The 10 Tallest Uncompleted Skyscrapers

We all know a little about the world's tallest buildings—those engineering feats which define their cities and become symbols of human achievement—but what of the buildings that never took their planned place in their respective skylines? In 2014, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) released a report listing the 20 tallest buildings that were never completed (an up-to-date list is also maintained on their website here). In order to be considered "never completed," all of the buildings in the report had begun site work, but construction was completely halted with no reports indicating it will continue. Read on to find out the top 10 tallest uncompleted buildings in 2018 after the break.

Diagram from CTBUH's 2014 report. As of 2018, the Lighthouse Tower and Fairwell International Center have been pushed off the list by Sky City Changsha and 2WTC. Image via CTBUH

10. 2 World Trade Center; New York City, New York / BIG (411 meters / 1,348 feet)


Set to be one of BIG's landmark projects, the 2 World Trade Center redesign that replaced Foster + Partners was planned to top out at 1,323 feet with a design that references it's unique location at the intersection of the Manhattan skyline and the streetscape of nearby TriBeCa. The project was put on hold in early 2016 when the two major tenants withdrew their plans to relocate—but according to a New York Post report, Silverstein and BIG may find their anchor tenant sooner rather than later, meaning this entry on the list may only be temporary.

9. Lam Tara Tower 1; Dubai, UAE / Dimensions Engineering Consultants (454 meters / 1,490 feet)

Designed as a part of the Bin Manana Twin Towers complex, residential tower 1 was set to have 88 floors above ground reaching a height of 1,490 ft. The project began construction in 2008 but was halted in December of 2010.

8. Palace of the Soviets; Moscow, Russia / Boris Iofan, Vladimir Shchuko (495 meters / 1,624 feet)

Image via Wikimedia (public domain)

Actually started in 1937, construction was halted during the framing phase due to the anticipation of World War II. The building was set to be topped with a statue of Vladimir Lenin, head of Soviet Russia from 1917-1924, which would have made it the world's tallest structure at the time.

7. Burj Al Alam; Dubai, UAE / Engineering Consultants Group, Arup (510 meters / 1,673 feet)

The design for the "World Tower" included retail space at ground level, 74 floors of office space, topped by 27 floors intended as a hotel and serviced projects. Construction began in 2006 with an expected completion date in 2009 but was dogged heavily by delays in payment during the global financial crisis in 2008. No more activity was seen on the site after piling work for the foundation was stopped in 2009.

6. Doha Convention Center Tower; Doha, Qatar / JAHN (551 meters / 1,808 feet)

Halted in 2007 due to the discovery of interference with flight paths out of Doha International Airport, the tower's construction was initially postponed until the completion of Doha's new Hamed International Airport. But, with the new airport completed, the convention center was completed without the tower in 2015, and no signs of new construction have taken place since.

5. Chicago Spire; Chicago, Illinois / Santiago Calatrava (609.6 meters / 2,000 feet)

© Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava's design for what would have been the tallest building in the United States was finally put to rest in 2014 after many financial problems. There have since been many proposals to reuse the original site.

4. Russia Tower; Moscow, Russia / Foster + Partners (612 meters / 2,008 feet)

Construction on this Foster + Partners tower finally began in 2006 after nearly 12 years of changes to the project site and design. The project was eventually halted in 2008 and later canceled altogether in 2009 after the fallout of the financial crisis in 2008.

3. India Tower; Mumbai, India / Foster + Partners (699.7 meters / 2,296 feet)

Another Foster + Partners project, the India Tower began construction in 2010, but construction was put on hold in 2012 after a major dispute between project developers and the civic authorities of Mumbai. It was later canceled in 2015.

2. Sky City; Changsha, China / Broad Group (838 meters / 2,749 feet)

Courtesy of differentenergy via YouTube, via Business Insider

A casualty to extensive governmental regulations, the Sky City proposal—which was ambitiously proposed to be completed in just 90 days thanks to a hyper-efficient prefabrication method developed by developer Broad Sustainable Building—was halted in 2013 during pre-construction. Plans for the building's completion have stalled as of 2016, and present foundations for the building are currently being used as a fish farm.

1. Nakheel Tower; Dubai, UAE / Woods Bagot (1,000 meters / 3,281 feet)

Financial problems were ultimately the downfall of this 200-story proposal, set to begin construction in early 2009. Nakheel Financial Group was involved in the 2009 debt crisis in Dubai, and they finally had to cancel the project in late 2009 after pilings only began for the foundation.

About this author
Cite: Collin Abdallah. "The 10 Tallest Uncompleted Skyscrapers" 26 Feb 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Santiago Calatrava


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