It may or may not be the tallest building in North America, but one thing's for sure: when it comes to costs, no other skyscraper comes close to New York's One World Trade Center. This is the conclusion of Emporis, whose list of the world's top ten most expensive buildings puts 1WTC way out in front at $3.9 billion. Originally estimated at just half that cost, this sets a trend in the top ten list, with many of the featured buildings suffering staggering overruns. The second-place Shard, for example, overshot it's original £350 million ($550 million) budget nearly four times over (although this is to be expected in London).
But perhaps the most surprising result is not related to high costs, but low ones. Compared to other much smaller buildings, the joint-fifth place Burj Khalifa seems a bargain at "just" $1.5 billion for what is by far the world's tallest building, putting it on a par with the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Springs Resort - which at just one-eighth of the Burj Khalifa's height demonstrates that formal complexity doesn't come cheap.
At number eight on the list, Herzog & de Meuron's Hamburg Elbphilharmonie has the ignominious distinction of being the only building on the list which is still under construction. With current costs standing at just over $1 billion, however, it is still some way behind Toyo Ito's $1.4 billion CapitaGreen, so will likely remain in eighth until completion - that is if newer, ever more expensive projects don't displace it first.