Want to know which are the tallest buildings in the world? If I had to name a universal wish humankind has had over the entire course of history, I would say that flying ranks at the very top. For some reason, we are tempted to defy gravity and soar into the skies by any means we have: airplanes, helicopters, parachutes, skydiving, gliders, air balloons, wing-suit flying, spaceships, or any other means. We’ve always wished for the ability birds have, to be able to take wing and leave the Earth behind.
Some even consider that this shared human desire of flying is related to a religious notion; we want to get closer to God, whoever that may be. Even the ancient Greeks believed that their gods lived at the top of a mountain, Mount Olympus, caressing the clouds. No matter what reason lies behind this yearning, the fact is that we’ve attempted without end to reach the firmament above. Without a doubt, the tallest buildings in the world are living proof that we still have a hunger for getting even higher as time goes by and defying the limits of what is believed to be possible.
The buildings in our countdown are definitely masterpieces of engineering. The planning behind them and the architectural design of these buildings requires the authorship of the world’s best professionals. If you dream of taking part in the design of such a project some day, you should check out our list of The 20 Best Engineering Colleges In America and start preparing for the task.
In compiling this countdown we only included buildings, that is to say that freestanding structures, towers, and other non-building pieces were not taken into account. Therefore structures like the CN Tower in Toronto don’t qualify on our list of the tallest buildings in the world, despite it once ranking as the tallest structure in the world. Instead, the buildings we included in our list are completed, topped-out and have continuous occupiable floors. Moreover, the ranking takes into consideration the structural height and the highest point of the building; the structural height being the vertical elevation from the base to the highest architectural element of the building.
The data on the highest buildings on Earth is compiled by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), a non-profit international organization based in Chicago that is considered an authority in the matter. After a conflict in 1996 regarding a dispute on the features considered to rank the buildings, the CTBUH began to list the buildings in different categories: height to structural or architectural top, height to floor of highest occupied floor, height to top of any part of the building and height to top of roof (this last one was later discarded).
The title of the “World’s Tallest Building” awarded by the CTBUH is desired by many nations. As you will appreciate in our ranking, all but one of the buildings were built in this century, which proves humankind’s constant urge to surpass its records. Saudi Arabia has plans to construct the world’s next tallest building in Jeddah; Kingdom Tower. This skyscraper is planned to be 1 km high (3,281 ft), have 167 floors and its completion is estimated in 2019. Nevertheless, this building has a long way to go before getting the title, and thus far the tallest buildings in the world are ranked in this list.
So are you curious about just how high man has reached with the tallest buildings in the world? Let’s take a look at the countdown and see!