Tallest Buildings in the World

Tallest Buildings in the World – Top 10 Sky-High Marvels

What’s the tallest building in the world? This is a question you may have wondered several times over the years, and so this article will answer that question. We’ll look at the tallest buildings in the world and learn a bit about them. So, if you like famous tall buildings, then keep reading to learn a lot more.



Top 10 Tallest Buildings in the World

The tallest skyscrapers in the world are always an amazing sight to see. They’re also often either exhilarating or terrifying, depending on your view, when you’re standing on the top floor. In this article, we’re going to be having a look at the tallest buildings in the world, because tall buildings are always fun to think about. It taps into something deeply human within us to see something far bigger than it should be. So, that’s what we’re going to do.

It is worth noting that any of these famous tall buildings could be superseded at any point.

There are no current, at the time of writing, construction plans to build anything that could top the tallest building in the world, but anything on the internet could stay there forever. So, if you’re reading this in 2078, I think this information may have changed. Many apologies. But provided you are reading this in the present day, let’s have a look at the tallest skyscrapers in the world.


Burj Khalifa (829.8 m)

ArchitectAdrian Smith (1944 – Present)
Date Constructed2004 – 2009
LocationDubai, United Arab Emirates

The Burj Khalifa is, by far, the largest building in the world. This famous tall building is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and it stands at an absolutely gargantuan height of 829.8 m (or 2,722 ft). This building has been the tallest building in the world ever since it was constructed, and it beat out the previous record-holder, the Taipei 101, a structure that is no longer even in the top ten. The tallest skyscrapers in the world are all relatively recent and so it’s probably just a matter of time before the Burj Khalifa is overtaken too.

Until then, the Burj Khalifa stands as a tall building that is used as a mixed-use structure.

It has a Y-shaped floor plan that allows it to maximize the space available for its hotel and residential functions. However, this building is not actually all that profitable and has instead aided the financial growth of the areas around it. This lack of profitability also relates to the history of the structure as it was originally going to be named the Burj Dubai, but Emaar Properties, the original developers of the property, faced financial issues that necessitated monetary aid. This aid was provided by the former president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. 

Burj Khalifa Tall BuildingsFull view of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai; Laika ac, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After that, the name of this neo-futurist structure was changed to reflect the name of the building’s benefactor. An interesting side note about the Burj Khalifa is that it actually contains structural steel originally from the Palace of the Republic in East Germany, which had been the seat of the East German government during the Cold War. This, along with the fact that the Burj Khalifa was inspired by Islamic architecture like the Great Mosque of Samarra, indicates a building that is particularly unique in its design as it blends traditional concepts with neo-futurist aesthetics.


Merdeka 118 (678.9 m)

ArchitectFender Katsalidis (in association with RSP KL)
Date Constructed2017 – 2023
LocationKuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Merdeka 118 is a mixed-use structure that stands 678.9 m (or 2,227 ft) tall. This is the second largest building in the world, and it was originally known as the Warisan Merdeka Tower and the KL 118. It is also the largest building in Malaysia and is situated in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The name and the overall design are actually inspired by the independence of the country. Back on 31 August 1957, Tunku Abdul Rahman gave a speech during which he declared that Malaysia was officially an independent state and that the age of colonialism in the country was over.

He raised his hand in a show of solidarity with the people during that speech as he became the first Prime Minister of the newly independent state.

The name of this building, the “Merdeka,” translates to “independence” and it was what Tunku Abdul Rahman chanted during his speech. The majority of the building was completed by November 2021, long after the man after whom it was modeled had passed away. You see, it wasn’t just the name that was inspired by the man, but also the shape. The diamond-shaped glass façades that cover the exterior are made to resemble the outstretched hand of the first Prime Minister as he declared independence during that speech.

Famous Tall BuildingsView of Merdeka 118 Tower from Changkat Bukit Bintang; Azreey, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, this structure is actually still technically incomplete. The building has been topped out, but construction is still ongoing and is projected to be done during 2023. It will have 83 stories of offices, 12 stories of hotel rooms, and five stories of hotel residences. And lastly, of course, there will be an observation deck.


