Standing at 2,717 feet high, the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates holds the distinction as the world’s largest building. The designers of the building are the same architects responsible for creating some of the largest buildings in the United States such as One World Trade Center in New York City and the Willis Tower in Chicago.
Completed in 2010, the Burj Khalifa shifted the focus of the economy of the United Arab Emirates from oil-based to service and tourism. The building includes nine hotels, a shopping mall, one artificial lake, 19 residential towers, and 30,000 residences.
Coming in second place for size is the Shanghai Tower in China at 2,073 feet and 121 floors. It is the largest building in China. Construction began on the building in 2006 and ended in 2014. The Shanghai Tower offers a spectacular view of the Pudong area that includes many other tall office buildings. Visitors might stay in one of its 320 hotel rooms or work in one of its hundreds of office suites.
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia takes third place at 1,972 feet. Owned by the Saudi Arabian government, the building contains 120 floors, a hotel, a conference room, a prayer room for up to 10,000 people, and an Islamic museum. Additionally, the building contains a Lunar Observation Centre to view the moon during Holy Month as well as a shopping center with five floors.
While these are the three largest buildings in the world for now, they may soon lose that distinction to other supertall buildings currently under construction.
The Tallest Buildings of the Future
In 2021, the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia is set to become the world’s tallest building at a whopping 3,281 feet or one kilometer. The new building has the advantage of financing by Alwaweed bin Talal, billionaire Saudi Prince. The designer is Adrian Smith, whose other famous projects include Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building in the world, and the John Hancock Center in Chicago. The design will appear in the shape of a triangle and resemble a palm spreading its fronds.
Other features of the Jeddah Tower are a helipad and perch for viewing on the 157th floor and a speedy double-doored elevator that gets people to their destination within seconds. Once complete, the Jeddah Tower will serve as a centerpiece for a new suburb in Saudi Arabia.
With many building designs currently underway, one is scheduled far into the future. In fact, it’s more than 20 years in the future in 2041. By that year, the architecture firm Nikken Sekkei and the organization Sumitomo Forestry plan to open a building made primarily of wood that can withstand the seismic activity in Tokyo. They intend to destroy the current belief that it’s only possible to construct mega-sized buildings with concrete, glass, and steel. A huge change like this is bound to happen as buildings continue to get taller and design more complex every year.