2020: The year of the mega tall

Less than a decade from 598m average building height

While 2010 and 2011 marked the beginning of the ‘super tall’ era the record looks set to be surpassed within the decade, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats.

According to the body, 2020 will see the bar doubled with eight buildings around the world, predicted to reach at least 600 metres into the sky.

The news comes only two years to the month since the record for the world’s highest building was smashed with the official launch of the 828 metre Burj Khalifa. It took the title from Taipei’s 508 metre Taipei 101, which during the ‘mega tall’ era will drop to 18th place.

Significantly, it will be the first time the top ten has been entirely located in the Middle and Far East. The new top 20 is location in 15 cities across seven countries, with five located in the Middle East: Kingdom Tower, Burj Khalifa, Makkah Clocktower, Doha Convention Centre and Tower and Dubai’s Pentominium.

Next year, in 2013, the new One World Trade Centre Tower in New York will become the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, at 541 metres.

“With over 1.3 billion citizens and a rapidly urbanising populations, China is perhaps the country with the most obvious reason for building tall. The Chinese projects show great diversity in location, spread acrtoss seven cities. Shenzhen’s Ping An Finance Centre is already under construction and scheduled to complete in 2015,” said newly appointed CTBUH chair Tim Johnson.

“Obviously a motivating factor in all the Middle East projects is to push the boundaries of technology and accomplish feats never before imagined,” Johnson added.

In 2000 the average height of new builds stood at 375m; in 2010 it was 439m and in 2020 the average height is set to reach 598m. Despite the rising trend, there are currently only 61 buildings in existence, topping the 300m mark – the CTBUH threshold for a ‘super tall’.

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