How to measure buildings
To determine the height of buildings, which are defined on this list as structures where people live or work, first, we have to come up with the criteria. Most official measurements, such as those by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), use architectural height, from the sidewalk entrance to the top, including spires but not including antennae or flagpoles. Also, the number of floors may be different than the floors’ actual numbers – some buildings skip unlucky numbers, or use letters, such as floor 42A in addition to floor 42. In addition, our list only includes buildings that were completed and opened by the time of publication – several new buildings are set to take their place when they open their doors in the near future.
1. Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has held the title of tallest building in the world since 2010, when it was created as part of the shopping and entertainment district of Downtown Dubai. At 828 metres tall, the building also has the highest number of floors, 163. The Burj Khalifa mainly houses a hotel and luxury residences, but visitors can visit several observation decks and a lounge at floor 154. Tickets to visit the highest observation deck in the world, at floor 148, start at about $103. But the Burj Khalifa is set to be eclipsed as the tallest building in the world when the 1000-metres Jeddah Tower, currently under construction in Saudi Arabia, is completed in 2021.
2. Shanghai Tower
The tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world, Shanghai Tower was opened in 2017. Along with Jin Mao Tower (#23 tallest) and Shanghai World Financial Center (#10 tallest), the three buildings are the centrepiece of the city’s financial district. For one of the most populated cities on earth – and growing – Shanghai may benefit from expanding upwards. At 631.8 metres and 128 floors, this “vertical city” is a mix of offices, shopping, dining, an observatory located on the 118th floor, and even a museum. Rates to go up start at around $27.