Claiming The Crown Of World’s Tallest Building

bride tower

Bride of the Gulf

Last week, AMBS Architects announced plans for a 3,780 ft. vertical city called ‘The Bride of the Gulf’ in Basra, Iraq, which is also a local nickname for the city. The 230-story building would be publicly funded and is planned to be a net-zero building. The complex would use solar power to produce as much energy as it consumes each year. The Bride would consist of four linked towers in all with the lower towers reaching heights of 2,375ft., 1,588 ft. and 200 ft. The 16,693,835 sq.ft. complex would house hotels, offices, schools, medical clinics and neighborhoods. The Bride would have its own ‘veil’; a glazed canopy that would run down the southern area of the tower and would provide shade to to the complex’s low-rise buildings and public areas.

If completed as planned, the Bride Tower would beat out the current ‘World’s Tallest’ Burj Khalifa and it’s eventual successor, the Kingdom Tower which is currently under construction. Currently there is no site selected for the Bride or a start date for construction, so we’ll have to wait and see if this project ever comes to fruition or if like so many other megatalls, it gets abandoned at the altar.

Here’s a look at the current ‘World’s Tallest Building’ and what’s coming next:

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE has held the coveted title of ‘World’s Tallest Building’ since it was completed back in 2010. It overtook the Taipei 101 which previously held the title at 1,671 ft. when it was completed at 2,717 ft. If you take the Chrysler Building which stand at 1,046 ft. and put it on top of Taipei 101 and you’ve got the height of Burj Khalifa. Since construction started back in 2004, a number of megatall skyscrapers intended to beat Burj have been envisioned, proposed and designed. A couple even broke ground and started construction before eventually being cancelled or put on hold.

Other projects that have been proposed since Burj was announced and started construction included the One Dubai complex which would have had three towers connected by skybridges at various levels and reaching heights of 2,247 ft., 2,867 ft. and 3,307 ft. Burj Mubarak al-Kabir was proposed in 2007 in Kuwait and planned for a height of 3,284 ft., the Murjan Tower proposed in 2009 in Bahrain would have been 3,353 ft., the Azerbaijan Tower proposed in 2011 would have been 3,445 ft. and the Dubai City Tower proposed in 2008 would have soared to an staggering height of 7,874 ft. None of these projects ever started construction and many were cancelled or placed on hold after the global financial crises hit.

Kingdom Tower

Kingdom Tower

It now appears that the heir apparent is the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that is currently under construction. When completed, it will be the first skyscraper to reach a height of at least 1 kilometer (3,280 ft.). The final height is a closely guarded secret that not even the construction workers on the project will know until right before completion. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture designed the multi-use megatall being constructed by the Saudi Bin Laden Group scheduled for completion around the end of 2018.

Two projects, the Nakheel Tower in Dubai and the Sky City in Changsha, China, both would have beaten Burj Khalifa had they not been derailed after construction started. The Nakheel Tower broke ground back in 2008 and foundation work had been started before it was placed on hold for a year. The building would have been at least 3,280 ft. with construction completed in 2018 if the 10-year plan had been met.

Sky City not only would have taken the title away from Burj, but would have been built in a fraction of the time by utilizing modular construction. The company behind Sky City, Broad Sustainable Building, has become famous for erecting skyscrapers in a matter of days. Earlier this year they put up a 57-story ‘Mini Sky City’ in Changsha in just 19 days. Sky City would have been just a skosh taller than Burj at 2,749 ft. with construction only expected to take between 7 – 9 months including just 90 days to assemble. The project broke ground in 2013 and foundation work had begun. Shortly after, construction was halted due to permitting issues for construction. Buildings over 350m have to be approved on a national level. The site is currently being used as a fish farm and a watermelon patch.

The Nakheel Tower project looks to be dead, but Zhang Yue, president of BSB, still has plans to complete Sky City. The permitting process has started back up and construction could start later this year or early 2016. If Sky City were to start back up by the end of first quarter 2016 and finish up in 7 to 9 months at its intended height, it would steal the crown from Burj. Of course with Kingdom Tower well underway, it would only hold the title for two short years.

Currently there isn’t anything under construction that will challenge Kingdom Tower for the title once it’s completed. That could easily change between now and then, and inevitably ground will be broken on a megatall project that will take the crown from Kingdom Tower. As long as developers are willing to invest the amount of money needed to go higher, engineers and architects will continue devising technology to get us there and the race will continue.

According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat the total number of megatall skyscrapers (over 1,968 ft. or 600 m.) increased to 3 this year and the number of supertalls (over 984 ft. or 300 m.) completed stands at 95. Those numbers are expected to more than double over the next few years. There are 137 supertalls, 4 of which are megatalls, currently under construction. Here’s a look at the 10 tallest currently being built:

10. Building Name: Tianjin Chow Tai Fook Binhai Center
Location: Tianjin, China
Height: 1,739 ft.
Construction Start: 2013
Expected Completion: 2018

9. Building Name: Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre
Location: Guangzhou, China
Height: 1,739 ft.
Construction Start: 2010
Expected Completion: 2016

8. Building Name: Central Park Tower
Location: New York City
Height: 1,775 ft.
Construction Start: 2014
Expected Completion: 2019

7. Building Name: Lotte World Tower
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Height: 1,819 ft.
Construction Start: 2011
Expected Completion: 2016

6. Building Name: Global Financial Center Tower 1
Location: Shenyang, China
Height: 1,864 ft.
Construction Start: 2014
Expected Completion: 2018

5. Building Name: Goldin Finance 117
Location: Tianjin, China
Height: 1,957 ft.
Construction Start: 2009
Expected Completion: 2016

4. Building Name: KL118 Tower
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Height: 2,083 ft.
Construction Start: 2014
Expected Completion: 2019

3. Building Name: Wuhan Greenland Center
Location: Wuhan, China
Height: 2,087 ft.
Construction Start: 2012
Expected Completion: 2018

2. Building Name: Ping An Finance Center
Location: Shenzhen, China
Height: 2,165 ft.
Construction Start: 2010
Expected Completion: 2016

1. Building Name: Kingdom Tower
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Height: 3,281 ft.
Construction Start: 2013
Expected Completion: 2018

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