Skyscrapers are high rise buildings that have more than 40 floors and are roughly taller than 150 meters. For a skyscraper to be classified as super-tall, they must be approximately 300 meters, and to be classified as mega-tall they must be at least 600 meters. Skyscrapers are unique pieces of engineering and architecture on their own, but here we are going to take a look at some of the most unique skyscrapers in the world.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Burj Khalifa is a stunning 829 meters tall and is currently the world’s tallest building, although no skyscrapers hold that title for very long. It has 211 floors and an astounding 3.3 million feet of floor space accompanied by 58 elevators. Burj Khalifa was designed by architect Adrian Smith of the Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill firm of Chicago, and the chief structural engineer was Bill Baker. Construction began in 2004 and was finalized in 2009 with an official opening date of January 2010. The building is home to an array of office space, a hotel, residences, and storefronts.
The Shard, London, England
The Shard is a uniquely styled spiral structure that is 309 meters high and has 95 floors. The Shard was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and has a variety of hotels, restaurants, bars, offices, and shops inside. Construction began in the spring of 2009 and the building was officially opened in 2013.
The Turning Torso, Malmo, Sweden
The Turning Torso skyscraper in Malmo, Sweden is a 54 story residential tower. The tower is 190 meters tall with a very unique structure that looks as though it is turning. The building is stationary but offers amazing views from the 49th floor. So far, the Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper of all five Nordic countries, as well as the first twisted skyscraper anywhere. The building was designed by Spanish architect and structural engineer Santiago Calatrava.
Kingdom Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Kingdom Centre, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has a very unique look that some have referred to as resembling a bottle opener. What would be the top of the “bottle opener” is actually a world-famous sky bridge. The building is 302 meters tall and is home to a 3,000-seat wedding hall, hotels, residences, a mall, and a mosque. The mosque on the 77th floor is currently the world’s highest mosque above sea level. The building was designed by Ellerbe Beckett and Omrania and Associates at the behest of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Construction began in 1999 and was completed in 2002.
Architecture and engineering are fields that are always evolving and, as they do, the race is on to build the next tallest and most unique skyscrapers around the world. At this point, it is rare for any one building to hold the title of the “tallest” skyscraper for more than a few years. However, knowing that they will only be the “tallest” for a short period of time seems to inspire the architects and engineers of the world to create even more unique designs as they move forward.