Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Tallest Buildings Completed in 2010

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2010 The Most Successful Year of Skyscraper Completion in History; China in the Ascendancy

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In a year dominated by news coverage of the new “World’s Tallest Building” – Burj Khalifa, Dubai – one may be surprised to learn that, besides being the year in which a building first surpassed the 600, 700, and 800-meter thresholds, 2010 has seen the completion of more skyscrapers than any previous year in history. CTBUH annual data (see Figure 2) illustrates that 66 buildings with a height of 200+ meters (656 feet) were completed in 2010 (breaking the previous record, set in 2007, of 48 buildings completed).

Figure 1. Skyline of the 20 Tallest Buildings completed in 2010.  © CTBUH
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Including the Burj Khalifa, eight supertalls (buildings over 300 meters / 984 feet in height) were completed in 2010 – again, more than any other single year in history. Four of these supertalls are over 400 meters in height, placing them as the 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th tallest buildings in the world (see Supplemental Info). That constitutes a 40% change in the world’s tallest ten in the course of a single year! This has not occurred since 1930 when, led by New York’s Chrysler Building, four US buildings were added to the tallest ten list. There are now, with 2010’s eight additions, 50 supertalls around the world in total.

Figure 2. Tall buildings 200 meters or taller completed each year, 1960–2012. © CTBUH 
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China tops the list of countries with the most 200m + buildings completed in 2010, with a total of 21, three of which are among the tallest five completed (see Figure 3). The UAE comes in second (with 14) due primarily to the towers completed in the city of Dubai, which took the top spot for most 200m + buildings completed in a single city with 11 (see Figure 4). The US continues to decline in its skyscraper construction, accounting for only 9% of buildings in 2010 (compared to 21% in 2009). The USA also barely breaks into the tallest 20 this year, with The Legacy, Chicago at number 19. This is in stark contrast to the tallest buildings completed just one year prior, when US buildings took the 1st, 3rd, and 5th tallest spots in 2009 (Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago (1); Bank of America Tower, New York (2); Aqua, Chicago (5)).

Figure 3. Tall buildings 200 meters or taller completed in 2010: by Country. © CTBUH
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Figure 4. Tall buildings 200 meters or taller completed in 2010: by City. © CTBUH
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“As has been predicted for numerous years, the century of the Asian skyscraper is now firmly with us, with China in particular in the ascendancy,” said CTBUH Chairman Professor Sang Dae Kim of Korea. “The tall building world has changed significantly from what it was even just 20 years ago. In complete contrast to then, now the tallest buildings in the world are likely to be located in Asia, be residential or mixed-use in function, and be of concrete or composite structure." These trends are clearly evidenced in the tallest buildings completed in 2010 (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. Tall buildings 200 meters or taller completed in 2010: by Region, Function and Structural Material. ©CTBUH
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While 2010 was a very strong year for skyscraper construction, it was not as strong as originally anticipated, as the pace of construction slowed during the economic recession. Numerous seminal projects expected to complete during the year did not do so. This means that 2011 and possibly even 2012 are expected to outpace the record year of 2010 for buildings over 200 meters completed.

“There is an obvious irony between these new towers hitting the market and the state of numerous regional financial markets,” said CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood.
“Though skyscraper completion in 2011/2012 will likely continue the upward trend, we are almost certainly going to see a dip in the global numbers in the immediate two or three years after that.”

The Twenty Tallest Buildings Completed in 2010

Building Name City Height* Global Ranking**
1. Burj Khalifa Dubai 828 m (2,717 ft) 1
2. International Commerce Centre Hong Kong 484 m (1,588 ft) 4
3. Nanjing Greenland Financial Center Nanjing 450 m (1,476 ft) 7
4. Guangzhou International Finance Center Guangzhou 438 m (1,435 ft) 9
5. The Index Dubai 326 m (1,070 ft) 29
6. HHHR Tower Dubai 318 m (1,042 ft) 35
7. Ocean Heights Dubai 310 m (1,017 ft) 37
8. Capital City Moscow Tower Moscow 302 m (989 ft) 48
9. Sky Tower Abu Dhabi  292 m (959 ft) 58
10. Excellence Century Plaza Tower 1 Shenzhen 288 m (945 ft) 44
11. Sulafa Tower Dubai 285 m (935 ft) 66
12. Shanghai Wheelock Square Shanghai 270 m (886 ft) 82
13. Hotel JAL Tower Dubai 269 m (883 ft) 89
14. Bitexco Financial Tower Ho Chi Minh City 269 m (882 ft) 91
15. Istanbul Sapphire Istanbul 261 m (856 ft) 109
16. Lanko International Complex Yage Tower Chongqing 258 m (846 ft) 122
17. Capital City St. Petersburg Tower Moscow 257 m (843 ft) 126
18. Excellence Century Plaza Tower 2 Shenzhen 250 m (820 ft) 143
19. The Legacy at Millennium Park Chicago 249 m (818 ft) 150
20. Hwaseong Dongtan Metapolis 101 Hwaseong 249 m (817 ft) 155
*Height figures and rankings are based on a measurement of “Height to Architectural Top” as defined by the official CTBUH Height Criteria. Read more on CTBUH height definitions.
**Global Rankings are as of December 31, 2010.

Figure 6. Tallest 20 Buildings Completed in 2010 – Height comparative diagram © CTBUH
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A complete list of all buildings completed in 2010 over 200 meters (656 feet) as well as further details and images of the tallest 20 can be found in the Supplemental PDF.  For high resolution images of CTBUH graphics please contact