Year of the skyscraper

More tall towers were built in 2014 than any other year

ANALYSIS, Business, 2014, Skyscraper

A record number of skyscrapers were completed in 2014 according to a survey by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Last year was the “tallest on record” with 97 high-rise structures of more than 200m completed – and 58 of these were in China. This dwarfed the country in second place, The Philippines, with five, according to the study. Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Centre office and residential towers were among the tallest completed, while Dubai saw The Building and Bay Gate listed.

Qatar matched the UAE with four completions. In Doha, City Gate Hotel, Merwebhotel City Centre, Shangri La Hotel and the International Islamic Tower all reached over 200m.

In all, the Middle East saw 11 new towers – 11.3% of those constructed across the world.

Two of these – Riyadh’s Burj Rafal and the Al Jawhara Tower in Jeddah – were in Saudi Arabia and the final tower was the 240m-high Crystal Tower office building in Kuwait City.

Tianjan, China, was the city with most skyscrapers built with a total of six, while 54 different cities saw new towers. The previous record year was 2011, when 81, 200m-plus structures were finished.

Report authors Daniel Safarik and Antony Wood said economic factors had some bearing on the 2014 figures.

“Now that six years have passed since the global economic crisis/recession began in 2008, and given the long gestation and construction periods common to tall buildings, we are almost certainly seeing a post-recessionary recovery,” they wrote.

They also analysed the geographical breakdown of the developments. “Clearly, the Chinese juggernaut has not yet run out of steam.”

“The country continues to see new 200-metre-plus completions in cities that previously had few or no such buildings, indicating that the massive plan to urbanise the country – requiring the urban relocation of some 250m people – is underway.”

Last year also saw the completion of 11 “supertalls” – skyscrapers with a height of 300m or greater. This includes the 300m Abeno Harukas in Osaka, which has become Japan’s tallest building, and Chile’s 300m Torre Costanera, the first supertall structure in South America.

The number of tall buildings being built this year could eclipse 2014’s record. The council expects between 105 and 130 skyscrapers to be completed in 2015 across the world, with China once again leading the way.

Tall storeys
• If all the skyscrapers completed last year were piled on top of one another they would reach 23km into the sky.

• Since the start of this decade, 46 supertalls have been completed, representing 54% of the supertalls that currently exist (85). The number of 200m and taller buildings in existence has hit 935, a 352% increase from 2000, when there were 266.

• The Middle East had 11 completions in 2014,down from a record 23 in 2011.Abu Dhabi and Dubai,each had two completions, including Abu Dhabi’s 381m World Trade Centre (pictured, above) – The Residences, which was the second-tallest building to complete worldwide in 2014. The adjacent building in the World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi Complex to complete was the 278m-high World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi – The Offices.

The UAE’s two-year run of having three of the world’s five tallest buildings completed in a given year was broken in 2014 by One World Trade Center in New York (the tallest of 2014), and construction in China. The other supertall to complete in the Middle East was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s Burj Rafal, at 380m.

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