The building construction process seems to be never-ending. No matter where you go in just about any city across the globe, structures of all sizes are going up at a dizzying pace. However, there are projects and then there are projects. The effort that went into constructing the tallest buildings in the world is simply incredible, and the effort needed to maintain these buildings is just as Herculean. Here are the five that top the list:
The tallest building in the world at more than 2,700 feet, the Burj Khalifa is located in downtown Dubai. A Chicago architectural firm designed it and a South Korean company handled the engineering and construction. It includes nine hotels, is surrounded by seven acres of landscaping, and also houses a whopping 30,000 residences. The property also features a 30-acre man-made lake. The building took five years to complete before opening in 2010.
The design of the structure incorporates patterns commonly found in Islamic architecture, as well as historical and cultural elements specific to the area — including spiral minarets. The building is made of materials that are designed to withstand Dubai’s brutal summer temperatures. There are 57 elevators and eight escalators.
While most architectural critics agree the building is beautiful, it also has its detractors. Many people have pointed out that East Asian and South Asian workers were used during the construction process. According to critics, not only did they earn very low wages they were also housed in extremely poor conditions.
Coming in at 2,073 feet, the Shanghai Tower ranks second on the list of the tallest buildings in the world. The structure cost an estimated $4 billion to build and has 121 floors. It took eight years to build the structure, but the tower was finally opened in 2014. There are more than 1,000 parking spaces, 320 hotel rooms and a spectacular view of the city from the top floors. It has over 4 million square feet of total floor area.
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel is also known as the Abraj Al Bait. The government of Saudi Arabia owns the complex, and the country’s largest construction company built it at an estimated cost of $15 billion. At 1,972 feet tall, the tower features a 10,000-person capacity prayer room to accommodate visitors to a nearby mosque. It also houses a shopping mall that is five stories tall, two heliports and enough space to hold an estimated 100,0000 people. One of the more interesting features of the building is an observation center that can be used to view the moon during Holy Months.
After the devastating attacks of 9/11, plans were soon put together to build a new World Trade Center. Those plans were unveiled in spectacular fashion when One World Trade Center opened on November 3, 2014. Not only is the building the new centerpiece of New York’s skyline, it is also a testament to the resilience of a nation. It stands — appropriately — 1,776 feet tall, making One World Trade Center the tallest building in the U.S.
As you might expect, One World Trade Center construction focused on safety features. It is built of dense, fireproof materials and contains pressurized stairs, enhanced daytime lighting, and much more. It houses the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and will also be the site of a performing arts center.
This 112-story building will stand 1,739 feet when it is completed in 2016. It features a unique terra cotta design on the exterior of the building, and will house offices as well as more than 250 hotel rooms and over 350 apartments.
While these are all obviously impressive feats of construction, you can bet that someone, somewhere is already putting together plans to build a structure that will be at the top of the list of the tallest buildings in the world.