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This shouldn’t affect those with a fear of heights, but just in case, proceed with caution. The only way to imagine what it’s like to be this high up is to remember the last time you were in an airplane, because these buildings rise thousands of feet and often have their heads in the clouds. China dominates, and even though the Freedom Tower won’t be complete until 2013, I’d like this list to remain relevant for at least a little while.
10. Kingkey 100: Shenzhen, China
Located in Shenzhen’s financial district, the Kingkey 100 is named for its 100 floors, rising to a total of1,449 feet. The lower levels contain a mall, office space that takes up 22 stories, and the remainder of the floors belong to the St. Regis Hotel that opened last year.
9. Willis Tower: Chicago, Illinois
Willis Tower used to be called the Sears Tower until a naming rights change in 2009 by Willis Group Holdings. The Tower is 108 stories and a total of 1,451 feet high. When it was completed in 1973 it was the tallest building in the world, a title it held for almost 25 years. More than one million people visit it every year, as it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago.
8. Zifeng Tower: Nanjing, China
The Zifeng Tower was completed in 2008 and is 1,480 feet tall with a total of 89 stories. Designed by Adrian Smith, the building’s stair-step shape is functional, helping to separate the retail centers, office spaces, restaurants, and a hotel and public observatory within.
Also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, these twin skyscrapers are tied as the two number seven tallest buildings in the world. They used to hold the coveted spot at number one in 1998, but in 2004 they were surpassed. They are however still the tallest twin buildings in the world, coming in at 1,483 feet high and 88 floors.
6. International Commerce Centre: Hong Kong, China
The International Commerce Centre is a 1,588 feet tall skyscraper with a total of 118 floors. It was completed in 2010 and stands as the tallest building in Hong Kong.
5. Shanghai World Financial Center: Shanghai, China
Made up of office space, hotels, and observation decks with a shopping mall on the ground floor, the Shanghai World Financial Center reached its full height at 1,614 feet in 2007. It has 101 floors and the world’s highest observation deck at 1,555 feet above ground.
4. Taipei 101: Taipei, Taiwan
With 5 floors underground and 101 above, the Taipei 101 rises to a grand total of 1,669 feet. It’s also the largest environmentally conscious skyscraper in the world, and is often where Taiwan launches its fireworks during national celebrations.
3. One World Trade Center: New York, NY
Called both the Freedom Tower and One World Trade Center, this building will rise 104 stories high after its completion in 2013. It will then be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Its spire will stretch its height to 1,776 feet, referencing 1776, the year of American Independence.
2. Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
An attempt to modernize this holy city, the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower is the tallest hotel in the world, along with the tallest clock-tower and containing the world’s largest clock-face. It stands at 1,972 feet high and has a whopping 120 floors.
1. Burj Khalifa: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Burj Khalifa, previously known as the Burj Dubai, is the tallest building in the world, rising to a ridiculous 2,723 feet high with 163 floors. It took five years to build, and was completed in 2009 in Dubai’s main business district.
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