Shanghai Tower (632 m)

ArchitectMarshall Strabala (Unknown) & Jun Xia (Unknown)
Date Constructed2008 – 2014
LocationShanghai, China

The Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in Shanghai and, of course, one of the tallest buildings in the world, specifically the third tallest. It stands 632 m (or 2,073 ft) tall. When it was constructed, it also had the second fastest elevators in the world, but it has since been supplanted, but the fastest elevators are somewhere else on this list. These elevators can still travel far too quickly, as they can go at 20.5 meters per second.

A building this big likely needs that kind of speed in its elevators, and seeing as the Shanghai Tower can accommodate 16,000 people, it probably needs to make sure people can get to where they need to go as quickly as possible.

One of the places people may want to go is the ludicrously high observation deck. This observation deck is also the highest in the world, but, funnily, it shares that record with Ping An Finance Center, which is quite a bit shorter as an overall structure. Either way, the observation tower is ultimately 562 m up. The construction of this tower made use of a tiered, twisted style in which the building was separated into nine distinct zones as the building curved on its way up. These different zones are for different functions, and the building has office, retail, and leisure spaces available as it stretches high into the sky above Shanghai.

Tallest SkyscapersShanghai Tower; Baycrest, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition, the Shanghai Tower is built to be as energy efficient as possible with a double-layered glass façade style that reduces heat absorption. The way to usually do this is to use reflective glass, but this building actually makes use of a double layer of transparent glass that aids in overall heat reduction. This is one of the unique properties that this building utilizes in its design.


Abraj Al Bait (601 m)

ArchitectSL Rasch GmbH and Dar Al-Handasah
Date Constructed2002 – 2012
LocationMecca, Saudi Arabia

The Abraj Al Bait is one of the most expensive buildings ever built. It cost a whopping $18 billion to construct, and it now stands at 601 m (or 1,972 feet). Additionally, the Abraj Al Bait also includes the world’s tallest architectural clock. So, the clock faces can be seen throughout the holy city of Mecca where this famous tall building is located. The building is the tallest in Saudi Arabia, and it is actually part of a modernization project called the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project. The idea behind this project is to improve things for the many pilgrims who enter the city.

This dedication to the pilgrims to this holy city is also shown in how the building is located only 300 m from the Great Mosque of Mecca.

This building is also home to a large hotel and the Clock Tower Museum in the upper stories. It also has a five-story shopping mall and a parking lot that can handle up to 1000 cars. This building can accommodate far too many people, but that certainly is necessary for the uses that it needs to fulfill.

However, while this may be one of the largest buildings in the world, it’s also quite controversial. The building was constructed atop the former Ajyad Fortress. This was an 18th-century Ottoman citadel that was built on a hill overlooking the Great Mosque. The site was razed in 2002 and this destruction angered the Turkish people, as this fortress was part of their heritage. That heritage has been entirely wiped away with the construction of this site.


Ping An International Finance Center (562 m)

ArchitectKohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Date Constructed2010 – 2017
LocationShenzhen, China

The Ping An International Finance Center has already been mentioned on this list, but that was because it shares a record for the highest observation deck in the world with Shanghai Tower. The observation deck is 562 m (or 1,844 ft) up, but unlike with the Shanghai Tower, this observation deck is located near the top of the 599 m (or 1,965 ft) tall building. If you’re curious about the name of this structure, it’s because it’s named after the company that commissioned it in the first place, Ping An Insurance.

The sleek, elegant design is meant to be a particularly unique design that represents the history of the company that commissioned it, and it certainly is a gorgeous tower.

The tower is located in Shenzhen, China, and there had actually originally been plans to install a 60 m tall antenna on the building so that it could replace the Shanghai Tower as the tallest building in China, but that idea was ultimately scrapped because it would have obstructed flights. However, that does not stop this structure from being one of the tallest buildings in the world.

Pingan International Finance Center Tallest BuildingsPing An International Finance Center; Charlie fong, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ping An International Finance Center is, as the name may suggest, the headquarters of Ping An Insurance, but the structure itself is actually mixed-use and includes office, hotel, and retail space. It also has a high-end shopping mall and a conference center. However, it has not reached its occupancy threshold. As of 2019, only about 70% of the building was actually in use.


