The Era Of Skyscrapers;10 world’s tallest buildings topping out in 2020

For nearly half a century, from 1931 through 1972, the 1,454-foot Empire State Building held the title for being the tallest building in the world.The world has come a long way since then in the rankings of today’s tallest man-made structures, the Empire State Building doesn’t even crack the top 45 .

Empire state building_New York
Empire state building_New York

As we prepare to enter a new decade, the rapid rise of urban skylines around the world is continuing apace. Once again, China and the Middle East are the main regions where supertall construction is concentrated, but Kazakhstan, Poland and Malaysia provide surprising additions to this year’s top 10.

A race is currently underway that may see Dubai’s Burj Khalifa eclipsed as the tallest manmade structure in the world in 2020. However, there are doubts as to whether either the much-delayed Jeddah Tower or the Dubai Creek Tower (an observation tower rather than a skyscraper) will actually reach their proposed heights this year.

the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai
The Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai. Credit: Arcadis

As usual, we’ve turned to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat for the latest data on official building heights and construction progress. Current economic and political uncertainty are making it even more difficult than usual to predict what might happen with some of these epic projects, but in the spirit of optimism that often often comes with a new decade, we’ve reintroduced a few late-running buildings that might just make it a stellar start to the 2020s.

Finally, an increasing global focus on sustainability has resulted in greater efforts to construct tall buildings using more ecological methods and materials, which is reflected in our special mention of significant wooden towers currently under construction.

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We ranked the 10 tallest buildings in the world right now using  the latest data on official building heights and construction progress from The Skyscraper Center, a database maintained by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat .Current economic and political uncertainty are making it even more difficult than usual to predict what might happen with some of these epic projects, but in the spirit of optimism that often often comes with a new decade, we’ve reintroduced a few late-running buildings that might just make it a stellar start to the 2020s.

Finally, an increasing global focus on sustainability has resulted in greater efforts to construct tall buildings using more ecological methods and materials, which is reflected in our special mention of significant wooden towers currently under construction.

1. Kingdom (Jeddah) Tower-1,000+ meters

Kingdom (Jeddah) Tower_1000+ meters
Kingdom (Jeddah) Tower

Construction of the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia has been plagued by political, economic and labour issues, with the proposed completion date of 2020 deemed unrealistic for many years now. However,News reports peg a “topping out” by the end of 2020, but it is unclear when completion may finally happen.

Nevertheless, if it were completed in 2020 or at any time in the foreseeable future, it would still stand to earn the title of “World’s Tallest Building” by a considerable margin.

2. Wuhan Greenland Center, Wuhan – 476 meters

Eco-friendly megatall Wuhan Greenland skyscraper is under construction in Chin
Eco-friendly megatall Wuhan Greenland skyscraper is under construction in China

Originally expected to surpass 600 meters, and to top out in 2016, the tower’s height was later reduced to under 500 meters, due to aviation restrictions. It is currently difficult to predict a final completion date, due to the developer’s failure to make payments to the contractor. In October 2019, the contractor removed all its workers from the site until the dispute could be settled.

3. Dongguan International Trade Center, China- 432 metres

Dongguan International Trade Center, China- 432 metre

Part of a complex of five separate buildings in downtown Dongguan, this 432-metre tower will rise above a six-story retail podium containing stores and restaurants. The design by global architecture firm 5+design is inspired by Dongguan’s natural surroundings in the Pearl River Delta, and the building is situated to provide a direct line of sight to the nearby Huanggi Mountain. Its bevelled silhouette references the bud of the Yulan magnolia and it is topped with a symbolic lantern.

4. Diamond Tower, Saudi Arabia- 432-metres

Diamond Tower, Saudi Arabia
Diamond Tower, Saudi Arabia

Diamond Tower is a 93-storey, 432-metre supertall skyscraper in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia whose construction is on hold as of July 2020. The tower will be primarily for residential use. Once completed it will become Saudi Arabia’s second-tallest building and one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.

5. Abu Dhabi Plaza, Kazakhstan-382 meters

Abu Dhabi Plaza, Shopping mall in Astana, Kazakhstan
Abu Dhabi Plaza, Shopping mall in Astana, Kazakhstan

Abu Dhabi Plaza is a mixed-use development taking shape in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan. The project comprises five towers and a retail podium, with one of the towers set to become the tallest building in the Commonwealth of Independent States formed by the former Soviet Republics. The 382-metre tower designed by as part of the masterplan by HKR Architects will become the central beacon for the new urban district.

Credit: H K Architects

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