The Shard. The tallest building in Britain, the tallest building in the European Union and a modern icon of Britain and London, where it stands towering over the city, and yet, at 306 metres (1004 feet) high, it doesn’t even come close to our top 10 of the tallest skyscrapers in the world so who are the challengers for such an accolade and what is number 1? We count down and have a look at these impressive feats of engineering.
10. International Commerce Centre
Location: Hong Kong
Height: 484 meters / 1,588 feet
This 108 story skyscraper was intended to be the tallest building on the planet but due to local planning and restrictions it had to be scaled down. Still coming in at an impressive No.10, it does have the world’s largest light and sound display on a singular building as it takes up 50,000 square metres and is shown twice a night. With a hotel, shopping mall and a five star restaurant included inside, the building is still an mighty feat and was completed in 2010.
9. Shanghai World Financial Center
Location: Shanghai, China
Height: 492 meters / 1,614.2 feet
Resembling something of a giant bottle opener, this building has offices, hotels and conference rooms along with an observation deck and gift shop where you can buy an actual functioning replica bottle opener. Finished in 2007, it has become iconic due to its hole at the top and has 101 floors dedicated to finance and trade. Designed by American architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, it was named the best skyscraper of the year it was completed.
8. Taipei 101
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Height: 509.2 meters / 1,671 feet
Fusing ancient Asian traditon and modern design and technology, Taipei 101, perhaps unsurprisingly, has 101 floors and was the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010. Now it has fallen a way down the list, it still remains the largest green building in the world with several energy efficient initatives in place. Taking inspiration from pagodas and designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, it embodies a sheng fui philosophy and the bright yellow gleam at its top is seen as a welcoming torch that also symbolizes liberty.
7. CTF Finance Centre
Location: Guangzhou, China
Height: 530 meters / 1,740 feet
111 floors of conference centres, shoppingmalls and offices, this building has a second level bridge to connect to adjacent buildings. The second of Guangzhou’s two towers, it opened in 2016 opposite the West tower that opened 6 years earlier. With residential suites inside and public transport connections running underneath the building, it is an incredibly busy hub and the second Chinese building on our list.
6. One World Trade Center
Location: New York City, USA
Height: 541 meter / 1,776 feet
After the devestation of 9/11, the area of the former twin towers world trade centers was redesigned as a statement of both rebirth and survival. Now incorporating extensive fireproofing and life safety systems as well as renewable energy sources such as reuse of rain water, it also includes a transportation hub and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
5. Lotte World Tower
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Height: 555 meters / 1,821 feet
Finsihed in March 2016, the building still remains unopen to the public but when it does throw open its doors, it will have 123 floors of retail outlets, residences, office space and a hotel. It took 13 years of planning and preparation for this building to be topped off but now it stands high above the original Lotte complex that was built in 1989 and features a theme park.
4. Ping An International Finance Centre
Location: Shenzen, China
Height: 599 metres / 1,821 feet
Not quite finished yet but topped off in 2015, the building was, at the time, the second largest tower in China and the fourth in the World. It remains the second in its homeland but had to drop its 60 metre antannae as there was a fear it would obstruct flight paths. Home of the Ping An insurance company, it also has hotel rooms, office spaces and retail spaces within its 115 floors.
3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel
Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Height: 601 meters / 1,972 feet
Overlooking the world’s largest mosque and, arguably, Islam’s most religous place, Masjid al-Haram, the hotel was part of the Saudi Arabian government’s attempts to modernize the city and contains residential apartments, hotel rooms, a conference center, a large prayer room, a five-story shopping mall, a museum, and a Lunar Observation Center to see the moon during the Holy Months. The building may only be the 3rd tallest in the world but the clock face set in its front is the largest on the planet and was designed by German architect Mahmoud Bodo Rasch.
2. Shanghai Tower
Location: Shanghai, China
Height: 632 meters / 2,073 ft
The tallest of China’s skyscrapers and coming in as world No. 2, this building consists of nine cylinders stacked on top of one another and didn’t open to the public until 2016. With 320 hotel rooms as well as retail spaces, restaurants, cafés and gardens it is a massive complex that offers up amazing panoramic views of the city as well as the Yangtze river below.
1. Burj Khalifa
Location: Dubai, UAE
Height: 829.8 m / 2,722 ft
Completed in 2010, the world’s tallest building includes seven acres of parkland with a man made lake and 163 floors filled with shopping centers, nine hotels and 19 residential towers. All in all an impressive feat and even more so considering it is in the middle of the desert in an attempt to move the country away from an oil based economy and more towards a service orientated one. Nearly 200 metres above its nearest challenger, this building is a statement of intent from the UAE government about the size and scope of ther project and wanting to be the best in the world.