Lotte World Tower (555 m)

ArchitectKohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Date Constructed2010 – 2016
LocationSeoul, South Korea

The Lotte World Tower is a massive skyscraper that stands 555 m (or 1,821 ft) tall, and it is located in Seoul, South Korea, the capital city of the country. It is, by far, the tallest building in the city and also, of course, of the tallest buildings in the world. It also has a mixed-use occupancy so you can find all sorts of things within its walls. The building mixes office, hotel, and residential space, but the name of the building itself is shared by the name of the hotel that is located on the 76th to 101st floors of this tall building.

The hotel is named the Lotte Hotel, and it has gorgeous views that overlook the city that sprawls below its base.

The building itself was the first ever over-100-story building in the capital, and it has a pale glass façade that surrounds it, and this glass exterior was inspired by Korean ceramics. The building also has a slender design with curving sides as it rises high into the sky. In addition, the building makes use of metal filigree, which is highly intricate metalwork typically for use as ornamentation. This truly is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

What's the Biggest Building In the WorldLotte World, Seoul (2022); kallernaCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


One World Trade Center (541 m)

ArchitectDavid Childs (1941 – Present)
Date Constructed2006 – 2013
LocationNew York City, United States

The One World Trade Center, as the name may suggest, is one of the buildings that is affiliated with the World Trade Center Association. This organization is dedicated to the promotion and expansion of trade throughout the world, and this particular World Trade Center is located in New York City. The One World Trade Center is a replacement for the previous World Trade Center in New York City. This series of structures was more famously known as the Twin Towers, and they were subject to a terror attack on 11 September 2001.

In fact, this rebuilt World Trade Center in New York City is only part of the planned World Trade Center complex that will eventually include five other high-rise offices and a memorial to the terror attacks of 9/11.

This particular building has taken the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center in the city, and it is also the tallest building in the United States at 1,776 ft (or 541 m). The reason, in this instance, for stating the feet measurement before the meters is because the height in feet is a reference to the year 1776. This was the year in which the United States Declaration of Independence was signed, and so it is the year that one could argue that the United States was formed.

Largest Building In the WorldOne World Trade Center in September 2020; Pierre BlachéCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This One World Trade Center will eventually be surrounded by the rest of the planned World Trade Center in New York City. Until that day, this one building will stand as one of the tallest buildings in the world, and by far the largest building in the country.


Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre (530 m)

ArchitectKohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Date Constructed2009 – 2016
LocationGuangzhou, China

The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is a mixed-use building that was specifically designed to meet the needs of differing uses. The building is home to a stack of offices, a bunch of apartments, a shopping mall, and even a hotel. So, at a height of 530 m (or 1,739 ft), it is the tallest building in the city and one of the tallest in the world. In addition, the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is one-half of the Guangzhou Twin Towers. The other tower in this pair is the Guangzhou International Finance Center, which is 439 m (or 1,439 ft) tall.

So, the twin tower of this massive skyscraper does not manage to fit into this list of the tallest buildings in the world, but it is still a tall structure.

The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre may be the East Tower of this pair of Twin Towers, with the smaller tower labeled as the West Tower, but this has not stopped it from also beating its partner in elevator speed. This building has the fastest elevators in the world, and they move at the frightening speed of 21 meters per second (or 69 feet per second). So, if you want to go up this building far too quickly, you’re welcome to do so.

Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre Tallest BuildingsGuangzhou CTF Finance Centre; xiquinhosilva, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The exterior of the building that you’ll be shooting up inside is made of glass with vertical mullions to separate the windows. These mullions are also made of white glazed terracotta, and they are used to create shade for the building, but they do also provide an additional aspect of beautification on this already gargantuan structure.


