World’s Tallest Buildings and Other Interesting Facts
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Opened in 2010 as the central figure of the new Downtown Dubai. The structure is built in a spiral step design to emulate the tall minarets in traditional Islamic architecture. The Burj Khalifa was constructed using half the amount of steel used to build the empire state building. The air conditioning system pulls air from the top floors (which are naturally cooler due to higher elevation) and circulates it throughout the building. Home of the world’s highest observation deck, nightclub, and restaurant.
2. Shanghai Tower Shanghai, China (2,073 ft).
Designed by Gensler & Associates
Part of a three-building series, which also includes tallest building #7. The Tower consists of nine buildings entirely encompassed by a twisting glass exterior. The building is actually incredibly eco-friendly; it is topped with energy-generating wind turbines, and the glass casing both decreases wind load and acts as insulation to reduce the need for heating and air conditioning. When needed, the heating and cooling systems draw from geothermal energy. Home of the world’s fastest elevators.
Designed by Sinan for the Saudi Binladin Group
The Abraj Al-Bait Tower was designed as a modern accommodation site for pilgrims, boasting the world’s largest prayer room and located across the street from the Kaaba. The building came with some controversy, as its erection prompted the demolotion of the Ajyad Fortress which was built in the 1700s to protect the Kaaba. Home of the world’s largest clock.
4. One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) New York City, USA (1,776 ft).
Designed by Daniel Libeskind
The design for the One World Trade Center was selected during the course of a competition. It then underwent four major overhauls; it stands today, looking nothing like the original design. After the original World Trade Center was attacked, the new tower was built to resist similar stress. It incorporates a reinforced concrete base, pressurized stairwells and a specially filtered ventilation system which limits the amount of smoke and ash inhaled by firefighters and rescue workers. The building was constructed using recycled materials. It also utilizes a rainwater collection system, an auto-detect lighting system that works in accordance with natural sunlight, and off-set hydroelectric and wind power.
Designed by C.Y. Lee and Partners
Taipei 101 was designed with strength and flexibility to withstand typhoons and earthquakes that are frequent on the Pacific Rim. The building utilizes a curtain of glazed glass, which offers heat and UV protection. The design is very uniquely Asian; it incorporates a complex building system based upon lucky numbers in Chinese numerology and the sloping steps often seen in pagodas.
6. Shanghai World Financial Center Shanghai, China (1,614 ft).
Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates
Inspired by a Chinese moon gate, the original design featured a round cut-out and was supposed to reduce wind pressure, but many protested its resemblance to the Japanese flag. The redesigned building now has a distinctive trapezoidal shape that many say resembles a bottle opener.
7. International Commerce Center Hong Kong, China (1,588).
Designed by Kohn Fox Pederson Associates
The original design for the ICC had to be scaled due to local regulations that dictate that buildings must not be taller than the surrounding mountains. Home of the world’s highest swimming pool and bar.
8/ 9. Petronas Towers Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1,483 ft each).
Designed by Cesar Pelli
The Petronas Towers are built on soft rock, which is especially interesting because the structure is comprised mostly of reinforced concrete (making it much heavier than the tubular steel structures seen on this list). Because of that, it uses the world’s deepest foundation, with beams going almost 400 feet down into the rock. The buildings themselves were inspired by geometric motifs found in Islamic art. The city of Kuala Lumpur gave the project a six-year maximum, so the towers were built simultaneously with two different construction agencies.
Designed by Skidmore, Owens & Merrill LLP
The building actually consists of two tower structures. The shape and placement of the building is supposed to reflect the geometry of it’s surroundings. The shape emulates the urban city streets while the east-west corridors parallel historical buildings nearby.