The world is a beautiful place in more ways than one. Mother Nature isn’t the only one contributing to that beauty. Among the thousands of ordinary brick-and-mortar buildings making up the bulk of the urban landscape, skyscrapers are architectural and engineering marvels that rise hundreds of meters into the air, overlooking all others. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is the official body that determines which buildings fall into the “The World’s Tallest Buildings” category. It ranks the height of buildings based on the height to the architectural top of the building, highest occupied floor, top of the roof or the tip of the building.

Let us look at what the CTBUH says are the world’s tallest buildings as of now.
NO. 1 – TAIPEI 101, TAIPEI, TAIWAN – 1671 ft (509 m) 101 Floors

taipei 101 taipei taiwan  1671 ft 509 m 101 floors
Taipei 101 became the world’s tallest building to be constructed in the new millennium and the first to cross the half-kilometer mark. The construction cost was $1.76 billion and it was completed in 2004. This multi-use steel-and-glass skyscraper was designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners and has 61 elevators. It reflects the traditional Chinese pagoda, with a soaring podium base, eight tiers of eight stories (eight is considered a number representing prosperous growth in China), narrow pinnacle tower, and a spire. The building has an 18 ft, 882-ton ball-shaped damper at the top that counteracts swaying motions during typhoons and earthquakes. Although CTBUH only takes into consideration the floors above ground level, there are 5 floors underground too. The number “101” represents not only the number of floors, but also the mailing code of Taipei’s international business district. It was hailed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World by Newsweek magazine in 2006 and as one of the Seven Wonders of Engineering by The Discovery Channel in 2005.
NO. 2 – SHANGHAI WORLD FINANCIAL CENTER – 1614 ft (492 m) 101 Floors

shanghai world financial center  1614 ft 492 m 101 floors
This super-tall skyscraper in Shanghai dominates the skyline over East China and is destined to become a symbolic icon, giving the city a new status and depicts the arrival of a new era in Asia. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and officially opened its doors to the public on August 28, 2008. It is a mixed-use building with excellent urban shopping malls at the base, a 174-room luxurious five-star hotel at the top and sixty-two floors filled with offices. There are three observation decks between the 94th and the 100th levels. It has a total of 31 elevators and the construction cost was US $1.2 billion. The most remarkable feature of this majestic building is the aperture at the top of the building. It is the 2nd tallest building in the world.

NOs 3 & 4 – PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS – 1483 ft (452 m) 88 Floors

petronas twin towers  1483 ft 452 m 88 floorsThe beautiful world-famous Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were constructed in 1998. The name sounds as romantic as they look together, standing side by side. These elegantly slender towers once held the title of the world’s tallest buildings before being ousted from that position by Taipei 101.
Petronas Tower 1 is the 3rd tallest building in the world.
Petronas Tower 2 is the 4th tallest building in the world.
However, they still remain the tallest twin buildings in the world. They were designed by Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli and were built on Kuala Lumpur’s race track. The structure is made of high-strength concrete and has a curtain wall of glass and stainless steel sun shades that help diffuse the intensity of light. The major feature of the towers is the sky-bridge between the towers on the 41st and 42nd floors, which is the highest 2-story bridge in the world. Visitors are allowed on the Skyway. The sky-bridge is also meant to be used in case of a fire or for other emergencies.
NO. 5 – THE SEARS TOWER – 1451 ft (452 m) 108 Floors
the sears tower  1451 ft 452 m 108 floors
Located in Chicago, Illinois, The Sears Tower was constructed in 1974, and held the title of the world’s tallest building when it overtook the World Trade Center in New York. Although it is no longer the tallest building in the world, the Sears Tower is the 5th tallest and still has the world’s highest occupied floors, highest elevator ride and the highest roof deck. The top of the tower is the highest point in Illinois. It is said that four states can be seen from the top of the Sears Tower. This tower was designed by architect Bruce Graham and engineer Fazlur Khan in a “bundled tube” system with nine squares, sheathed in a dark tinted glass curtain wall. The building leans a few inches due to its asymmetrical design and this can be felt occasionally. The Sears Tower has a separate tourist entrance and attracts more than 1.5 million tourists each year.
NO. 6 – JIN MAO TOWER – 1380 ft (421 m) 88 Floors
jin mao tower  1380 ft 421 m 88 floors
The name of the landmark super-tall skyscraper, Jin Mao, literally means “Golden Prosperity Building.” Currently ranked the 6th tallest building in the world, it was designed by the Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and was constructed in 1999. It is located in the Lujiazui area of the Pudong district of Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. The architecture ingeniously combines elements of traditional Chinese culture with the modern architectural styles of the time, which makes it one of the most well-constructed buildings in China. The proportions of this structure revolve around the number 8, which according to Chinese belief signifies prosperity. It houses the very luxurious Shanghai Grand Hyatt hotel and several offices. The construction cost is estimated to be 530 million dollars. The tower has several exhibition halls, banquet halls, entertainment venues, and an observation deck on the 88th floor that can fit about 1000 tourists. The daily maintenance of this tower is reported to be an unbelievable US$121,000.
NO. 7 – TWO INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CENTER (IFC) – 1362 ft (415 m) 88 Floors

