on April 12th, 2024

As our cities grow and change, there’s a constant fascination with pushing boundaries skyward. It’s a testament to our collective imagination and engineering brilliance. As the years pass by, we are witnessing some of the most remarkable feats (and tallest buildings) of architecture ever conceived.  

The history of architecture stretches back to the earliest days of human civilization, unfolding across countless centuries of creativity, innovation, and cultural progression.  

For instance, Göbekli Tepe, situated in southeastern Turkey, stands as a remarkable demonstration of ancient human ingenuity and spirituality. Its name, meaning “Belly Hill” in translation, hints at its location approximately 7.4 miles northeast of present-day Şanlıurfa. 

This archaeological site boasts the remnants of what is believed to be one of the oldest known religious structures ever discovered, constructed around 9600 BC – 8200 BC.  

Within its confines lie over 200 imposing pillars arranged in around 20 circles. Each towering pillar stands at about 20 feet tall and weighs an impressive seven tons or more. Remarkably, many of these pillars are adorned with intricate carvings depicting various animals and symbolic imagery, providing a glimpse into the beliefs and customs of the ancient people who built and revered this sacred site. 

Fast forward to the present time, where buildings defy traditionality and designs are futuristic. These man-made masterworks stand as symbols of modernity, innovation, and human achievement, showcasing the constantly changing field of urban architecture. 

Tallest Buildings: The Skyscraping Saga  

Burj Khalifa 

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai holds the title as the world’s tallest building, soaring to an impressive height of 828 meters. Designed by the skilled architects at the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill agency, it stands as a testament to modern engineering and architectural prowess. 

While the Burj Khalifa does feature residential apartments, corporate offices, and leisure facilities, including restaurants and observation decks, it is primarily known as an iconic landmark and architectural marvel rather than a hotel. 

The decision to construct the building was based on the government’s decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition. 

Built in 2010 with 163 floors, the Burj Khalifa offers panoramic views of the cityscape, showcasing the ambitious vision of its creators.  

The primary structure is reinforced concrete and some of the structural steel for the building originated from the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin, the former East German parliament. 

The Burj Khalifa uses the bundled tube design of the Willis Tower, invented by Structural Engineer and Architect, Fazlur Rahman Khan. Due to its tubular system, proportionally only half the amount of steel was used in the construction. 

the tallest buildings in  the world
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Moreover, in 2009 architects announced that more than 1,000 pieces of art would adorn the interiors of Burj Khalifa, while the residential lobby of the Burj Khalifa would display the work of Spanish Visual Artist and Sculptor, Jaume Plensa.  

As imagined, constructing such a monumental structure was a formidable task, requiring six years of meticulous planning and execution, along with a significant investment of $20 billion (AUD 30 billion). 

Despite the challenges, the Burj Khalifa stands as an iconic symbol of human achievement, captivating millions worldwide and leaving an indelible mark on Dubai’s skyline. 

“We in the UAE have no such word as impossible,” said Dubai’s Ruler and Emirati Politician, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  

Shanghai Tower 

Rising majestically in the heart of Shanghai, China, the Shanghai Tower commands attention with its sleek and futuristic design which was built in seven years.  

The Shanghai Tower in China

Standing at 632 meters, it is the tallest and largest LEED Platinum certified building in the world since 2015.  

The tower is nine cylindrical buildings stacked atop each other, totaling 128 floors, all enclosed by the inner layer of the glass facade.  

Between that and the outer layer, which twists as it rises, nine indoor zones provide public space for visitors. Each of these nine areas has its own atrium, featuring gardens, cafés, restaurants and retail stores. It also does not lack in providing panoramic views of the city. 

A fun fact about the Shanghai Tower is that it boasts the fastest elevators on the planet, reaching speeds of up to 18 meters per second.   

Its towering presence symbolizes China’s ascent as a global economic powerhouse.

Makkah Clock Royal Tower 

Situated in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower also known as the Abraj Al-Bait Towers, stands as a testament to Islamic architecture and engineering excellence.  

The building is a government-owned complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. These towers are a part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that aims to modernize the city in catering to its pilgrims. 

Built in 2021, its crowning jewel is a colossal clock visible from 25 kilometers, serving as a beacon for pilgrims and visitors.  

Moreover, the four clock faces are the largest in the world, surpassing the Cevahir Mall clock in Istanbul.  

Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Saudi Arabia

Rising proudly at a height of 601 meters, this magnificent structure exemplifies the marriage of tradition and modernity. The building complex is 300 meters away from the world’s largest mosque and Islam’s most sacred site, the Great Mosque of Mecca. 

