Since the beginning of history, humans have strived to reach the skies. Living in tall buildings was associated with being at the top of the social hierarchy.
Even in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, the belief was that “the higher, the better.”
When you look up at one of those iconic landmark towers, you can’t help but be amazed by their grandeur!
The craze for tall towers began with the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the late 90s and continues to this day.
You may have heard of some of the tallest completed buildings on this list, such as the Burj Khalifa, but others may surprise you.
Discover these skyscrapers and their unique features.
These spectacular and towering structures are a testament to how far civil engineering techniques have advanced.
According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, here is a list of the top 10 tallest buildings in the world in 2023:
10. CITIC Tower – 528 m (1,732 ft) – Beijing, China
CITIC Tower (China Zun) is a supertall skyscraper in the Central Business District of Beijing, China.
The 109-story, 528-meter (1,732-foot) building is the tallest in Beijing and the 10th tallest building in the world.
It was completed in 2018 and is now open to visitors. The tower is named after the zun, a ritual vessel used in ancient China.
The building’s design is inspired by the zun’s vase-like shape. The tower’s width transforms vertically from its 78-meter (256-foot) wide base to its 54-meter (177-foot) wide “waist” to its 69-meter (226-foot) wide top.
CITIC Tower is a mixed-use building, with office space, luxury apartments, a shopping mall, restaurants, and a rooftop garden.
The tower is also home to a number of high-tech features, including a wind turbine system that generates electricity and a rainwater collection system that provides water for the building’s toilets.
CITIC Tower is a major landmark in Beijing and is a symbol of the city’s economic growth. The building is also a popular tourist destination and offers stunning views of the city.
Here are some additional facts about CITIC Tower:
- The building was designed by the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.
- The construction of CITIC Tower was a major undertaking, requiring the use of over 40,000 tons of steel and 1.3 million cubic meters of concrete.
- The tower is equipped with a number of safety features, including a fire suppression system and a backup power supply.
- CITIC Tower is LEED Gold certified, which means that it meets high standards of environmental sustainability.
8. Tianjin CTF Finance Centre – 530 m (1,740 ft) – Tianjin, China
Two structures together rank as the 8th-tallest structures in the world because of the same height. One is located in Guangzhou, China, and another one is in Tianjin. Both of them have an almost similar height of 530 meters or 1739 feet.
The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre is a supertall skyscraper located in the TEDA CBD of Binhai, Tianjin, China.
This skyscraper was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and Ronald Lu & Partners, and construction was started in 2013 and completed in 2019.
The tower’s total height is 530 meters, with 97 floors above ground and 4 floors underground. Its total cost is 8 billion yuan (US $1.2 billion).
The building’s design is inspired by the Chinese character for “wealth”. The tower’s exterior is made of glass and steel, and it is topped with a spire.
The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre is a mixed-use building, with office space, retail space, a hotel, and a convention center.
The building also has several amenities, including a sky garden, a swimming pool, and a fitness center.
The Tianjin CTF Finance Centre is made up of four basement levels and five podium levels, topped by a 103-story tower.
The tower houses offices, 300 service apartments, and a five-star, 350-room hotel.
- It is located in the outer district of the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area.
- The building was honored with the Tall/Slender Structure award at the 2021 Awards Ceremony by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE).
- The building is a major tourist attraction in Tianjin and offers stunning views of the city.
- The structure refracts sunlight that displays various hues throughout the day, and the top of the inclined tower will gleam like a diamond at night.
8. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre – 530 m (1,740 ft) – Guangzhou, China
Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, also known as the East Tower, is a 530-meter-tall mixed-use skyscraper located in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
The skyscraper has 111 above-ground and 5 below-ground floors and houses a shopping mall, offices, apartments, and a hotel.
It is a model of sustainable, high-density, center-city architecture with a gross floor area of 507,681.0 m2 (5,464,633 sq ft).
The tower features a facade made of glass and self-cleaning & corrosion-resistant glazed terracotta and metal.
The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is supported by a square core with sides of 32 m (105 ft) and eight concrete mega columns on the sides, linked by outriggers and belt trusses located exclusively on mechanical and refuge floors.
Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and the Guangzhou Design Institute, with Leigh & Orange as architects of record, the skyscraper showcases a remarkable design and engineering feat.
The tower is part of the Guangzhou Twin Towers, with the other tower known as the Guangzhou International Finance Center or “West Tower.” The two towers are connected through an axis, with the Guangzhou CTF Centre serving as the “East Tower.”
It boasts one of the world’s highest observation decks on the 111th floor, providing breathtaking city views.
With its impressive height, stunning architecture, and diverse range of amenities, it has become a major tourist attraction in the city, offering visitors a glimpse of modern and dynamic Guangzhou.
- The building is so tall that it can be seen from over 50 kilometers away.
