Cities are getting taller. Skylines are growing as developers and architects push the limits, yet when it comes to height, the world is not advancing at an equal pace.
Data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat shows that of the eight tallest buildings currently under construction, six are taller than One World Trade Center and none of the contenders are in North America. From Saudi Arabia to China, these buildings are setting the standard for tomorrow’s skylines.
1. Jeddah Tower
Under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this tower was originally designed to reach a mile high, but Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was forced to settle for a kilometer after engineers found the surrounding geology could not support a building that tall. Still, the structure is planned to tower a gargantuan 3,281 feet and is scheduled for completion in 2020. Adrian Smith designed the tower, the same architect responsible for the Burj Khalifa, and as of this summer 46 floors stand completed and the central core is topped to floor 60. The building is planned to total 167 floors upon completion.
2. Wuhan Greenland Center
Expected to open in 2018, this super tall is currently under construction in Wuhan, China, and will eventually reach 2,087 feet. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the tower utilizes a curved profile to reduce wind resistance. The entire exterior will be covered in curved glass and is planned to top out at floor 125. In addition to being the tallest building in China, the Wuhan Greenland Center will also be one of the country’s most energy efficient towers.
3. Merdeka PNB118
This tower is under construction in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is expected to open sometime in 2021. It’s planned to measure 2,067 feet and was designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects, an Australian firm known for building skyscrapers in Melbourne. When complete it will rise 118 floors above Kuala Lumpur and stand 30 floors above its iconic neighbors, the Petronas Towers.
4. Rama IX Super Tower
Set to surpass the MahaNakhon as Thailand’s tallest building, the Rama IX Super Tower is scheduled for completion in 2021. The building will stand 2,018 feet above Bangkok and top out at floor 125. Architects 49 designed the tower according to LEED Platinum certification standards.
5. Goldin Finance 117
Located in Tianjin, China, construction began on Goldin Finance 117 in 2008 and the tower was originally scheduled for completion by 2014. Delays pushed opening day back to sometime in 2018, but it’s likely that deadline will be met seeing as the building has been structurally topped out for two years. A diamond-shaped observation deck sits atop the 128th floor, offering sweeping views of the city 1,957 feet above the streets.
6. Global Financial Center Tower 1
Dubbed the Pearl of the North, this skyscraper will stand 1,864 feet above Shenyeng, China, and is scheduled to open in 2019. Built in a high seismic zone, the tower’s corners become increasingly carved out at upper levels to make the structure more flexible and reduce strain on the floors below. A giant pearl sits atop the tower and will house an executive club.
7. Tianjin CTF Finance Centre
The second building from the Chinese city of Tianjin to make the list, this tower is expected to open in 2018 and will rise 1,739 feet above the city. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the tower to meet LEED Gold standards and created a smooth, bending facade to help the building withstand intense winds. The building is structurally topped out at floor 97.
8. China Zun Tower
Set to open in Beijing in 2018, the China Zun Tower is modeled after an ancient ceremonial wine vessel and will form the centerpiece of an extended portion of the city’s central business district. The tower is structurally topped out at 1,732 feet, making it the tallest building in Beijing, and was designed by architecture firm Farrells.