Future TallestNo sooner has the global economy steadied itself a little than new skyscrapers are shooting out of the ground all over the world and reaching dizzying heights that would have seemed unimaginable only a few years ago. A simple comparison illustrates the point: the average height of the ten tallest skyscrapers currently under construction is a whopping 114 meters more than that of the ten tallest completed in the last decade.

Seven of the ten giants are rising in China, where the desire to achieve architectural superlatives is clearly undimmed. The leader among the skyscrapers of the future, Kingdom Tower, is however to be found in Saudi Arabia. Construction work on this colossus among buildings, which is set to become the first to break the magic 1,000-meter mark, began in March this year and is due to be completed in 2018. The skyscraper will then tower over even the world’s current tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

At 636 meters, the Wuhan Greenland Center is third in the list of the world-beaters of the future, closely followed by Shanghai Tower, which is only 4 meters shorter. Having recently reached its full height of 632 meters, the latter is already celebrated as China’s tallest building; when finally completed next year, its 121 floors will house office space and a luxury hotel.

In the Americas, there is only one skyscraper under construction able to even partly compete with the giants from the Far and Middle East, and that is the 541 meter tall One World Trade Center in New York, due to be completed this year. Even now back in seventh place on the under-construction list, in a few years’ time the one-time world-leading skyscraper power U.S.A. will no longer have even a single entry among the Top Ten tallest buildings in the world.

A source of particular excitement in recent weeks was the Chinese skyscraper project Sky City, located in Changsha. At 838 meters in height, the tower is projected to be 10 meters taller than Burj Khalifa. A construction time of ten months would also make it the fastest-built skyscraper in the world. Whether the ambitious mega-project will truly see the light of day in 2014 as planned, is currently debatable. According to media reports, construction work was halted only a few days after the foundation stone was laid.

1. Kingdom Tower

Architect: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP
Height: 1,000 m
At 1,000 meters, Kingdom Tower would be the world’s tallest building on completion and would outstrip the current champion, Burj Khalifa, by 72 meters. The tower was originally projected to be 1,600 meters (one mile) tall, which is why it was also known as the “Mile High Tower”.

Kingdom Tower Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Kingdom Tower  Image credit: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture


2. Ping An International Finance Center

Architects: Kohn Pederson Fox Associates; China Construction Design International
Height: 660 m
On completion, the Ping An International Finance Center will be China’s tallest building and the world’s second-tallest. The highest of its 115 floors is set to be located at a height of 555 meters.

Ping An International Finance Center _ Yann Le Berre

Ping An International Finance Center  Image credit: Yann Le Berre


3. Wuhan Greenland Center

Architect: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP
Height: 636 m
The Wuhan Greenland Center is part of a complex of the same name in Wuhan, China. On completion, the tower will be the third-tallest in the world at 636 meters and will have 125 stories.

Wuhan Greenland Center

Wuhan Greenland Center  Image credit: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture


4. Shanghai Tower

Architect: Gensler
Height: 632 m
Since reaching its final height of 632 meters, Shanghai Tower towers over its skyscraper neighbours Jin Mao Tower (421 m) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (492 m). Construction work is due to be completed in 2014. The building will then house office space and a luxury hotel over 121 floors.

Shanghai Tower  David Astorga

Shanghai Tower  Image credit: David Astorga


5. Goldin Finance 117

Architect: P & T Architects & Engineers Limited
Height: 597 m
Goldin Finance 117 was named for the number of stories it comprises. Offices will be located on the lower floors of the building, while floors 93 to 117 will house a six-star hotel.

Goldin Finance 117  P & T Group

Goldin Finance 117  Image credit: P & T Group


6. Lotte World Tower

Architect: Kohn Pederson Fox Associates; Baum Architects, Engineers & Consultants
Height: 556 m
Lotte Group is the owner and developer of Lotte World Tower. On completion, it will be the tallest building in Seoul. The project was on hold for several years, among other reasons because it was initially located too close to the airport.

Lotte World Tower Doka

Lotte World Tower  Image credit: Doka


7. One World Trade Center

Architect: SOM
Height: 541 m
The 541-meter tall skyscraper is being constructed on the site of the former World Trade Center. It will occupy the position of the former Six World Trade Center. The building was initially to have been called “Freedom Tower”, but was officially renamed One World Trade Center by the Port Authority in 2009.

One World Trade Center Tectonic Photo

One World Trade Center  Image credit: Tectonic Photo


8. Chow Tai Fook Centre

Architects: Kohn Pederson Fox Associates; DLN Architects & Engineers; Guangzhou Design Institute
Height: 530 m
The building is being built on the Pearl River in Guangzhou’s Tianhe district, close to the Guangzhou International Finance Center, currently the city’s tallest building at 438 meters. The facade will mainly consist of terra-cotta, a material that has a very long tradition in China.

Chow Tai Fook Center Trevor Patt

Chow Tai Fook Center  Image credit: Trevor Patt


9. CTF Tianjin Tower

Architect: SOM
Height: 530 m
The foundation stone for the building was laid on May 12, 2012. The tower will have a gross floor area of 389,980 m². The wavy building will house 300 apartments and a five-star hotel behind a glass facade.

CTF Tianjin Tower SOM

CTF Tianjin Tower  Image credit: SOM


10. Zhongguo Zun

Architects: Kohn Pederson Fox, Associates; TFP Farrells Limited
Height: 528 m
On completion in 2016, the skyscraper is projected to have 108 stories and reach a height of 528 meters. This would make it the tallest building in Beijing. The skyscraper is also referred to as “China Zun” since it is shaped like a “zun”, an ancient Chinese wine vessel.

Zhongguo Zun James O'Claire

Zhongguo Zun  Image credit: James O’Claire

Source: Emporis