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Opulence and Power through Architecture: Top 20 Tallest Buildings in the World

1 April 2011 No Comment

The world is filled with so many beautiful architectural wonders, that it is high time to encompass a list featuring the top 20 highest buildings in descending order.

1. The world’s tallest skyscraper – Burj Khalifa of Dubai




This is the highest standing structure in the world to date, 828m in height and featuring 900 apartments. The construction began in January 2004, and opened to public on January the 4th, 2010. The building is a true expression of ambition, eccentricity and opulence, being the symbol of Dubai and receiving millions of visitors from around the world. Total cost for its construction was $1.5 billion.

2. Chinese wonder – Taipei 101 Tower


The building is located in Taipei, Taiwan (China), the 508 meters high building was not so long ago being known as Taipei World Financial Center. It has 101 floors, and an additional 5 floors underground. There are many world renowned corporations that hold their offices here, such as Starbucks, L’Oreal Taiwan or ABN Amro Bank. Construction began in 1999, and it was officially opened on New Year’s Eve 2004. Total cost: $1.80 billion.

3. Shanghai World Financial Center – China’s all purpose structure


The building is 492 meters high, and it was constructed between 1997 and 2008, for a total cost of $1.20 billion. It has 101 floors, and the building features hotels, restaurants, conference rooms, shopping malls, museums, parking lots, and many more.

What is interesting is that although it is the third tallest building in the world, it features the highest observation deck opened for public in the world at 474 meters on the 100th floor (Burj Khalifa’s highest deck is at 452 meters, on the 124th floor).

4. The International Commerce Center of Hong Kong


This is the highest skyscraper of Hong Kong, with 484 meters and 118 floors. Construction began as early as 2002, and it was finished in 2010. Initially, the project architects wanted the building to be 574 meters, but according to some regulations in force, no building is allowed to be higher than the neighboring mountains.

5. Twin magnificence: The Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur


The twin towers of Kuala Lumpur are 454 meters in height and both have 88 floors. They were the highest standing architectural wonders up until 2004, when Taipei 101 Tower of China took over the record. As twin buildings however, they still keep the world record. They were constructed between 1992 and 1998 at a cost of $1.6 billion. The building serves mainly for commercial purposes, being largely used for smaller and enterprise level offices.

6. Nanjing Greenland Financial Center


Located in the city of Nanjing in China, the structure is 450 meters high, and has 89 stories. It is mainly used for commercial purposes, retail and enterprise offices. It has been constructed for a period of 5 years (2005-2010), with leading architect Adrian Smith who also worked together with Marshall Strabala for the design of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

7. Sears Tower: long standing opulence in Chicago USA


Its actual name is Willis Tower, but it is commonly known as Sears Tower. It is 442 meters high and it has 108 levels. Sears was completed in 1974, at the time being the tallest building in the World. Still holding the 7th place in the world after 30+ years of developments in technology is quite a respectable record.

8. Guangzhou West Tower – China


It is 438 meters high, and it has 103 stories. Construction started in 2005, and it was opened for use in 2010. The building has 4 underground floors, additional to the 103 from the ground up. Leading architect was Wilkinson Eyre who also designed the wonderful Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Newcastle.

9. Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago)


The magnate’s signatures can also be seen in Honolulu, Toronto, New Orleans and Dubai, but the one in Chicago is the tallest, at 423 meters in height. It has 98 floors, and it was completed in 2009. The building comprises mainly of hotels, restaurants, condominiums and other commercial spaces.

Its total cost for completion was $847 millions. However, the building does not feature any five star hotel, restaurant, or spas (according to Forbes Travel Guide of 2010).

10. Jin Mao Tower – one of China’s prides in terms of architecture


Jin Mao tower in Pudong district of Shanghai is currently the 10th tallest building in the world. It is 421 meters high, with 88 floors, and construction finished in 1999. Leading architect for the project is famous Adrian Smith and the then company he worked at (SOM- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill).

11. Two International Finance Center


Located in the Center district of Hong Kong, the building is 417 meters high and it has 88 floors. It has been constructed between 1997 and 2003, and its main uses are office and retail. It is also equipped with double deck elevators for even more transportation efficiency inside the building.

12. Kuwait City’s Skyscraper – Al Hamra Tower


This tower is located in Kuwait and is 412 meters high. It has 77 floors, and was completed in 2010. The architectural firm that designed it, is reputable Skidmore, Owings and Merill (SOM) who together with Adrian Smith have also designed Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It is a commercial complex comprising of office buildings, shopping malls, theatres, and spas.

13. CITIC Plaza- China


The building is located in Guangzhou area in China. It is 391 meters tall, and it has 80 floors. CITIC Plaza is actually the tallest building in the world made of concrete (all the others make use of lightweight building materials, which is required for such tall structure buildings). Built between 1993 and 1996, it opened for public in 1997.

14. Shun Hing Square- the tallest building of Shenzen, China


It is 384 meters tall, with 69 floors, and the structure was completed in 1996. The structure is destined for mixed use, both commercial and residential featuring very nice apartments. However, the title of tallest building in Shenzen will be retained only for a few months more, since Kingkey Finance Tower is under construction currently in the neighborhood (will be 439 meters tall).

15. Empire State Building – New York’s Skyscraper


381 meters high, with 102 stories, and finished over 8 decades ago, in 1931. It has been the world’s tallest building for well over 40 years, up until 1972 when the WTC Northern Tower was built up.

Currently undergoing renovations with an estimate of almost $600 million, the Empire State Building is still the most beautiful landmark of New York built in Art Deco style. Main architects working at the project: Shreve, Lamb and Harmon.

16. The twin complex of Dubai – Emirates Park Tower 1 and 2


This is a complex in Dubai, with a postmodern architectural style, with each tower being 370 meters tall and having 70 floors above ground (and seven underground levels). The South tower opens in 2011, but the North tower will open only in 2013.

The towers are part of the Mariott International hotels, and both towers will have around 1,600 rooms. When it will be finished completely, it will become the world’s highest hotel (title currently held by the Rose Tower, Dubai).

17. Central Plaza Hong Kong


Central Plaza Hong Kong it is 374 meters tall and it has 78 floors, and it is actually the third tallest free standing building of the city. Constructed between 1989 and 1992, it has been opened for public in 1995. Among a few interesting features, the skyscraper has a huge neon clock installed on the roof top, at every quarter of the hour displaying different colors, and within the building one can find the world’s highest situated church (Sky City Church).

18. Bank of China Tower


Located in Hong Kong, this skyscraper is 367 meters high, has 70 floors, and construction has been finished in 1990. The building has a very special design, the tall structure actually resembles the bamboo shoots that are growing- and this symbolically stands for prosperity and constant renewal in the Feng Shui tradition.

19. Bank of America Tower


Situated in New York City, this skyscraper is 366 meters high and has 54 floors. It was constructed between 204 and 2009 and cost was $1 billion. The structure is actually one of the most eco friendly structures in the world with floor to ceiling glass structures and a system that collects rain water and recycles it for reuse within the building.

20. Almas Tower – Dubai


Built between 2005 and 2009, at 363 meters tall this skyscraper has 70 floors above the ground and 5 underground floors. The building is mostly commercial in profile with office spaces and other commercial spots.

A super high standard security level is implemented here, since foreign exchange, precious gem industry (diamond cutting and pearl exchange) and many other financial transactions are very frequent here. “Alma” in Arabic actually means “Diamond”, hence the naming of the tower.

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