two international finance center ifc  1362 ft 415 m 88
Constructed in 2003, the IFC with its two skyscrapers overlooking the Victoria Harbor is a prominent landmark in Hong Kong, China. One International Finance Center is 38 stories high. The Two International Finance Center, which is the world’s 7th tallest building, has 88 stories and has been designed to house financial firms with advanced telecommunications, featuring raised floors for better cabling and floor plans that are almost without columns. About 15,000 people can be accommodated in this building. Although there are 88 stories, there are some floors that are considered to be taboo and which are not used, such as the 14th and 24th floors, as these numbers signify evil for the Chinese. The IFC mall has an array of famous retailers and several top jewelry retailers, health & skin care and fashion houses, restaurants, and a cinema. It is one of the few buildings in the world to be equipped with double-deck elevators.
NO. 8 – CITIC PLAZA – 1283 ft (391 m) 80 Floors

citic plaza  1283 ft 391 m 80 floors
The China International Trust and Investment Company (CITIC) Plaza, built in 1997, is located in Guangzhou, in the growing Tianhe District. It was the tallest building in the world when it was built and is currently the tallest concrete building in the world. It is ranked as the fourth tallest building in China, seventh in Asia and 8th in the world. This building is part of a complex which has two other 38-story residential buildings.
CITIC Plaza has two antennas on the top like spires. This elegant building is surrounded by several other tall buildings and gives an indication of the increasing prosperity of Guangzhou. It is close to the Tianhe Sports Center where part of the Asia games 2010 will be held.
NO. 9 – SHUN HING SQUARE – 1260 ft (382 m) 69 Floors

shun hing square  1260 ft 382 m 69 floors
The Shun Hing Square tower, built in 1996, is one of the world’s tallest buildings and occupies the 9th place currently. This brilliantly constructed building is in Shenzhen, China and is said to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
It has the distinction of being the tallest all-steel building in China and the fifth tallest building overall in China. An interesting tid bit about this building: it was built at an incredible speed of four floors in nine days. The spires on the top of the building add to the height and without them, it stands at 325 m tall.
Shun Hing Square is a complex that has an office tower and another 35-story building for residential, office, and retail purposes. The 69th floor has an observation deck called the Meridian View Center. Tourists will have to pay US$12 to go up to that observation deck.


NO. 10 – EMPIRE STATE BUILDING – 1250 ft (381 m) – 102 Floors


empire state building  1250 ft 381 m  102 floorsThe Empire State Building of New York, in the United Stats was built in 1931, and it is one of the oldest and most famous buildings in the world. There probably aren’t many people who have not heard of it. Now rated as the 10th tallest building, it was the world’s tallest building for forty-one years until the World Trade Center was constructed in the year 1972. After the unfortunate incident with the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in the State of New York.

It has also been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The beauty of the Empire State Building is highlighted by the beautiful lights at the top of the building. In fact, the view of the building at night is considered to be a tourist attraction all on its own.




burj dubai dubai the united arab emirates 167 stories


World’s tallest building. A living wonder. Stunning work of art. Incomparable feat of engineering. Burj Khalifa is all that. In concept and execution, Burj Khalifa has no peer.

More than just the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is an unprecedented example of international cooperation, symbolic beacon of progress, and an emblem of the new, dynamic and prosperous Middle East.

It is also tangible proof of Dubai’s growing role in a changing world. In fewer than 30 years, this city has transformed itself from a regional centre to a global one. This success was not based on oil reserves, but on reserves of human talent, ingenuity and initiative. Burj Khalifa embodies that vision.

Mr Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties, said: “Burj Khalifa goes beyond its imposing physical specifications. In Burj Khalifa, we see the triumph of Dubai’s vision of attaining the seemingly impossible and setting new benchmarks. It is a source of inspiration for every one of us in Emaar. The project is a declaration of the emirate’s capabilities and of the resolve of its leaders and people to work hand in hand on truly awe-inspiring projects.

Emaar had but one inspiration, the unflagging enthusiasm set in motion by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who inspires us to reach for the stars.

Bringing Burj Khalifa to life required a combination of visionary ideals and solid science. In the process, the project amassed an awe-inspiring number of facts, figures, and statistics.

World Records 

At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:

•  Tallest building in the world

•  Tallest free-standing structure in the world

•  Highest number of stories in the world

•  Highest occupied floor in the world

•  Highest outdoor observation deck in the world

•  Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world

•  Tallest service elevator in the world

Tallest of the Supertall

Not only is Burj Khalifa the world’s tallest building, it has also broken two other impressive records: tallest structure, previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, and tallest free-standing structure, previously held by Toronto’s CN Tower. The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has established 3 criteria to determine what makes a tall building tall. Burj Khalifa wins by far in all three categories.

Height to architectural top

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building. This includes spires, but does not include antennae, signage, flagpoles or other functional-technical equipment. This measurement is the most widely used and is used to define the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat rankings of the Tallest Buildings in the World.

Highest occupied floor

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest continually occupied floor within the building. Maintenance areas are not included.

Height to tip

Height is measured from the level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the highest point of the building, irrespective of material or function of the highest element. This includes antennae, flagpoles, signage and other functional-technical equipment.