Visualizing the Size of the World’s Tallest Buildings

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Background

The skylines of different cities have always been defined by those in power during every period in history. There was a time when churches left their mark, followed by public institutions, and in the last few decades, commercial skyscrapers have been continuing to stand taller and taller. A lot of buildings throughout the history of architecture have claimed the title of the tallest building in the world. Some of these include the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in New York, as well as the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

However, the “race to the sky” is a tough competition that is continuously being overtaken by more adventurous building enterprises through the years as materials and possibilities for engineering become more and more advanced. The tallest buildings in the world are considered engineering and architectural wonders. They stand as symbols of human achievement and progress.

From soaring skyscrapers in busy urban centers to towering spires in remote parts of the world, these buildings have become icons of the modern era. In this article, we are going to give you more information about the tallest buildings in the world and provide you with interesting size comparisons for you to visualize just how tall they really are.

The Tallest Buildings in the World

The Tallest Buildings in the World

What is the tallest building that you have seen in person? How do you think it would feel to be in one of the tallest buildings in the world? That would be a very memorable experience, right? In this part of the article, we are going to discuss the striking skyscrapers that represent the evolution of technology and modernity. Below are the tallest buildings in the world:

The Tallest Buildings in the World

Building

Location

Year Completed

Height

Number of Floors

Burj Khalifa

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2010

2,717 feet

163 (+1 below ground)

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai, China

2015

2,073 feet

128 (+5 below ground)

Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

2012

1,972 feet

120 (+3 below ground)

Ping An International Finance Center

Shenzhen, China

2017

1,966 feet

115 (+5 below ground)

Lotte World Tower

Seoul, South Korea

2017

1,819 feet

123 (+6 below ground)

One World Trade Center

New York City, United States

2014

1,776 feet

94 (+5 below ground)

Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre

Guangzhou, China

2016

1,739 feet

111 (+5 below ground)

Tianjin CTF Finance Centre

Tianjin, China

2019

1,739 feet

97 (+4 below ground)

CITIC Tower (China Zun)

Beijing, China

2018

1,731 feet

109 (+8 below ground)

Taipei 101

Taipei, Taiwan

2004

1,667 feet

101 (+5 below ground)

Burj Khalifa

the Burj Khalifa building along with other skyscrapers in Dubai, UAE 

Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world. It is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It stands at the height of 2,717 feet. It features 163 floors plus one below ground. Burj Khalifa opened in January 2010. [1] It comprises several luxury apartments, high-end hotels, corporate suites, and fine-dining restaurants. It has the highest observation deck and the tallest service elevator in the world.

Shanghai Tower

the Shanghai skyline and cityscape

The second tallest building in the world is Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China. Its construction began in 1997 and was completed in 2015 as it was put on hold several times because of funding issues. It stands at the height of 2,073 feet with 128 floors plus five below ground. It features the second-fastest elevator in the world, with a speed of 20.5 meters per second. [1] This building was designed by Gensler, an international firm, and is owned by the Shanghai Municipal Government. Shanghai Tower is formed with nine cylindrical buildings, and each of them has gorgeous cafes, gardens, and retail spaces. These zones are encased in a glass façade and form one structure.

Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower

the Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia

The third tallest building in the world is found in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower. Its construction was started in 2004, and it was completed in 2012, which took about six years. A Lebanese architecture firm called Dar Al-Handasah designed the building. It stands at the height of 1,972 feet with 120 floors plus three below the ground. It is also the most expensive building in the world, as its construction cost was $15 billion. It is also the largest building on the planet in terms of its floor area, which is 1,500,00 m2. [1] It is also the largest clock face in the world.

Ping An International Finance Center

the Ping An International Finance Center building, tallest in Shenzhen 

The Ping An International Finance Center is the fourth tallest building in the world. It stands at the height of 1,966 feet with 115 floors plus five below the ground. [1] It was opened in 2017 and was titled the tallest building in Shenzhen and the tallest in China. It has around 100 office floors apart from a conference and retail podium. It can accommodate around 15,500 workers and around 9,000 visitors. This building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, which is a New York-based architectural firm. It also has a façade composed of glass and stainless steel.

