2017: The Year of the Skyscrapers

According to the annual report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), 2017 is the year that the most number of skyscrapers (buildings measuring over 200 meters) was completed.

Overall, 144 high-rise buildings were completed around the world in a total of 28 countries. More than 75% of the 144 towers built in 2017 were in the East while 10% were in North America. Middle East projects contributed a 6.3%. Europe ranked fourth with 2.8% buildings completed being on par with Latin America’s construction of 2.8% as well. Oceania reached 1.4% of the total with Africa 0.7%.

2017 beat previous records including 2016’s 127 completions. This increased the world’s 200-meter-plus buildings to 1,319 structures, a 12.3% increase from 2016. Fifteen supertall buildings (300 meters or higher) were completed in 2017 bring the total number of supertalls worldwide to 126 from 11 in 2016. The 2017 data represents an increase of 66% in just four years.

Number of Tall Building Completed Compared by Year courtesy of CTBUH

Asia Dominates

Most of the 144 structures were built in China — a specific 53% of the 144 towers are all found in China. In fact, the Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen made it as 2017’s highest skyscraper at 600 meters and now ranks 4th overall in the tallest building records. Another tower from the same city made it to the top 10 list as well — Hon Kwok City Center in Shenzhen at 329 meters. Three more towers from China made it to the top 10 tallest towers to be completed in 2017 — the Yuexiu Fortune Center in Wuhan at 330 meters, Yantai Shimao n°1 The Harbour in Yantai at 323 meters, and Zhuhai Saint Regis Tower in Zhuhai at 323 meters.

The Ping An Financial Center towering over Shenzhen, China as 2017’s tallest skyscraper built. Image courtesy of KPF.

Dubai places three of their high-rises in the ranking of the ten tallest buildings (2017) — Marina 101 places as last year’s 3rd at 425 meters, The Address Boulevard as 4th at 370 meters, and Ahmed Abdul Rahim al Attar Tower as 5th at 342 meters. Marina 101 gets the honorary title, world’s tallest residential building. The Burj Khalifa still holds the record for the tallest skyscraper in the world. However, this record will be beaten soon by the Kingdom Tower of Jeddah whose completion will be in 2019.

Seoul wins a beautiful 2nd place with its Lotte World Tower that is reminiscent of London’s The Shard. It towers at 555 meters with 123 floors.

The only building from the West that made it to the list is the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles placing 6th place at 335 meters. Europe did not make the cut at all.

List and image courtesy of CTBUH

2017 Building Statistics

Based on the same report by CTBUH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat), of the total skyscrapers in the world, 38.9% of these buildings are purely tertiary towers — meaning they’re all purely service sector buildings. Housing towers account for 34% while mixed-use towers including hotels account for 27.1%.

More than half (51.4%) of these structures were all designed mainly in concrete. While 47.2% were made with composite or hybrid solutions, mixed concrete and steel. 1.4% were 100% metal turns, which is pretty rare.

2018 Forecast

As indicated by the CTBUH, they project between 130 and 160 buildings of 200-meters-plus to be completed in 2018. Between 12 to 20 of these buildings are expected to be supertall structures (300-meters-plus). However, with the increasing volatility in an interconnected economy and global industry, reality can deviate from the forecast.

But with evolving construction technology and the digitalisation of processes and workflows advancing the construction industry, it seems that digitalisation will balance out the economic volatility. Embracing new technologies is creating better and stronger construction. When it comes to tall and supertall buildings, digitalisation and building information modelling (BIM) creates better quality structures while avoiding cost and time overruns. More adoption of these technologies in 2018 indicates a better year for skyscrapers.

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