Tianjin CTF Finance Centre (530 m)

ArchitectSkidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (in collaboration with Ronald Lu & Partners)
Date Constructed2013 – 2019
LocationTianjin, China

The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre is the tallest building in the world that has fewer than 100 floors. It stands at an incredible height of 530 m (or 1,740 ft), a height that it shares with the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre. However, it is not the tallest skyscraper in the country, because China has a few of these ludicrously tall buildings. The structure of the building itself is positively magnificent as it has a curved glass exterior with sloping columns that run along the side of the building.

There are eight of these columns, and they travel from each corner and separate into eight distinct columns before reintegrating at the top of the building.

Furthermore, the façade reinforces this curvature and produces a shimmering texture of sorts. The building itself is a mixed-use building that tapers at the top to minimize the surface area of the building itself.

Tianjin CTF Finance Centre Tallest BuildingsTianjin CTF Finance Centre; BD2412, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This tapering allows the building to reduce exposure to the elements and provides a better overall structure for the many retail, office, hotel, and serviced apartments that occupy the massive structure that is definitely one of the most gorgeous on this list.


China Zun (528 m)

ArchitectKohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Date Constructed2012 – 2018
LocationBeijing, China

The China Zun is a 528 m (or 1,732 ft) skyscraper that was built in a more modern style. It is located in the central business district of Beijing and is the tallest building in the city alongside its existence as the tenth-largest building in the world. The shape of the structure is also quite unique as it is shaped, as the name implies, like a “zun,” which is a traditional Chinese wine vessel. This building is, like practically every other massive building of its kind, a mixed-use building. The China Zun includes office space, luxury apartments, hotel floors, and a rooftop garden.

It’s the tallest skyscraper in the city and it’s likely to stay that way because the city government has placed restrictions on anything over 180 m high being constructed for the foreseeable future.

China Zun Tallest BuildingsChina Zun under construction in 2016; Bairuilong, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While the China Zun is definitely a gorgeous structure, it has not been without controversy. It was reported that some of the highest floors would be administered by the National Security authorities, and because of this structure’s position so near the buildings of parliament, it was seen as a potential way for the security apparatus to observe aspects of government that it was not meant to survey. However, there is little that can be done about something like that.


Thus concludes our look at the tallest buildings in the world. Practically every one of these buildings is mixed-use in its design, and many of those designs are also utterly gorgeous. However, these buildings will not stay the tallest in the world forever. There will always be a challenger that comes along and replaces the biggest. It’s happened a thousand times before, and it will happen again.




Frequently Asked Questions


What’s the Biggest Building in the World?

The biggest building in the world, in terms of its height, is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This structure has been the world’s tallest building since 2009, and there are currently no skyscrapers under construction that will be able to surpass it. However, there are proposed megatall skyscrapers that may one day be able to surpass this gargantuan structure.


What Is a Megatall Skyscraper?

A megatall skyscraper is the rather cutesy term used to describe a skyscraper that is over 600 m (or 1,969 ft) tall. There are, at the time of writing, only four buildings in the world that can be classified as megatall skyscrapers, and these are the Burj Khalifa, Merdeka 118, the Shanghai Tower, and the Abraj Al Bait. If you’re curious about the height classification term below megatall, it’s called supertall; an equally adorable term for a big building.


What Is the Tallest Proposed Skyscraper?

The tallest proposed skyscraper in the world is called the Sukai Mairu Tawā, or the Sky Mile Tower, and it would be situated in Tokyo. It is part of an initiative called Next Tokyo 2045 and it would reach the utterly staggering height of 1,700 m (or 5,577 ft). This would make it more than double the size of the tallest building in the world that is currently standing.


Cite this Article

Justin, van Huyssteen, “Tallest Buildings in the World – Top 10 Sky-High Marvels.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. October 12, 2023. URL: https://artfilemagazine.com/tallest-buildings-in-the-world/

van Huyssteen, J. (2023, 12 October). Tallest Buildings in the World – Top 10 Sky-High Marvels. artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. https://artfilemagazine.com/tallest-buildings-in-the-world/

van Huyssteen, Justin. “Tallest Buildings in the World – Top 10 Sky-High Marvels.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source, October 12, 2023. https://artfilemagazine.com/tallest-buildings-in-the-world/.

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