Today, a panel of architects ruled that the needle on the top of One World Trade Center — the new building erected at the site of the twin towers destroyed in the 9/11 attacks — can officially count toward the building’s height, making it the new tallest building in the United States. Apparently, the spire of the building has aesthetic value and is an integral part of the structure, as opposed to an accessory such as a radio antenna that can be raised or lowered at will.
This makes the new U.S. skyscraper one of the tallest buildings in the world. As architecture is a field that is both artistic as well as functional, you don’t have to be a Ted Mosby enthusiast to be interested in the discipline. Many of the finest structures around the world — now renowned tourist sites — once were designed with a specific purpose in mind as well.
From temples to castles to obelisks, the creation of structures and buildings has captured the innovative as well as the practical side of man for centuries. Let’s take a look at some of our greatest achievements in architecture to this date — the 7 tallest buildings in the world.
7. International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong
The so-called ICC Tower stands at approximately 1,588 feet tall, standing over Kowloon Station in Hong Kong. Completed in 2010, the tower includes offices occupied by firms such as Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley. If that isn’t enough to grab your attention, you might want to check out the view from the Sky100 observation deck or even staying in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which occupies several floors above the deck and includes a pool on the 118th, uppermost level.
6. Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai
Next up, we travel to Shanghai, where the Shanghai World Financial Center clocks in at 1,614 feet. The center has come to embody the financial sector of Shanghai over the past few years. Look out, though, the building is no longer the city’s tallest skyscraper. Housing the Park Hyatt Shanghai, the tower is well-known for its trapezoidal aperture located near its pinnacle, which was designed to reduce wind stress on the structure while providing a unique snapshot.
5. Taipei 101, Taipei
The capital of Taiwan is home to Taipei 101, a 1,669 foot structure that occupies the next stop on our list. There are few building more distinctive-looking than Taipei 101. Between the blue-green glass exterior, the segments of eight-floor blocks, and the ruyi sculptures, the building is noted just as much for its aesthetic value as for its height. The building is often said to resemble a bamboo stock as its design evokes Asian, modern motifs.
4. One World Trade Center, New York City
We return to the One World Trade Center building, which was purposely designed with a 1,776 foot height in order to evoke patriotic sentiments. Occupying a special place not only in the city of New York but also in the hearts of thousands of Americans, the building is designed to house the offices of several firms in the financial and economic heart of New York City. Utilizing many of the ideas of architect Daniel Libeskind, the building, and the complex of which it is a part, symbolize the reconstruction and perseverance of the American dream.
3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, Mecca
Part of the revitalization project to modernize the city of Mecca, the Royal Clock Tower Hotel houses the world’s largest and highest clock face. With a height of 1,972 feet, the building doesn’t fare so badly on the height metric either.
Designed to promote commerce and house tourists on their way to see the holiest site of Islam, from which it is only a short walk away, the hotel features a massive parking facility as well as a shopping center that spans some 20 floors.
2. Shanghai Tower, Shanghai
Returning to Shanghai, we check in with the Shanghai Tower, the yet to be completed skyscraper that will form the backbone of the city’s financial splendor. With a height of 2,073 feet, the building will be the second tallest structure in the world. It is included in our list because the building has been topped off, meaning that the uppermost architectural beams have been fitted despite the tower not yet being fully operational.
1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is currently the world’s largest manmade structure. With a height of 2,717 feet, the building stretches far into the sky above the desert in the United Arab Emirates. Famous for its use in the movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the building is found near a namesake fountain, which is notable in its own right. Designed using a technique called the buttressed core in order to maintain stability, the structure was completed in 2009 and remains the tallest building in the world to this day.