The current 3 tallest buildings of our time

Advances in architecture have allowed man to be able to raise buildings that go beyond anyone’s imagination. Currently, there are several which have now surpassed the 600 meters, but for this year it is expected to reach up to 1,000 meters. A developer in Dubai announced plans to build a tower that will surpass the great Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, while in Saudi Arabia there is another building project that would reach one kilometer high. Emaar Properties, a developer based in Dubai, plans to build what would be the tallest building in the world in 2020, just in time for the World Expo in Dubai.

  1. Shanghai Tower

The current 3 tallest buildings of our time
Courtesy of Lawrence Wang at

This skyscraper is located in the Pudong district, in Shanghai. The building is 632 meters high with 128 floors and an area of 420,000 m². It is currently the tallest building in China and the third tallest skyscraper in the world.

This is thus higher than the Shanghai World Financial Center and would also be higher than the highest viewing platform on the Mecca Royal Clock Tower Hotels. The floors below will be used for different purposes: office rooms, a luxurious hotel and exhibition rooms. In the lower area, a shopping center will also be created after the planning.

The tower consists of nine cylindrical, stacked segments enclosed by a glass façade. The outer façade twists upward. In between, hall gardens at different heights are to be created as public places for the inhabitants of Shanghai. At the foot of the tower, further recreation facilities and event rooms are set up.

  1. Abraj Al Bait

The current 3 tallest buildings of our time
Courtesy of Bill Strain at

This set of buildings is located in the center of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest building ever built in the world (in size by mass), the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and the second tallest building in the world.

The structure is located across the street from the entrance to Masjid al-Haram. Inside, there is the Kaaba, considered by Muslims the holiest place in the whole world. For this reason, the Abraj Al-Bait have space for prayer, with a capacity for approximately four thousand people. In addition, the highest tower contains a five-star hotel to accommodate more than two million pilgrims participating in the Hajj each year.

The highest tower has a height of 601 meters. The structure has a construction area with 1.5 million sqm, larger than any other in the world. It also exceeds the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai as the tallest hotel in the world.

Moreover, the Abraj Al-Bait has a four-storey shopping mall and a parking capable of accommodating more than a thousand vehicles. The residential towers are home to permanent residents, there are two helipads and a convention center used to accommodate business travelers. In total, more than seventy thousand people can be housed inside the towers. The building has a clock on each face of the tower. The highest residential floor is 400 meters above the ground, just below the clock. The highest tower has a peak of 71 meters at the top of the clock that gives a total height of 601 meters.

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  1. Burj Khalifa

The current 3 tallest buildings of our time
Courtesy of Jason Mrachina at

This skyscraper located in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) is 828 meters high, and is still the tallest structure in human history. The base of the building has a core and three side sections projecting from it. These wings or side sections reach different heights and make the structure of the building getting narrower from the base to the top. The height at the end of each section of the wings form a spiral staircase towards the left, surrounding the building, and serves to counter strong winds and the frequent sandstorms of Dubai. The effectiveness of this design was corroborated before more than 40 tests in a wind tunnel, which supported its proper functioning.

The building structure consists of concrete to the ground 156 (586 m). 156 from the floor, the plants are made of steel, which makes them lighter. The facade of the building is completely lined with more than 26.000 glass panels of very high performance in the form of double hermetic glass, consisting of an outer glass high solar control SunGuard Solar Silver 20 on clear (mostly 10mm thermoset) which rejects much of the solar radiant heat of the Arabian Desert.

The foundation of this building is the largest ever built. It is composed by an innovative concept based on geotechnical and seismic studies: the building is supported primarily by a huge plate of reinforced concrete of almost 4 m thick, totaling 12 500 m³. This plate, in turn, is supported by a system consisting of 192 piles of 1.5 m in diameter at its base by 43 m deep.

Related article: Don’t Forget to Visit the Tallest Buildings in the United Arab Emirates, by Kenny Slaught


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