Lotte World Tower

the Lotte World Tower in South Korea

The fifth tallest building in the world is the Lotte World Tower or the Lotte World of Seoul in South Korea. It stands at the height of 1,819 feet and has 123 floors plus six below the ground. [1] It features the world’s largest indoor theme park, luxury hotels, an outdoor park, shopping malls, theaters, and a Korean folk museum. It is also the tallest building in South Korea. It was also designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. It is a mixed-use development. From the 76th to 101st floors, it features the Lotte Hotel. There are also residences from the 42nd to the 71st floor. The rest of the floors are used for office space.

One World Trade Center

the One World Trade Center or Freedom Tower in New York

The sixth tallest building in the world is the One World Trade Center or also known as the Freedom Tower. It is the main building of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York. In the Western Hemisphere, One World Trade Center is the tallest building, standing at a height of 1,776 feet. [1] It has a total of 71 elevators that can travel 23 miles per hour. This means that it only takes 60 seconds to go up to the 102nd floor from the ground floor.

Guangzhou CTF Finance Center

The Guangzhou West Tower in China stands at the height of 1,739 feet, and it is the seventh tallest building in the world. [1] It features 111 floors of housing offices, residential space, hotels, and a conference area. It has an observation deck on its 111th floor, which is just a bit lower than Burj Khalifa’s deck. This building was constructed in 2010 and was completed in 2016.

Tianjin CTF Finance Center

There is another seventh tallest building in the world, which is the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre in China. It also stands at the height of 1,739 feet. It has 97 floors that house A-class offices, a five-star hotel, and luxury serviced apartments. It is the second tallest building in Tianjin, next to Goldin Finance 117. [1] The building is amazingly constructed with curving glass that integrates sloping mega-columns.

CITIC Tower

CITIC Tower, the highest building in Beijing

CITIC Tower or sometimes called China Zun, is also one of the tallest buildings in the world. It is located in Beijing, China, and stands at the height of 1,731 feet. [1] It features 109 floors and eight more below the ground. It is used for different purposes, such as for office spaces, luxury apartments, and a hotel.

Taipei 101

a beautiful view of Taipei 101 in Taiwan

Another one of the tallest buildings in the world is Taipei 101 in Taiwan. It was formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center. It was renamed Taipei 101 due to its 101 floors. It stands at the height of 1,667 feet. [1] It has offices, retail shops, and the world’s two fastest elevators. Taipei 101 is the first building that beat the record of the world’s highest building in 2003, which the Burj Khalifa in Dubai later exceeded. This building is also the tallest sundial in the world and was honored as the tallest green building in the world.

Visualizing The Size of The Tallest Buildings Through Object Comparisons

looking up at high buildings

The world has indeed seen a remarkable surge in the construction of towering buildings. From the tallest skyscrapers to soaring spires, these structures represent some of the most impressive accomplishments of architecture and engineering in human history. But have you ever wondered just how big these buildings are? How do you think their sizes compare to the different objects around us?

In this part of the article, we are going to explore and visualize the size of the tallest buildings in the world by comparing them to a variety of different objects. This aims to provide you with a better sense of just how tall these structures really are.

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Pencils

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Pencils

A standard No. 2 pencil is 7.5 inches or 0.625 feet long, from the end of the eraser to the unsharpened tip. [3] Imagine stacking the pencils vertically. How many pencils do you need to match the height of the tallest buildings in the world? Take a look at the graphic below:

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to a Stack of Pencils

*a standard pencil is 7.5 inches long (0.625 foot)
Building Height How many pencils stacked on top of one another
Burj Khalifa 2,717 feet 4,347 pencils
Shanghai Tower 2,073 feet 3,316 pencils
Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower 1,972 feet 3,155 pencils
Ping An International Finance Center 1,966 feet 3,145 pencils
Lotte World Tower 1,819 feet 2,910 pencils
One World Trade Center 1,776 feet 2,841 pencils
Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 2,782 pencils
Tianjin CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 2,782 pencils
CITIC Tower (China Zun) 1,731 feet 2,769 pencils
Taipei 101 1,667 feet 2,667 pencils

To reach the height of Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world, you will need to stack around 4,347 pencils vertically. It surely would take too many pencils for this comparison. That is just how tall these buildings really are.

