#10: Shanghai World Financial Center, China
This sharp, smooth yet angular building is a true work of both art and genius, according to architects. It was named Best Skyscraper completed in 2008 by numerous architects, and it was the recipient of multiple year end awards. From the time of its completion until 2013, it was the tallest building in Shanghai, before another skyscraper swooped in to claim its title. Regardless, the Shanghai World Financial Center still boasts an eye-catching design, an observation deck set at 1,555 ft, and the world’s third highest hotel, the Park Hyatt Shanghai, which occupies floors 79 through 93.
#9: Taipei 101, Taiwan
Don’t let the 101 in its name fool you, there’s absolutely nothing rudimentary about this supertall skyscraper. Found in the Xinyi District of Taipei, this remarkable building was the world’s tallest from 2004 until 2010. Its height is far from the only thing that makes it remarkable however. Given the often extreme environmental factors in Taiwan, including high winds and earthquakes, the building has a massive pendulum built into it, a “tuned mass damper,” which offsets the sway of the building. With its mixture of traditional and modern Asian architecture, it’s certainly eye-catching. Since a 2011 update, the building holds the distinction of being the world’s largest LEED-rated “green” building, as in eco-friendly.
#8: China Zun [aka CITIC Tower], China
As of early 2018, this mammoth building, found in the Central Business District of Beijing, is structurally complete, but has yet to be officially opened to the public, and as such, details remain scarce. However, at a whopping 1,732 ft, and as the newly christened tallest building in Beijing, it more than earned its spot on this list. It’s been long in the making, with ground first having been broken in 2011. Plans for the interior include office space, luxury apartments and a hotel. The most unique remarkable feature however, is the planned rooftop garden, which will sit roughly 1,719 feet above ground.
#7: Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, China
Completed in 2016 and dwarfing most other skyscrapers with which it shares the Guangzhou skyline, the Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre is the tallest functional building in the city. It is surpassed only by the Canton Tower, which is a structure that serves as a landmark and observation deck only. The CTF Finance Centre is also the third tallest building in all of China. Constructed between 2009 and 2016, this building, referred to colloquially as the East Tower, is the larger of a pair, which together, are known as the Guangzhou Twin Towers. With its angular cuts, the CTF Finance Centre certainly makes for a striking, modern sight.
#6: One World Trade Center, U.S.A.
After the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, the city was left with difficult decisions to make. Ultimately, competitions were held to find a design for a replacement structure that would both honor the memory of the tragic event, and serve as the new World Trade Center. It was certainly long in the making, but the completed One World Trade Center, which opened on November 3rd, 2014, is truly unique. Made up of 8 triangles, its shape captures and reflects the sky beautifully. At 1,776 ft, it’s also the tallest building found in the western hemisphere.
#5: Lotte World Tower, South Korea
This is another structure that took a long time to get off the ground. A full thirteen years of planning went into the Lotte World Tower before they even broke ground. Construction officially began in 2011 and was completed in 2016, with the long-gestating building finally opening its doors in 2017. The building boasts an observation deck, private offices, a hotel covering floors 76 through 101, residences and offices. Against the rest of the Seoul skyline, the Lotte World Tower seems even more impressive, as it is nearly double the height of its closest competition.
#4: Ping An Finance Centre, China
Completed in 2017 and at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion, the Ping An Finance Center looks like some sort of futuristic spaceship prepping to take off. Angular and finely detailed, the skyscraper is the second tallest in China. There were initially plans to give it an antenna that would have earned it a higher spot on our list, but, a testament to the extreme heights we’re talking about, the plan was abandoned for fear that the antenna could interfere with flight paths at that height. A remarkable building nonetheless, in addition to office spaces, the Ping An Finance Center houses a hotel, a conference center, an observation deck and a high-end shopping mall.
#3: Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower, Saudi Arabia
With this massive building, we leave behind the height classification of “supertall skyscrapers” and enter the world of “megatall skyscrapers” - a distinction our previous entry missed by a matter of feet. With that said, there are only 3 megatall skyscrapers in the world. In a closeup photo, just by virtue of its architectural style, you’d expect this Makkah Royal clocktower to be of much more modest scale. However, when you see the building from a distance, and within the context of the skyline of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, you realize just what a colossal feat of architecture you’re witnessing. An opulent building, it’s even crowned with a glass jewel, which houses a scientific center and observation deck.
#2: Shanghai Tower, China
At over 2,000 ft, the Shanghai Tower is kind of hard to fathom. You’d really have to see it in person to believe it, and even then, you’d probably need to visit its observation deck in order to appreciate just how high you’ve climbed. Though it’s only the second tallest building in the world, that observation tower is officially the highest in existence to date. The building also boasts the world’s speediest elevators, meaning you can get to said observation deck, 1841.4 feet high, in record time. Completed in 2014, the Shanghai Tower contains everything from offices and boutiques, to a swimming pool, and concert hall.
#1: Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates
For our number one entry, we take a staggering jump skyward with this building that trumps the runner up by nearly 650 feet. Towering above all other skyscrapers yet constructed, it has held the title of tallest building in the worldsince it was topped out in 2008. Construction began 4 years prior to that in 2004, and the building was officially opened in 2010. With its completion, it claimed a number of “tallest” and “highest” records, including the world’s highest nightclub and restaurant. With its unique and inspired architecture, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and truly one of a kind.