- The building has a total floor area of over 2 million square meters.
- The building’s spire is made of glass and weighs over 1,000 tons.
- The building has a number of safety features, including a fire suppression system and a backup power supply.
- The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre is a symbol of Guangzhou’s economic growth and ambition.
7. One World Trade Center – 541.3 m (1,776 ft) – New York City, United States
One World Trade Center (One WTC), also called Freedom Tower, is a skyscraper in New York City that is the centerpiece of reconstruction at Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center complex.
It stands at an overall height of 1,776 feet (540 meters), symbolizing the year the Declaration of Independence was approved, which makes it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, surpassing Chicago’s Willis Tower.
David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP designed One World Trade Center.
Construction began on April 27, 2006, and the building was completed on May 30, 2011. The official opening ceremony took place on November 10, 2014.
One World Trade Center is a mixed-use building that houses office space, retail shops, a transportation hub, and an observation deck.
The observation deck, located on floors 100-102, offers stunning views of New York City and beyond.
The building has been praised for its innovative design and resilience.
It is a symbol of hope and renewal for New York City and the United States.
The building officially opened its doors in 2014, marking the culmination of a long and painful chapter in New York City’s history. This was following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
- The building has 104 floors.
- It has 2,864 windows.
- It has 97 passenger elevators.
- It has a total floor area of 3 million square feet.
- It cost $3.9 billion to build.
6. Lotte World Tower – 555 m (1,819 ft) – Seoul, South Korea
Lotte World Tower is a multi-facility supertall skyscraper located in Seoul, South Korea.
It completed its construction in 2016 and stands 1,819 ft tall.
There’s even more to the building as six of its 123 floors are underground, which you can’t see at first.
Lotte World Tower includes retail stores, offices, apartments, a luxurious 7-star hotel, and an observation deck that took 13 years to schedule before placing it in operation.
There are also restaurants, cafes, and photo areas for visitors who want to view the view.
The tower is built in an innovative architectural design to resist earthquakes on the Richter scale of up to 9 magnitudes.
- The tower has a total floor area of 265,000 square meters (2,870,000 square feet).
- It has 39 passenger elevators and 2 service elevators.
- The tower cost $3.6 billion to build.
- It is the first building in the world to have a double-skin façade, which helps to reduce energy consumption.
- The tower is home to the world’s highest wine cellar, located on the 118th floor.
5. Ping An Finance Center – 599 m (1,965 ft) – Shenzhen, China
The Ping An International Finance Centre is 1,965 feet (0.6 km) high in Shenzhen, China.
The main contractor, CSCEC, completed the construction in 2017;
There is a conference center, a hotel, and several high-end retail areas at the Ping An International Finance Centre.
It’s also in line with its namesake’s headquarters, Ping An Insurance.
There are 33 fast double Decker elevators to move around its 115 floors.
American architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates provided architectural design, and Thornton Tomasetti handled structural design.
Originally, building designs called for antennas. But designers eventually called this plan off because of flight interference concerns.
This building has one of the world’s two highest observation platforms, 562 meters high, for those who enjoy observing from heights.
- The PAFC has a total floor area of 467,000 square meters (5,030,000 square feet).
- It has 78 passenger elevators and 2 service elevators.
- The PAFC cost $2.4 billion to build.
- It is the first building in the world to use a hybrid cooling system, which helps to reduce energy consumption.
- The PAFC is home to the world’s highest wind turbine, located on the 89th floor.
4. Abraj Al Bait Clock Tower – 601 m (1,971 ft) – Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The Abraj Al Bait, also known as the Clock Towers, is a complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The central hotel tower, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, is the fourth-tallest building and sixth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.
At 43 × 43, these are the largest in the world. The clock’s roof is 1988 ft (606 m) above the ground, making it the world’s most elevated & largest architectural clock.
The complex comprises seven towers—a 95-story central tower surrounded by six towers rising between 42 and 48 stories high.
The highest habitable floor is at 1,530 ft (466 m).
The Abraj Al Bait Clock Tower is part of a larger development project that includes a shopping mall, a hotel, and an Islamic museum.
The project was designed to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims who visit Mecca each year.
The tower is also a popular tourist destination and offers stunning views of the city and the Kaaba.
Much of the space is devoted to luxury hotels to accommodate increasing numbers of visitors to Mecca.
- The tower is made up of seven towers, the tallest of which is 601 meters tall.
- The tower has 120 floors, including 16 floors of hotel rooms, 95 floors of apartments, and 19 floors of parking.
- The tower’s clock faces are the largest in the world, each measuring 43 meters in diameter.
- The clock is illuminated by 2 million LED lights, and it can be seen from 25 kilometers away.
- The tower is a popular tourist destination, and it offers stunning views of the city and the Kaaba.