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Mailboxes

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Mailboxes

A mailbox is a common object that most of us see every day. Based on the United States Postal Service, a standard mailbox is 45 inches or 3.75 feet tall. [3] Let us also try to visualize them stacked one on top of another to reach the heights of the tallest buildings in the world. How many do you think we need to stack? Check out the graphic below:

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to a Stack of Mailboxes

*A standard mailbox, as dictated by the United States Postal Service, is 45 inches—or 3.75 feet—tall.
Building Height How many mailboxes stacked on top of one another
Burj Khalifa 2,717 feet 725 mailboxes
Shanghai Tower 2,073 feet 553 mailboxes
Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower 1,972 feet 526 mailboxes
Ping An International Finance Center 1,966 feet 524 mailboxes
Lotte World Tower 1,819 feet 485 mailboxes
One World Trade Center 1,776 feet 474 mailboxes
Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 464 mailboxes
Tianjin CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 464 mailboxes
CITIC Tower (China Zun) 1,731 feet 462 mailboxes
Taipei 101 1,667 feet 445 mailboxes

If your mailbox at home is 3.75 feet tall, you will need to stack around 725 of them in order to match the height of Burj Khalifa and 553 to reach the height of Shanghai Tower. They are super high, right?

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Standard Refrigerators

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Standard Refrigerators

The refrigerator is probably one of the tallest appliances in most homes. A standard refrigerator may stand from 62 to 72 inches or 5 to 6 feet tall. [4] How many refrigerators stacked on top of one another are needed to reach the height of the tallest buildings in the world? Take a look at the graphic below:

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to a Stack of Standard Refrigerators

*A standard refrigerator can have a maximum height of 72 inches or 6 feet
Building Height How many standard refrigerators stacked on top of one another
Burj Khalifa 2,717 feet 453 standard refrigerators
Shanghai Tower 2,073 feet 346 standard refrigerators
Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower 1,972 feet 329 standard refrigerators
Ping An International Finance Center 1,966 feet 327 standard refrigerators
Lotte World Tower 1,819 feet 303 standard refrigerators
One World Trade Center 1,776 feet 296 standard refrigerators
Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 289 standard refrigerators
Tianjin CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 289 standard refrigerators
CITIC Tower (China Zun) 1,731 feet 288 standard refrigerators
Taipei 101 1,667 feet 277 standard refrigerators

If you own a refrigerator that is 6 feet tall, you will need to stack 453 of them on top of one another to match the height of Burj Khalifa and 277 refrigerators to reach the height of Taipei 101. That is way too many refrigerators!

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Street Lamp Posts

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Street Lamp Posts

When you walk outdoors, particularly in the city or in your neighborhood, you will notice street lamp posts. These keep the streets well-lit during the evening. A common street lamp post is usually 9 to 14 feet tall in order to provide enough light on the streets without excessive glare. [5] How many street lamp posts this high do you think need to be stacked to match the height of the tallest buildings in the world? Take a look at the graphic below:

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to a Stack of Street Lamp Posts

*A regular street lamp post can be up to 14 feet tall
Building Height How many street lamp posts stacked on top of one another
Burj Khalifa 2,717 feet 194 street lamp posts
Shanghai Tower 2,073 feet 148 street lamp posts
Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower 1,972 feet 141 street lamp posts
Ping An International Finance Center 1,966 feet 140 street lamp posts
Lotte World Tower 1,819 feet 130 street lamp posts
One World Trade Center 1,776 feet 127 street lamp posts
Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 124 street lamp posts
Tianjin CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 124 street lamp posts
CITIC Tower (China Zun) 1,731 feet 123 street lamp posts
Taipei 101 1,667 feet 119 street lamp posts

Stacking 194 street lamp posts on top of one another may reach the height of Burj Khalifa. On the other hand, 130 street lamp posts stacked on top of one another are needed to match the height of the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea. That is surely a lot of lamp posts.

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Transit Buses

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Transit Buses

A transit bus is a public mode of transportation that many of us ride to travel short and medium distances. They are also referred to as city buses, town buses, or public buses. A common transit bus is often 40 feet long and can accommodate 28 to 30 passengers. [6] Imagine stacking the buses vertically. How many do you think are needed to match the height of the tallest buildings in the world? Check out the graphic below:

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to Vertically Stacked Transit Buses

*the average length of most transit buses is 40 feet
Building Height How many transit buses vertically stacked on top of one another
Burj Khalifa 2,717 feet 68 transit buses
Shanghai Tower 2,073 feet 52 transit buses
Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower 1,972 feet 49.30 transit buses
Ping An International Finance Center 1,966 feet 49.15 transit buses
Lotte World Tower 1,819 feet 45.48 transit buses
One World Trade Center 1,776 feet 44.4 transit buses
Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 43.48 transit buses
Tianjin CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 43.48 transit buses
CITIC Tower (China Zun) 1,731 feet 43.28 transit buses
Taipei 101 1,667 feet 41.68 transit buses

You will need around 68 transit buses stacked vertically on top of one another to reach the height of Burj Khalifa and about 52 transit buses to match the height of Shanghai Tower.

