Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where the tall things are

Burj Khalifa (formerly known as Burj Dubai) officially opened today. It's become the tallest building in the world with 162 floors and a spire height of 828 meters.

Talking about skyscrapers, people would naturally think about New York. But the height ranking diagram below (compiled from skyscraperpage.com) indicates something else.

Let's do some counting. Of the 28 tallest buildings that are built/under construction/approved, only two are built in the US: Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the Trump Tower, both in Chicago. 5 are built in East Asia, and there will be 11 more coming soon, mostly in China. 7 new towers will join the Middle East scene. Who designed these things? Mostly Americans this time. Actually mostly SOM, who built 4 (Burj Khalifa, Willis, Trump, and Jin Mao) of the 8 existing towers and has 3 more to come. KPF built one in Shanghai, and designed three new ones. Then comes Cesar Pelli, who brought the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the IFC in Hong Kong. Europeans (actually all British) seem to be catching up. They are responsible for 5 new towers, although none of them is located in Europe. Sadly, East Asian architects are not doing so great in the large scale projects. Middle Eastern firms seem to be able to get a share in their domestic market, but I was really speechless when I saw their design...

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