Architects are designing taller buildings each year across the globe. That trend was analyzed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) in its “2018 Tall Building Year in Review.” There are currently 1,478 buildings in the world taller than 656 feet (200 meters). Of those buildings, 143 were completed this year, maintaining momentum from previous years.
Of the buildings completed in 2018, 88 were in China. The U.S. had the second-largest number of completions by country with 13. However, Asia led the world in tall building construction with 76 percent of the completions. Nineteen cities across the world got a new tallest building this year.
The CTBUH classifies “supertall” buildings as buildings taller than 984 feet (300 meters). In 2018, 18 supertall buildings were completed. That’s the most ever completed in one year. The tallest was Citic Tower in Beijing, topping out at approximately 1,732 feet (528 meters).
The average height of the world’s 100 tallest buildings has grown since 2001 when the average height was approximately 928 feet (283 meters). In 2018, the average height was 1,250 feet (381 meters). Sixteen new buildings entered the tallest 100 buildings this year, up from 14 last year.
The makeup of the world’s 100 tallest buildings has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. In 1970, 90 percent of the world’s tallest buildings were built using steel. In 2018, only 9 percent of the tallest builders were built with steel.
The majority (57 percent) were built using composite materials, which were not used for any of the world’s 100 tallest buildings in 1970. Composite has increased in use from 1980 to 2018. In 1980, only 12 of the tallest buildings were made up of composite materials. Concrete use has also increased since 1970 when 9 percent of the tallest buildings were made up of the material. In 2018, 30 percent of the tallest buildings were built with concrete.
Between 1930 and 2000, the majority of the world’s tallest buildings were office buildings (between 83 and 89 percent throughout those years). That number has fallen dramatically from 2000 to 2018. This year, only 38 percent of the world’s tallest buildings are offices, while 47 percent are mixed-use buildings. In 2000, 13 percent were mixed-use. Residential projects have also grown among the tallest buildings from 2 percent in 1960 to 10 percent in 2018.
The location of the world’s tallest buildings has also shifted dramatically. Until 1940, 100 percent of the 100 tallest buildings in the world were located in North America. That’s dropped to 14 percent in 2018 with Asia leading the way at 59 percent. The Middle East is second with 23 percent of the world’s tallest buildings.
Of the top 30 projected 2019 supertall completions, 19 are in China, five are in the U.S. and four are in the United Arab Emirates. The tallest projected completion for 2019 is the Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia. It will stand at 1,516 feet (462 meters). The second tallest is The Exchange 106 building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s projected to stand at 1,483 feet (452 meters).
The tallest projected completion in the U.S. is 111 West 57th Street in New York. It will stand at 1,428 feet (435 meters). It’s seventh on the top 30 list.