Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Top 12 Tall Building Predictions for 2016
The year is expected to be notable for a few hotly anticipated milestones and the emergence of several key trends in the tall building world. Here's a few we’ll be watching closely at CTBUH, and some predictions we’ve made based on our industry intelligence: View in Chinese
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View our Tall Happenings of 2015
January
Dubai Will Fight Fires with Jetpacks, Despite Skepticism
Dubai will potentially revolutionize its high-rise firefighting scheme when 20 jetpacks and two simulators are delivered to the city’s Civil Defense Authority. The jetpacks will be able to operate for up to 30 minutes at ranges between 30 and 50 kilometers and altitudes of up to 900 meters. While we aren’t hoping for any fires, it will be interesting to see if this new technology performs as intended. Many in the industry remain skeptical.
February
Torre Reforma Completes, Marking a Shift Away from a Generation of Tall Buildings with All-Glass Façades
When Mexico City’s Torre Reforma completes in early 2016, it will not only be Mexico’s tallest building, but will signal a major departure from conventional façade design. Its exterior eschews the typical glass curtain wall in favor of a structural concrete exterior on two sides, reducing the cooling load for the building by mitigating overall sun exposure. As tall buildings continue to embrace energy efficient design, the all-glass façade may indeed be losing its luster.
March
Developers Will Diversify Residential Offerings as Global Luxury Markets Saturate
The boom in luxury condominium towers is likely to slow down in 2016 as many of the biggest markets such as London, New York, and Dubai near saturation points. In New York, “Billionaires’ Row” has seen no major new proposals while some under-construction buildings have begun reconfiguring units to create more affordable condos. As the luxury boom slows, expect the rental apartment sector to gain steam with perhaps more emphasis on affordability.
April
Construction to Start on 22 Bishopsgate, London’s Next Tallest Office Building
The replacement for the ill-fated Pinnacle will begin construction in the City of London after planning permission was granted in November 2015. The 62-story, 278-meter building could become the tallest office building in the City, but it will fall short of The Shard, which stands at 306 meters just south of the Thames in Southwark. The City has seen a major windfall in tall building development in recent years, and the call by many for increased scrutiny on approvals is likely to continue.
May
Ping An Finance Center Completes, Creating a New Landmark
for Shenzhen, China

The Ping An Finance Center will become the second-tallest building in China and the tallest in Shenzhen when the 599-meter building completes in May, a year after topping out, according to CTBUH sources. It will also play host to a networking reception in Shenzhen at the CTBUH 2016 International Conference. Learn more about the design and construction of this fascinating building with Ping An Finance Center: In Detail from the CTBUH Webshop.
June
Cities to Debate Impact of Aviation Height Regulations
on Tall Buildings

Tall buildings have always caused headaches for aviation authorities, who are tasked with determining safe flight paths for takeoffs and landings near major cities. In 2015, a number of major projects in the United States, Australia, and China among other countries hinged on the approval of federal aviation authorities. As several of these disputes come to a head in the coming year, cities will begin to question the impact of these national dictums.
July
MahaNakhon Completes, Signifying Bangkok’s Global  Reemergence
At 314 meters, the pixilated MahaNakhon tower will be the tallest building in Bangkok and Thailand when it completes in June, after topping out in April 2015. The 75-story residential and hotel tower seeks to transform its surrounding neighborhood, interplaying with a nearby mixed-use building that establishes an inviting public atmosphere at ground level. As Bangkok’s premier development, it is poised to announce the cities presence on a global stage as investment continues to pour into Thailand’s capital.
August
Construction to Start at One Vanderbilt Place, Set to Transform Midtown Manhattan
In August, construction is expected to begin on One Vanderbilt Place. Although plans for the 64-story building were approved back in May of 2015, the high-rise will have a longer construction period than most given its complex relationship to Grand Central Station and the number of legal challenges it has faced thus far. To learn more about the tower’s journey to construction, check out the free CTBUH Research Paper One Vanderbilt: Approving Midtown’s Tallest Office Building.
September
Warsaw Spire Will Open, Bringing New Life to the City’s Commercial District
Warsaw Spire will be the tallest building to complete in Poland since the Stalinist Palace of Culture and Science in 1955. As the highest profile development among a group of recently completed and under-construction skyscrapers in the Polish capital, its completion will demonstrate the capacity of Warsaw and Poland’s economy amid steady economic growth. The skyscraper development also includes the first new public square in the city since the end of World War II.
October
CTBUH Conference Will Be Held to High Acclaim in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong
This is perhaps the easiest prediction to make: from October 16–21, CTBUH will host its International Conference in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. Titled “Cities to Megacities: Shaping Dense Vertical Urbanism,” the conference will examine the changing needs of cities as intense urbanization transforms municipalities into larger conurbations. This will be the first CTBUH conference to visit multiple cities in a region.
November
Full Scale Testing to Begin on MULTI Elevators after Completion
of Rottweil Test Tower

With the completion of the 246-meter Rottweil Test Tower – one of the tallest structures in Germany – ThyssenKrupp will begin full-scale testing on its MULTI elevator technology. The transformative vertical transportation technology is set to redefine the way that elevator systems are implemented in skyscrapers. Using magnetic technology, elevators will be placed on tracks that can run vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. A 1:3 scale model of MULTI was unveiled in Spain in November 2015.
December
New Cities Emerge as Skyscraper Hotspots as Global Construction Surges
While traditional skyscraper cities such as New York, Shanghai, and Dubai will continue to grow their skylines, a number of other cities will emerge as global skyscraper hotspots in 2016. Istanbul will raise its number of 150-plus-meter skyscraper by nearly a third in 2016 as ten new skyscrapers are expected to complete. Similarly, Hanoi will add three 150-plus-meter skyscrapers to a skyline that currently only has four such buildings.