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World’s 3 Tallest Buildings


I remember standing in front of the South African Reserve Bank’s head office in Church Street in Pretoria a few years ago thinking “this is such a tall building”. This building is only 38 stories high and the highest building decorating the Pretoria city skyline.

In South Africa, both Pretoria and Johannesburg have their fair share of tall buildings. Beside the Reserve Bank Pretoria has the 38 storey ABSA Building (in Pretorius Steet) and the 26 storey Telkom Towers (in Proes Street). You can find a list of Pretoria’s tall buildings here.

The 50 storey Carlton Center (the tallest building in South Africa and Africa) is located in the Johannesburg CBD. The Ponte City Apartment building in Johannesburg has 54 floors and is the 2nd highest building in the city. Johannesburg has various buildings with more than 30 storeys. You can find a list of them here. This might look huge to most South Africans but it’s actually not tall at all compared to global standards. Brace yourself for some huge buildings because this post will cover the 3 tallest buildings in the world.

Shanghai World Financial Center: Located in Shanghai, China. This is the 3rd tallest building in the world. The SWFC (for short) is used for office, hotel, museum, observation, parking garage and retail purposes. Construction started in 1997 and was completed in 2008. The building has 101 storeys, 33 elevators and 31 escalators. The building is 492 metres (1,614 feet) tall. The building hosts 3 observation decks, 1 at 432m, 1 at 439m and 1 at 474m. The Shanghai World Financial Center was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. The most distinctive feature in the design of the building is an aperture at the peak.

Taipei 101: Located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. It’s known as the first skyscraper ever to break the 500 metre (half a kilometre) mark. The Taipei 101 building stands 509 metres tall and has 101 storeys. The building was constructed between 1999 and 2004. The Tapei 101 building is used for communication, conference, fitness center, library, observation, office, restaurant and retail purposes.

The Tapei 101 double-deck elevators set a new record in 2004 for reaching top ascending speeds of 16.83 meters per second / 60 km/h. The elevators sweep visitors from the 5th floor to the 89th floor observatory in only 37 seconds. The building has 2 observatories, 1 on the 91st floor (Outdoors) and 1 on the 89th floor (Indoors). The Taipei 101 building has held the record for the world’s tallest building since 2004. It was also the first “world’s tallest building” to be constructed in the new millennium. Two restaurants have opened on the 85th floor of the building. Another restaurant occupies the 86th floor of the building. Newsweek Magazine has named the building as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.

The Burj, Dubai: Under construction since September 2004 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and due to be completed in December 2009. When completed the Burj Dubai will be the world’s tallest man made structure ever built. It will stand an incredible 818 metres (2,684 feet) tall. On the 1st of October 2009 it was announced that the exterior of the building was complete. The Burj Dubai currently holds the record for the tallest freestanding structure ever built, the building with most floors (160) and the world’s highest elevator installation.

The Burj Dubai will also feature the world’s fastest elevators (travelling at 64 km/h). Samsung Engineering & Construction, a South Korean company which also built the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and the Taipei 101 in Tapei, Taiwan is behind the construction of the Burj Dubai. The project for the building has an estimated budget of $4.1 billion. I wouldn’t seeing this structure when it’s finally fully completed. I’m doubtful that we’ll ever see such a high skyscraper in South Africa or on the African continent. Maybe someone will build a 1 km high skyscraper in another city, who knows?

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  1. As the world of Science and Technology spirals out of control each day, it is interesting to note that the World of Architecture is not left behind.The Taipei 101 was completed in 2004, and yet interestingly, it only held the record for the ‘Tallest Building in the World’ for only held that record for less than 5 years as it was overtaken by Burj Dubai(Burj Khalifa).

    It would be interesting if you covered the ‘Worlds most beautiful Mega-structures’ To begin with, personally, I’d mention our very own Soccer City in Johannesburg South Africa. Not even the Europeans have a building as beautiful, and as large as the ‘FNB Stadium’ (except that Stadium in Barcelona)


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