CTBUH: tallest 20 in 2020
By CTBUH, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
In 2012, CTBUH published a research paper titled Tallest 20 in 2020: Era of the Megatall – The Projected World’s Tallest 20 Skyscrapers in the Year 2020. Though it was only eight years ago, the pace of change in the tall building world at the time was such that 2020 seemed like a distant lodestar in the future – but it has now arrived. The CTBUH Research and Editorial teams reviewed the projections we made in 2012, the assumptions that guided them, and the roller-coaster reality of what has come hence.
The focus of issue 5/2020 of Elevatori Magazine is dedicated to the analysis of the CTBUH document. Here we publish the in-depth coverage of each of the 20 skyscrapers examined.
What Happened to the Predicted Tallest 20 in 2020?
1,000+ meters, Jeddah – Beginning construction in 2013, the project has experienced numerous construction delays and has not yet been completed. News reports peg a “topping out” by the end of 2020, but it is unclear when completion may finally happen. Nevertheless, if it were completed in 2020 or at any time in the foreseeable future, it would still stand to earn the title of “World’s Tallest Building” by a considerable margin.
2. Burj Khalifa
828 metri, Dubai –
828 meters, Dubai – The Burj, completed in 2010, became the World’s Tallest Building at that time and retains the title today. Its iconic status has driven much development around its periphery, delivering value above and beyond the building itself. Its grand opening was in January 2010, which coincided with a name change from “Burj Dubai” after Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan provided financial assistance to finish the project. It was declared the World’s Tallest Building by the Council in March 2010.
640 meters, Seoul – In 2012, the contractor that had intended to construct the building failed to pay for the land plot, and the project was scrapped. Discussions have been ongoing since 2015 to restart the project, potentially with a shorter tower.
630 meters, Jakarta – Multiple design changes and failed geotechnical/hydrological tests caused delays initially. The project eventually received design approval from local authorities in 2015, and approval for construction in 2017. However, it was still short some $1.7 billion in funding, and remains stalled.
632 meters, Shanghai – While Shanghai Tower didn’t break ground until 29 November 2008, plans for a tower on the Lujiazui financial district site emerged as early as 1993, with a group of three towers; Jin Mao Tower (1999) and Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) (2008) comprising the two “sisters” of a “three sisters” tower plan. Shanghai Tower completed in 2015, but had trouble attracting tenants prior to obtaining the necessary permits from the local fire department, and the consequent official occupancy permit, which was eventually obtained in June 2017.
476 meters, Wuhan – Originally expected to surpass 600 meters, and to top out in 2016, the tower’s height was later reduced to under 500 meters, due to aviation restrictions. It is currently difficult to predict a final completion date, due to the developer’s failure to make payments to the contractor. In October 2019, the contractor removed all its workers from the site until the dispute could be settled.
601 meters, Mecca – Originally planned to reach 734 meters in 2006, the final 601-meter height was revealed in 2009. Construction began in 2002, following the controversial demolition of the historic 18th-century Ottoman Ajyad Fortress on the site. Throughout construction, several delays occurred, including two fires in 2008 and 2009 that impacted the construction schedule.
597 meters, Tianjin – Starting construction in 2009, and topping out in 2015, the tower was expected to complete in 2016. Construction has stagnated since, with financial struggles affecting the developer due to difficulties leasing space in advance of completion. Rumors continue to circulate that Goldin lost ownership of the building after the company was privatized in 2016, but these claims have been denied.
555 meters, Seoul – Lotte World Tower was completed in 2017 and currently ranks as the world’s fifth-tallest building.
551 meters, Doha – The Doha Convention Center Tower was proposed in 2005, began construction in 2007, and stopped construction in 2012, reportedly because it was discovered the building would impact flight paths for Doha International Airport. Only its foundations were completed, and the site remains empty.
541 meters, New York City – The largest source of controversy during the realization of One World Trade Center was the redesign of its spire, originally set to be enclosed with a “radome” and have a smooth appearance, to instead have a spindlier look, with telecom equipment exposed. This provoked the biggest media moment in CTBUH history, when the Height Committee ruled, to much controversy, that the object atop the building was in fact a spire, and would thus be considered in the calculation of its architectural height, which affixes its rank as the world’s sixth-tallest building today.
530 meters, Guangzhou – The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre was completed in 2017, and is currently tied with its sister building, Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, for the rank of world’s seventh-tallest building.
530 meters, Tianjin – Tianjin CTF Finance Centre was completed in 2019, and is currently tied with its sister building, Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, for the rank of world’s seventh-tallest building. It is the 2020 CTBUH Award of Excellence winner for the Best Tall Building 400 meters and Above category.
516 meters, Dubai – Originally expected to complete in 2013, construction stopped in August 2011 due to the global financial crisis, when its developer, Trident International Holdings, fell behind on payments for a $20.4 million loan. The Dubai Land Department is still seeking a serious developer interested in taking over the project.
18. Taipei 101
508 meters, Taipei – Taipei 101 was completed in 2004, replacing the Petronas Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur as the World’s Tallest Building. It held the title until 2010, when it was replaced by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
500 meters, Shenzhen – Shortly after site preparation began, the project was abandoned in 2013, after details of the transfer of land use rights were released. A reduction in height down to 450 meters came in 2014, per local authorities. New developers began bidding on the site in 2015. Construction began again in 2016, but with a significant height reduction, with the building now planned to rise to between 200 and 260 meters.
492 meters, Shanghai – Although construction of the Shanghai World Financial Center began in August 1997, it halted shortly thereafter due to the Asian financial crisis. Only the foundations had been completed at that point. The project began construction again, six years later, in 2003, but underwent some major design changes after critics said the 50-meter-diameter hole through the tower’s peak resembled Japan’s “rising sun” flag. The building had been developed by a Japanese company. The circular cut-out was replaced in favor of a trapezoidal slot.