the world. Not only that, but it is the world's second-most expensive building, with a total construction cost of $15bn (11.91bn).

The development and construction of the clock tower and the rest of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project was not without controversy. The 18th century Ajyad Fortress, built by the Ottoman Empire, was demolished in 2002 to make way for the development.

3. Shanghai Tower - 632m

Once construction was completed in 2015, the Shanghai Tower became the tallest building in China. Its 128 floors house office spaces, concert halls and even a swimming pool on the 84th floor.

It also holds the joint record (with the Ping An International Finance Center) for the world's highest observation deck, at a head-spinning 562m.

The Shanghai tower is also home to the world's second-fastest elevators, although it has a special 'red button' which will make them go faster if you know who to ask.

2. Merdeka 118 - 679m

The Merdeka's name and design were inspired by the declaration of independence of Malaysia by Tunku Abdul Rahman in August 1957. During the ceremony, he repeatedly chanted 'Merdeka', which translates as 'Independence' in English.

The 118 in the name refers to the number of floors, comprising office spaces, commercial areas, hotels and a gym. It will also feature an observation deck on floors 115 and 116, if you feel so inclined.

1. Burj Khalifa - 828m

The Burj Khalifa is the centrepiece of Downtown Dubai, an exclusive development of hotels, residential buildings and shopping malls that cover 2km2.

Upon its completion in 2010, it broke several records, including the world's highest restaurant and nightclub. It also has the most number of floors (163) of any building ever constructed.

The structure is built using reinforced concrete, aluminium and steel. It also has over 24,000 windows, which makes cleaning them a bit of a chore.

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