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Record Breakers: 12 Legitimately Sky-Scraping Tower Projects
By SA Rogers,
Web Urbanist, 5 September 2016.

After a few years of recession-induced stalling, record-smashing skyscrapers are going up around the world at a steady pace, knocking each other out of the top positions every year or so. While Dubai’s Burj Khalifa has held strong as the world’s tallest building, a number of new super-tall structures have sprouted up in the last two years to claim titles as the tallest in various cities and hemispheres, and a few proposals that are almost too tall to be believed aim to surpass the Burj by 2020.

1. 432 Park Avenue, New York City


The tallest residential building in the world stands at 432 Park Avenue, topping out at 1,396 feet of exclusive condominium apartments.


Completed in December 2015, the building is the third-tallest building in the United States and the second tallest building in New York City, behind One World Trade Center and ahead of the Empire State Building. It’s expected to be equaled in height by the 111 West 57th Street project in mid-2018.

The video above documents the construction of the tower over the course of the entire building process.

2. MahaNakhon Skyscraper by Ole Scheeren, Thailand


Pixelating in two sections along the way to its 1,030-foot-high pinnacle, the MahaNakhon tower by Ole Scheeren is a striking new addition to Bangkok’s skyline.


Located in the city’s central business district, the tower is Thailand’s tallest building and contains a public landscape plaza, retail center, 200 serviced apartments and a 150-room boutique hotel.

3. The Tower in Dubai by Santiago Calatrava


Famed architect Santiago Calatrava announced this year that he has been chosen to design and build the world’s tallest building, set to surpass the Burj Khalifa. Planned for Dubai Creek Harbor, ‘The Tower’ is a landmark observation structure offering panoramic views across the city from ‘The Pinnacle Room’ and observation garden decks attempting to recreate the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon.


The tower will also contain a luxury boutique hotel, and is expected to be completed in advance of Dubai’s turn hosting the Expo 2020.

4. Grand Tower, Germany’s Tallest Residential Skyscraper


Germany’s tallest residential skyscraper is set to send 400 floors of high-end residences straight up into the sky of Frankfurt, creating a new urban landmark.


The height of the tower will far surpass that of Germany’s provost tallest residential structure, the Colonia-Haus in Cologne. The penthouses at the top will enjoy wraparound glass-walled balconies gazing out onto the city.

5. World’s Tallest Modular Building by SHoP, Brooklyn


The tallest modular building in the world may not exactly compete with skyscrapers that pierce the clouds, but at 32 stories, it’s an impressive stack of plug-and-play prefabricated units. 461 Dean Street by SHoP Architects will be the first residential building to open at the new Pacific Park development in Brooklyn.


The building will contain 363 rental apartments, with half of them set to be low-income units. The rest of the space will be taken up by ground-floor retail.

6. Shanghai Tower, China


China’s tallest skyscraper is also said to be the world’s most sustainable. Opening its doors this month after a long construction process, the Shanghai Tower by Gensler reaches an incredible 2,073 feet in height and contains the world’s fastest elevators, the highest hotel and restaurant and the tallest viewing platform.


The building was awarded the top green rating, LEED Platinum, with 200 wind turbines at the top generating about 10% of the structure’s electricity.

7. Tallest Building in the West: Wilshire Grand, Los Angeles


Officially the tallest building west of the Mississippi River in the United States, the Wilshire Grand Tower bests the rest of Los Angeles’ towers by a long shot.


The 1,099-foot-tall skyscraper in downtown LA saw its 58-foot architectural spire set into place on September 3rd, 2016, entering the record books. Without the spire, though, the previous record-holder - the U.S. Bank Tower, also in LA - would still have the prize.

8. 22 Bishopsgate, London


22 Bishopsgate will become the second-tallest building in London at 912 feet, and will feature a public viewing platform as well as the city’s highest bar and restaurant. Falling short of Renzo Piano’s The Shard, which stands 1013 feet tall in Southwark, the new tower by PLP Architecture will hold over a million square feet of office space as well as shops, medical and educational facilities.


But construction has not yet begun, and there’s some question about whether the UK’s Brexit vote will keep it from becoming a reality.

9. SOM Tanjong Pagar Center, Singapore


Singapore’s tallest building at 951 feet in height is the Tanjong Pagar Centre by SOM, a mixed-use tower in the city-state’s central business district filled with offices, residential units, retail and hotels.


In addition to a sky deck with a transparent glass floor, it will feature an underground pedestrian network connecting to existing transit. It’s set to be complete by the end of 2016.

10. Australia 108: Southern Hemisphere’s Tallest Building


The Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building will be Australia 108, which is currently under construction in Melbourne. The 1,040-foot-tall structure will contain 1,105 apartments on 100 floors, and completion is expected in 2020.

11. Glass-Bottomed Skywalk on Shanghai’s Third-Tallest Building


Just recently bested by Shanghai Tower, the city’s 93-story Jinmao Tower by SOM is really just as impressive, with an incredible open-air glass-bottomed skywalk that runs along the 88th floor.

It’s the highest hands-free platform in the world, and you have to be strapped into a safety harness to experience it.

12. Mile-High Park & Observation Deck


Could this (literally) mile-high tower become the tallest man-made structure on earth? It’s still just a conceptual design, but the record-smashing Burj Khalifa seemed outrageous in the infancy of its proposal, too. Unveiled by Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA), the structure would be topped with a publicly-accessible observation deck covered in plants and inhabited by hundreds of species of animals.


The height is twice that of the Burj Khalifa, supported by a 20-meter-wide compressed shaft secured by a net of pre-stressed cables. Capsules carrying visitors to the top orbit around the shaft, and will be equipped with open-air virtual reality screens for an interactive 360-degree view of the landscape.

Top image: 432 Park Avenue, New York City, via Designboom.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited.]