World’s Tallest Buildings Reconsidered

December 22, 2009

By Tony Illia

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has changed the way it measures building height.

Announced on November 17, the Chicago-based organization now includes below-grade, open-air pedestrian entrances in its calculations; previously, measurements were made from the sidewalk outside the main entrance. CTBUH also eliminated a “height to roof” category due to increased use of spires, parapets, and other features.


World’s Tallest Buildings
Graph courtesy CTBUH


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The modifications have prompted a slight change in the ranking of the world’s 10 tallest buildings. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Burj Dubai, opening this month and rumored to rise 2,684 feet, will still reign supreme. But Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Towers, also by SOM, gains 27 feet, moving it up from the no. 7 to the no. 6 spot; it displaces SOM’s Jin Mao Building in Shanghai.

“In 2007, with the knowledge that Burj Dubai would be significantly taller than any structure ever built, [we] met to review the criteria by which we recognize and rank the height of buildings,” explains Peter Weismantle, CTBUH height committee chairman. “The resulting revisions almost two years later reflect a general consensus of the committee in recognizing the most recent trends in tall building development around the world.”


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