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Emporis: The Latest Architecture and News

The 10 Different Ways to Measure a Skyscraper's Height

09:30 - 12 October, 2017
The 10 Different Ways to Measure a Skyscraper's Height, From left to right: One World Trade Center, image © James Ewing; Burj Khalifa, image © <a href='https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Burj_Khalifa.jpg'>Wikimedia user Donaldytong</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>; Taipei 101, image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taipei_101_from_afar.jpg'>Wikimedia user peellden</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>; Shanghai Tower, image © Gensler/Shen Zhonghai.
From left to right: One World Trade Center, image © James Ewing; Burj Khalifa, image © Wikimedia user Donaldytong licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0; Taipei 101, image © Wikimedia user peellden licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0; Shanghai Tower, image © Gensler/Shen Zhonghai.

How do we determine the actual height of a building? Where do we place the dimension line? The history of measuring skyscrapers dates back to 1885, way before AutoCAD or Revit dimensions, when the Home Insurance Building in Chicago was among the first to boast of being the world's tallest building, but the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)—or the Joint Committee on Tall Buildings, as it was originally called—wasn’t formed until 1969. Recognized by many as the foremost authority on tall buildings, the CTBUH is often cited in determining the world’s (or country’s or city’s) tallest building. However, the CTBUH is not the only organization with a stake in measuring buildings; the global building information database Emporis is also a major player. Between them, these two organizations provide 10 different ways to determine a skyscraper's height, which we have summarized below.

Shanghai Tower Wins 2015 Emporis Skyscraper Award

15:21 - 22 November, 2016
Shanghai Tower Wins 2015 Emporis Skyscraper Award

Gensler's Shanghai Tower has won the 2015 Emporis Skyscraper Award. Selected from over 300 buildings of over 100 meters in height completed in 2015, the Emporis jury was impressed by the Shanghai Tower's "elegant spiraling cylindrical shape," and the "extraordinary energy efficiency" provided, in part, by the building's double-skin facade.

Currently the world's second tallest building at 632 meters, the Shanghai Tower becomes the second Chinese building to win the Emporis award, after Zaha Hadid Architects' Wangjing SOHO took the prize last year. In addition to Gensler's first-place project, Emporis also recognized 9 runners-up including Rafael Viñoly Architects' 432 Park Avenue, Arquitectonica's Icon Bay in Miami, and the Evolution Tower in Moscow by Kettle Collective and RMJM Edinburgh. Read on to see all ten awarded projects.

Infographic: The World's Most Expensive Skyscrapers

00:00 - 3 December, 2014
Infographic: The World's Most Expensive Skyscrapers, Courtesy of Emporis
Courtesy of Emporis

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).

1: One World Trade Center. Image © Khalid Mahmood 2 (joint): The Palazzo. Image © Ed Lewis 2 (joint): The Shard. Image © Eric Smerling 4: Taipei 101. Image © Michiel van Dijk + 12