This masterpiece took nine years to build.  

Ping An International Finance Center 

Ping An International Finance Centre in China

Dominating the skyline of Shenzhen, China, the Ping An International Finance Center stands tall at 599 meters.  

Designed by the esteemed Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), it holds the distinction of being the world’s tallest office building, embodying China’s economic vitality and global influence. The building also contains hotel and retail spaces, a conference center, and a high-end shopping mall. 

In seven years, The Ping An International Finance Center was built like a stone and glass tower. The structure’s stone supports, rendered as chevron-shaped columns, converge at the tower’s height and mediate the tension of the earth to a single point in the sky. 

Its imposing silhouette reflects the relentless pursuit of excellence in the realm of architecture and commerce.  

Goldin Finance 117 

Located in Tianjin, China, the Goldin Finance 117, also known as the China 117 Tower, captivates passersby with its distinctive diamond-shaped architecture and soaring height of 597 meters.  

It serves as a multifunctional space, housing offices and luxurious accommodations.  

Its avant-garde design is a testament to human creativity and innovation, redefining the cityscape of Tianjin with its striking presence. 

However, as of March 2024, the building remains incomplete and devoid of occupants.  

The unfinished Goldin Finance 117

The project’s contractor, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, has withdrawn all on-site workers, leaving the structure unfinished. Currently certified by Guinness World Records as the World’s Tallest Unoccupied Building. 

Lotte World Tower 

Lotte World Tower in South Korea

Envisioned as a symbol of South Korea’s aspirations and achievements, the Lotte World Tower graces the horizon of Seoul with its elegant design and height of 554 meters.  

After 13 years of planning and site preparation, the tower gained final approval to start construction by the government in November 2010 and the first groundbreaking activities of piling and frame assembly were observed at the construction site in March 2012. 

About 3,000 tons of steel parts, a high-precision 64 ton tower crane and GPS alignment systems, and welding technicians were used in the construction of the roof. 

Also designed by KPF, it stands as a beacon of progress and prosperity, showcasing South Korea’s emergence as a dominant force in technology and culture. 

One World Trade Center 

Rising from the hallowed grounds of Ground Zero in New York City, the One World Trade Center, formerly called the Freedom Tower, stands as a testament to resilience and remembrance.  

At a height of 541 meters, it serves as a poignant reminder of the events of 11 September 2001, while also symbolizing the triumph of hope over adversity. Its iconic silhouette pays homage to the past while embracing the future with unwavering resolve. 

One World Trade Center’s design consisted of simple symmetries and a more traditional profile, intended to compare with selected elements of the contemporary New York cityscape.  

One World Trade Center in New York

In addition, the tower’s central spire draws from previous buildings, such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. It also visually resembles the original Twin Towers, rather than being an off-center spire like the Statue of Liberty. 

CTF Finance Centre 

In Guangzhou, China, the CTF Finance Centre stands at 530 meters tall.  

It houses a diverse range of functions including offices, hotels, and retail spaces, and epitomizes the concept of vertical integration.  

It is the tallest completed building in Guangzhou, the third tallest in China, and the eighth tallest in the world. 

Its towering presence reflects China’s unwavering commitment to economic progress and sustainable development. 

Tianjin CTF Finance Centre 

Joining its counterpart in the skyline of Tianjin, China, the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre embodies the spirit of modernity and progress.  

Coming at 530 meters tall with its sleek design and towering stature, it serves as a focal point for commerce and culture in the region.  

Boasting luxurious amenities and panoramic views, it sets a new standard for urban living and architectural excellence. 

CITIC Tower 

Inspired by ancient Chinese heritage, the CITIC Tower in Beijing, China, stands as a modern-day masterpiece.  

It is the corporate headquarters of CITIC Pacific Ltd, a conglomerate publicly traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and listed on the Hang Seng Index, and a subsidiary of the CITIC Group. 

Its design, reminiscent of the revered Chinese wine vessel known as “zun,” pays homage to tradition while embracing contemporary innovation.  

As the 10th tallest building in the world, it symbolizes China’s rich cultural legacy and its vision for a harmonious future. 

Also designed by designed by KPF, the tower has 109 floors and was conceived as an equilateral triangular block with landscaped sky gardens at various levels. 

The CITIC Tower was completed in 1997.  

The world’s tallest buildings are more than just feats of engineering; they are symbols of human ambition, creativity, and progress.  

From the gleaming towers of Dubai to the bustling metropolises of China, these architectural projects redefine the limits of possibility and inspire awe in all who behold them.  



10+ of the Oldest Buildings In the World and their History 

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