3. Shanghai Tower – 632 m (2,073 ft) – Shanghai, China
The Shanghai Tower is a mega-tall skyscraper located in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. It is the tallest building in China and the third-tallest in the world which cost around ¥15.9 billion RMB to build.
The building has 128 above-ground and 5 below-ground floors. It was completed in 2014 and opened to the public in 2015.
Shanghai Tower’s unique design is inspired by the Chinese bamboo shoot, a symbol of strength and resilience.
The tower’s spiraling form design helps to reduce wind resistance, making it more structurally sound and stable.
This mixed-use building includes offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks (offering panoramic views of Shanghai city), and high-end retail spaces.
The tower is designed to be a self-contained, livable community with resource-efficiency features such as a double-layered insulated glass façade and rainwater recycling.
The Tower is located in the center of a cluster of other tall buildings, including the Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower.
- The tower’s construction required the use of 2.3 million cubic meters of concrete and 45,000 tons of steel.
- The Shanghai Tower has three Guinness World Records, including the world’s fastest elevator, the tallest elevator in a building, and the fastest double-deck elevator. The tower’s elevator can travel at a speed of 20 meters per second (65 ft/s).
- The tower’s observation deck is the highest in the world, at 561.25 meters (1,841 feet) above ground level.
- Shanghai Tower is LEED Platinum certified, which means that it meets the highest standards of sustainability.
2. Merdeka 118 – 680 m (2,231 ft) – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Merdeka 118, formerly known as Warisan Merdeka Tower, KL 118, and PNB 118, is a 118-story mega-tall skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It is the second-tallest structure and the second-tallest building in the world, behind the Burj Khalifa at 828 m (2,717 ft).
The tower’s name, Merdeka (which means “independence”), is inspired by its proximity to Stadium Merdeka, a historical landmark in Kuala Lumpur where Malaysia declared independence in 1957.
Merdeka 118’s design was inspired by the Malaysian rainforest, with its spiraling form and green facade. The tower’s construction required 2.4 million cubic meters of concrete and 55,000 tons of steel.
Merdeka 118 is a mixed-use building with a shopping complex, offices, residential properties, a hotel, observation decks, and a park. The tower is designed to be a landmark and financial icon in the center of Malaysia’s financial center.
- The tower’s spire is 160.4 meters (526 ft) tall, making it the tallest spire in the world.
- The tower’s elevators can travel at speeds of up to 20.5 meters per second (74 kilometers per hour), making them the fastest elevators in Southeast Asia.
- The tower’s observation deck is the third-highest in the world, at 671.0 meters (2,201 feet) above ground level.
- Merdeka 118 is LEED Platinum certified, which means that it meets the highest standards of sustainability.
1. Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates – 2,717 Feet
Burj Khalifa is an 828-meter-tall (2,717 ft) and is the world’s tallest building 2023 located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The building was completed in 2009 and officially opened on January 4, 2010. It was designed by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Adrian Smith served as architect and William F. Baker served as structural engineer.
Burj Khalifa’s height was kept secret before 2010 to prevent it from being surpassed by potential competitors.
The Burj Khalifa’s design was inspired by the desert flower, Hymenocallis, and its spiraling form reduces wind resistance. The building’s exterior is made of glass and steel, and it has 163 floors.
The Burj Khalifa’s construction (by Samsung C&T Corporation) was a major undertaking, and it required over 22 million cubic feet of concrete and 55,000 tons of steel.
The tower has a reinforced concrete mat nearly 13 feet thick at the foundational level, supported by concrete piles 5 feet in diameter.
A three-story podium anchors the tower in place, and the podium and two-story basement alone measure around 2,000,000 square feet.
The Burj Khalifa is a mixed-use building that includes residential, commercial, and hospitality ventures. The tower is designed to be the centerpiece of large-scale, mixed-use development and represents the region’s recent prosperity and urban growth.
The building’s elevators can travel at speeds of up to 16.0 meters per second (52.8 kilometers per hour), making them the fastest in the world.
Burj Khalifa has broken two other impressive records: the tallest structure and the tallest free-standing structure. The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has established three criteria to determine what makes a tall building tall, and Burj Khalifa wins by far in all three categories.
- The Burj Khalifa is so tall that it has its own weather system.
- The Burj Khalifa’s shadow can be seen from 100 kilometers away.
- The Burj Khalifa’s construction created enough waste to fill 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- The Burj Khalifa’s elevators travel the equivalent of 10 times around the world every day.
On the north side of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Tower, formerly known as the Kingdom Tower, is a skyscraper on hold.
They plan it to be the first 1 km high building in the world and will surpass Burj-Khalifa as the tallest skyscraper in the world but currently; it is in the development phase.
At the same time, there is the Dubai creek tower (1300m+ height), which will be the tallest tower in the world in the future.
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