Skyscraper-mania in Asia and the Eternal Competition for the World's Tallest Building

Photo by Flickr user: nelson ebelt. Used under Creative Commons

Recent years have seen an influx of skyscrapers completed, nearing construction, or proposed in Asia. Stimulated by an exponentially growing population and, therefore, thriving economy, Asia has contributed more soaring buildings to the world’s Supertall list than any other continents combined. With the completion of the world’s tallest building at 828 meters tall, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, comes the proposition of progressively more structures which aim to surpass the prior and ascend to the number one status.

More on skyscraper-mania in Asia after the break.

Record number of skyscrapers were completed in Asia just this last year: Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the International Commerce Center in Hong Kong, Zifeng Tower, Guangzhou International Finance Center in China . Subsequent years are anticipated to be even more triumphant for skyscraper construction, seeing that the global recession caused some projects to be halted or abandoned prior to 2010.

Photo by Robert Lowe

Of the skyscrapers which are currently under construction, most will dwarf the completed towers which hold the top ten tallest building ranking, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Structures anything less than Supertall (400 meters) will become obsolete to the skyscraper genre with the ever increasing standard.

Photo by Davidlohr Bueso

2011 and 2012 are expected to continue on this upward trend, and more skyscrapers near completion this year: Makkah Royal Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia, the Princess Tower in Dubai, Al Hamra Firdous Tower in Kuwait City, 23 Marina project in Dubai, and Emirates Park Towers Hotel & Spa in Dubai. In 2014, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia is proposed to take the lead as the world’s tallest building, at 1 kilometer tall.

Photo by Flickr user: orange tuesday. Used under Creative Commons

The modern tall building has drastically changed from its historical counterpart; what used to be a boastful display of a region’s wealth and prosperity in office building form is now a practical response to a dense city’s need for housing, transportation, and multi-use facilities. Asia’s, more specifically China’s, soaring population has fueled the demand for supertalls. Increasingly more skyscrapers have taken on the program of residence; Burj Khalifa, Kingdom Tower, and India Tower, just to name a few.

Photo by Jussi Mononen

A number of American architectural firms have been accommodating Asia’s need for skyscrapers, of the top 10 skyscrapers under construction, 6 were designed by U.S. Architectural Firms. With reference to projects discussed, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), Fosters + Partners, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill have benefited from Asia’s skyscraper craze. The skyscraper is, undeniably, the architectural symbol of the future and upward trend of Asian architecture further declare the region’s worldwide significance and prominence.

References: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Tridib Banerjee & Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Newzglobe, Nadine M. Post Photographs: Flickr user: nelson ebelt, maja_x1, orange tuesday, Robert Lowe, Jussi Mononen, Nicolas Lannuzel, Davidlohr Bueso, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

© Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

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Cite: Sarah Edwards. "Skyscraper-mania in Asia and the Eternal Competition for the World's Tallest Building" 26 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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