Asia has a pretty commanding lead over countries in Europe and the Americas in the race to build vertically. Strong developments in building technology and a surfeit of construction projects in Asia make the title of ‘the tallest building’ more temporary than ever. It will be just a matter of time when Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, will eventually be eclipsed by a new list of skyscrapers that are currently under construction.
There are many tall buildings on the drawing board likely to be completed in the next couple of years. The current race to raise the skylines around the world is also becoming more intense. But the quest for prestige by erecting the world’s tallest structure is nothing new.
That ambition has been around since the Tower of Babel, a mythological tower described in the bible as a structure built in Babylonia. Even the 381m tall Empire State Building built in 1931 and KL’s very own Petronas Twin Towers (452m) completed in 1998 have once held the coveted title in their respective days.
In fact, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright once pictured a mile-high skyscraper at 1,600m set on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago back in 1950s. The project, named The Illinois, was never constructed, even though the legendary Wright insisted that it could have been done with the materials and designs of his day. Many of his vision and principles have found their way into today’s blueprint, especially with the soon-to-be tallest building in the world – Jeddah Tower – which was initially set to reach a mile in height, but was shortened due to site limitations.
Malaysians will also have something new to be proud of when the Merdeka PNB118 is completed in 2021. Initially scheduled to finish by 2020 to commemorate Vision 2020 set by the fourth and current Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the project is an ambitious effort for Malaysia to reinstate itself as one of the leading countries in the ASEAN region since its glorious days in the late 1990s. Merdeka PNB118 will also feature an exciting urban integration with a prestigious hotel and two historic stadiums – Stadium Negara and Stadium Merdeka – which will be incorporated into the new blueprints.
As groundwork continues and the towers erected floor by floor, these mega-skyscrapers are slowly building momentum as world’s tallest. Here are the eight tallest buildings in development around the world.