Dubai, United Arab EmiratesDesigned by the U.S. architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago, the Burj Tower will reach 800 m. (2624 ft.) in height and eclipse Taiwan’s Taipei 101 building when it is completed in late 2008. The tower complex will have 160 floors and feature a hotel, a shopping mall, offices, and luxury apartments. Oil-rich Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, is spending lavishly to position itself as a global financial center and world business hub
Busan, South Korea
In late January, the New York-based design firm Asymptote Architecture won an international design competition — held by the municipal government in Busan, South Korea -- to build what will be Asia’s tallest tower early next decade. The 560 m. (1,837 ft.) Millennium Tower World Business Center will boast a breakthrough design with three slender towers emerging from a powerful base.
Back in 2004, this 509 m. (1,671 ft.) spiraling skyscraper overtook Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers as the world’s tallest building as measured from the ground to the tower’s structural top. It was designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners. Taipei 101 also holds the world’s record for the fastest ascending elevators that clock 60.4 km. per hour (37.5 mph). It will be overtaken as the world’s mightiest skyscraper when the Dubai Burj Tower is completed in late 2008.
Shanghai World Financial Center
Shanghai is the Chinese mainland’s premier business center and already home to some stunning skyscrapers. It will get another one in 2008 with the opening of the 492 m. (1614 ft.) Shanghai World Financial Center that will feature the world's highest observatory, a five-star luxury hotel, and acres of retail space. It was designed by the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by Mori Building Group of Japan
Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Standing 452 m. (1,482 ft.), these iconic towers were designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli and were the world’s tallest buildings when completed in 1998. The mega-structure’s steel and glass design has elements of Islamic art motifs and sits atop the world’s deepest building foundations.
This 442 m. (1,450 ft.) Chicago landmark was completed in 1973 and designed by the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for Sears, Roebuck & Company, then the world’s biggest retailer. It held the record for tallest building for 25 years until Malaysia’s Petronas Towers were erected in 1998. Fiercely proud Chicagoans, however, still note that the building is No.1 if you measure from ground to the top of the tower’s antennas.
Jin Mao Tower
The 88-story Jin Mao Tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is the tallest building in China. It rises to 421 m. (1,380 ft.) and is a centerpiece structure in Shanghai’s Pudong financial district. Its tiered pagoda draws heavily from traditional Chinese architecture and its name in English can be translated as the “Golden Prosperity Building.”
Two International Finance Center
Hong Kong, China
Cesar Pelli designed this mega-structure that now towers over the Hong Kong skyline overlooking Victoria Harbor. It stands at 415 m. (1,366 ft.) and is one of the most prestigious business addresses in Hong Kong.
Guangzhou, ChinaThis 80-story high-rise is situated in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou, a thriving business center in southern China about an hour’s train ride from Hong Kong. It was completed in 1997 and while it is no longer the tallest in China (that title belongs presently to the Jin Mao Building in Shanghai) the 391 m. (1,283 ft.) structure is the tallest concrete building in the world
Shun Hing Square
Things move fast on the mainland, and when the 384 m. (1,260 ft.) Shun Hing Square was finished in 1996, the 69-story skyscraper was the tallest building in China — until the CITIC Plaza in nearby Guangzhou arrived on the scene a year later.
Empire State Building
New York, NY
This fabled product of Art Deco design was finished back in 1931 and was the world’s tallest building for more than 40 years. It stands at 381 m. (1,250 ft.). Following the demise of the World Trade Center during the 2001 terrorist attacks, the building is the tallest in New York and the second tallest in the U.S. after Chicago’s Sears Tower.
Hong Kong, China
From 1992 through 1996 the Central Plaza in the Wan Chai district had a run as the tallest building in Asia. And the 374 m. (1,227 ft.) skyscraper was tops in Hong Kong until the completion of Two International Finance Center a few years back.
Bank of China Tower
Hong Kong, ChinaOne of the most recognizable buildings in Hong Kong, if not the world, this building designed by I.M. Pei and completed in 1989 resembles sprouting bamboo shoots, a symbol of prosperity in Chinese culture. It stands 367 m. (1,205 ft.) and was the tallest mega-structure outside of the U.S. until 1990
Emirates Office Tower
Dubai, United Arab EmiratesFinished in 1999, the Emirates Office Tower is a 54-floor office building in Dubai and is currently one of the city’s tallest structures. However it will soon be dwarfed by the 800 m. (2624 ft.) Burj Tower set to be completed in late 2008
Tuntex Sky Tower
This tower boasts a distinctive design with a central tower that rises to a spire and emerges from a broader base structure. Opened in 1997, the Tuntex Sky Tower is designed to resemble the Chinese character meaning tall. It’s the second tallest building behind Taipei 101 in Taiwan.