Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
2018 Top Monthly Tall Building Predictions

After another record-busting year in 2017, it is time once again to pull together our resources and predict what might happen in 2018 across the global skyscraper industry. Check out our monthly predictions based on our industry intelligence to see what trends and milestones will shape the industry in the year to come. You can also view our 2017 Tall Buildings Year in Review, which details all 200-meter-plus high-rises completed across the globe that year.
View our 2017 Tall Building Year in Review
See how we did with our 2017 Predictions

Salesforce Tower, San Francisco’s Tallest, Completes, Ushering in a New Wave of Transit-Oriented Development

The 326-meter Salesforce Tower will complete in 2018, becoming San Francisco’s new tallest building. Significantly, it will mark the location of the Transbay Transit Center, a massive urban regeneration project that will replace an aging bus terminal with a state-of-the-art, multi-block structure topped by a linear urban park, with space below for a future high-speed rail terminal. The deep integration of transit into the project was cited as one of the prime factors in the software company Salesforce taking space in the tower. It can be expected that this will continue to be a strong characteristic of future development in increasingly global, connected, and polycentric future cities.

Photo by rulenumberone2 (ccby-sa)


Photo © Foster and Partners

Comcast Technology Center Brings Skygardens Into Less-Temperate Region

Built as a companion structure to the Comcast Center, the 342-meter Comcast Technology Center will soar above the city’s skyline as the tallest building in Philadelphia upon completion. The tower’s façades will be adorned with a series of 13 three-story sky gardens, which elegantly draw a continuous strand of vegetation through the building. Considering the full four season-climate of the U.S. Northeast, the project, expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification, is a potential indicator that the high-rise sky-garden model is moving beyond warm climates.


China Sees Two Steel Skyscraper Achievements, Bucking Longstanding Material-Use Trends

Two significant skyscrapers will complete in the city of Shenzhen, and both are remarkable for their divergence from overwhelming industry trends toward concrete- and composite-framed buildings. The Hanking Center Tower is on track to become the tallest all-steel building in Asia (and China), as well as the third-tallest such building in the world. The building’s achievement will be commemorated with a CTBUH Signboard that was being fabricated at the start of the year. The China Resources Headquarters will become one of very few supertall buildings to have steel columns and floor beams, although it will have a concrete core.

Photo © Morphosis Architects


Photo © Rudinger Lainer and Partners

The Tall Wood Trend Continues With HoHo, Vienna, Breaking the 80-Meter Mark

After the precedent-setting, 54-meter TallWood House in Vancouver completed in 2017, the race was on to go even higher with timber. If completed to its planned 84-meter height, the HoHo in Vienna would be the tallest timber high-rise in the world. The CTBUH Tall Timber Working Group will be working on guidelines and criteria for this rapidly developing “new/old” technology throughout the year.


China Zun Tower Becomes Beijing’s Tallest Building, Continues Strong Office Trend in Nation

In 2017, China completed 82% of the all-office buildings 200 meters or greater. In 2018, that figure is expected to be around 68%. Among these will be the vase-shaped China Zun Tower set to complete in 2018, becoming Beijing’s tallest building at 528 meters. Compared to a typical straight or tapering supertall tower form, the concave tower profile offers more valuable prime-floor spaces. While the large top of the concave tower poses significant structural challenges, the larger base provides an opportunity for structural balance and preferred core-to-perimeter distances. The massive office building is the anchor of a new business district under construction along the capital’s Third Ring Road, where numerous towers are underway simultaneously.

Photo © KPF


Photo © BIG

Alberta Cities Pierce the Sky, Reinforce Downtown Live/Work Trends

The Canadian province of Alberta, known for its vast oilfields, flat ranchlands and dramatic mountains, will soon add more crown jewels to its urban centers. Edmonton will complete Stantec Tower, which at 251 meters would be the province’s tallest, while Calgary will complete Telus Sky, the first mixed-use building in the city to exceed 200 meters. Both of these will be mixed-use buildings with office, commercial retail, and residential components, as central business districts in downtowns that formerly slumbered after 5:00 p.m. are springing back to life as round-the-clock neighborhoods.


Baku Tower Puts Azerbaijan on the Map

In a part of the world that is gaining more global attention, after the 2017 Astana Expo and anticipation of the effects of the China Belt and Road Initiative, the skyline is beginning to reflect its strategic significance. In 2018, Baku Tower will complete in Azerbaijan, becoming the nation’s tallest building at 276 meters, surpassing the current record-holder, SOCAR Tower (196 meters).

Photo © SMTS, LLC


Photo © PACE Development

Bangkok’s MahaNakhon Observation Deck Joins Global Competition

Although the MahaNakhon base building completed in 2016, several elements had not yet opened at the end of 2017. The highly anticipated opening of the “SkyTray,” the public observation deck, is set for 2018. Reflecting the increasingly global competition between iconic buildings, of which the ever-advancing sophistication of observatories can be considered a proxy battle, the SkyTray will feature panoramic views, a cantilevered glass balcony extending outside the building, and a rooftop bar.


New London Plan’s Skyscraper Agenda Solidifies

A new Draft London Plan was issued by the London Mayor’s office in December 2017, which includes a specific policy on tall buildings, whose proliferance in the UK capital has caused much controversy. The ­­language will be presented to an Examination in Public (EiP) in autumn 2018, which involves review by both the national-level Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the London Assembly. If approved, the Plan will guide the metropolis’ policy on tall buildings for the period from 2019 to 2041.

Photo by kloniwotski (ccby-sa)


Photo by Ammar Shaker (ccby-sa)

World’s Future Tallest Building Will Already be a Supertall by CTBUH Conference

As CTBUH delegates converge upon the Middle East in late October for the 2018 Conference, several milestones will be achieved in the region’s tall building community. The Jeddah Tower, on its way up to 1,000-plus meters and taking the next title of “World’s Tallest Building,” will likely already have achieved supertall status (a height of more than 300 meters) while under construction, by the time it opens for tours by a contingent of lucky attendees.


Lakhta Center Becomes Europe’s Tallest Building

The Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, topped out in the last days of 2017, and is on track to become Russia’s and Europe’s tallest building when it completes this year. The 462-meter tower, which contains the headquarters of the utility Gazprom and is meant to resemble a natural-gas flame, would push aside the 374-meter Vostok Tower in Moscow out of the title role. Originally intended for the city center, the project was moved to the western fringe when controversy erupted over its potential impact on the historic central area.

Photo © Igor Butyrskii


Photo by giggel (ccby-sa)

Residential Function Becomes the Plurality for The First Time Ever

All-residential high-rise construction, notably dented during and after the 2008 recession, appears not only to be recovering, but by the end of 2018, could represent the plurality (largest proportion) of 200-plus-meter buildings completed for the first time in history. Current projections indicate a little more than a third of all 200-plus-meter completions to be comprised of all-residential buildings by the end of 2018. See here for CTBUH Criteria on classification of building functions.