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to the Tallest Giant Sequoia Tree

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to the Tallest Giant Sequoia Tree

One of the tallest trees in the world is the giant sequoia tree. Based on records, the tallest giant sequoia tree is the General Sherman Tree which stands at the height of 275 feet. [7] Even a 6-foot-tall person would look small when standing beside these trees. With this, how many of the tallest giant sequoia trees do you think need to be stacked in order to reach the height of the tallest buildings in the world? Take a look at the graphic below:

The Tallest Buildings in the World Compared to the Tallest Giant Sequoia Tree

*the height of the tallest sequoia tree (General Sherman Tree) is 275 feet
Building Height How many giant sequoia trees stacked on top of one another
Burj Khalifa 2,717 feet 9.88 giant sequoia trees
Shanghai Tower 2,073 feet 7.5 giant sequoia trees
Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower 1,972 feet 7.17 giant sequoia trees
Ping An International Finance Center 1,966 feet 7.15 giant sequioa trees
Lotte World Tower 1,819 feet 6.61 giant sequioa trees
One World Trade Center 1,776 feet 6.46 giant sequoia trees
Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 6.32 giant sequioa trees
Tianjin CTF Finance Centre 1,739 feet 6.32 giant sequioa trees
CITIC Tower (China Zun) 1,731 feet 6.29 giant sequoia trees
Taipei 101 1,667 feet 6.06 giant sequioa trees

In order to reach the top of the Burj Khalifa, you need to stack around 10 of the tallest giant sequoia trees. On the other hand, a stack of 7-and-a-half giant sequoia trees is needed to match the height of Shanghai Tower. Now, can you imagine how small we are when we stand beside these buildings?

Interesting Facts About the Tallest Buildings in the World

New York skyline

If you are interested to learn more about the tallest buildings in the world, below are some interesting facts about them: [1]

  1. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is two times as high as New York’s Empire State Building.
  2. While Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, Shanghai Tower is actually the tallest considering the height of usable floors.
  3. Abraj Al-Bait, the third tallest building in the world, sits on an old Ottoman fortress-destroyed land that overlooks some popular Islamic sites. The destroyed fortress was culturally significant to the Turkish people. With that, it created a small diplomatic disturbance in 2002.
  4. The Lotte World Tower’s construction was planned in the late 20th century. But it took years to get the go signal from the officials to start building, and eventually, the construction work began in November 2010.
  5. One World Trade Center has a similar name to the North Tower of the actual World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attack that occurred on September 11, 2001.
  6. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, the seventh tallest building in the world, has a façade made of glass and glazed terra cotta to make its exterior lighter and more sustainable.
  7. Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, the other seventh tallest building in the world, was designed to LEED Gold standards. It includes green landscaping, optimized daylight, and high performance.
  8. The groundbreaking ceremony of the CITIC Tower took place on September 19, 2011. However, the tall building took years to complete, and it was finished in 2018.
  9. Taipei 101 has a symbolic meaning. In addition to its name pertaining to its 101 floors, it was also meant to honor the coming of the new century, which was 100+1.
  10. If we are to include unfinished buildings in this list, Merdeka 118 in Malaysia would be the second tallest building in the world. It is still unfinished but stands at the height of 2,220 feet. [2]

Conclusion

It is indeed fascinating and fun to explore and visualize the size of the tallest buildings in the world through object comparisons. By comparing these towering structures to various objects around us, we are able to gain a better understanding of just how tall they really are. These comparisons have provided us a unique perspective on the scale of these impressive buildings. Understanding the size and impact of these buildings helps us further appreciate the incredible achievement that they represent. As years pass and cities continue to grow and develop, buildings will probably reach new heights. We hope this post helped you visualize the size of the tallest buildings in the world.

References

[1] Saini, N. (2023, March 20). Top 10 tallest buildings in the world. Magic Bricks. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.magicbricks.com/blog/tallest-buildings-in-the-world/127777.html

[2] The Collector. (2023, February 15). What are the 5 tallest buildings in the world? TheCollector. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.thecollector.com/what-are-the-5-tallest-buildings-in-the-world/

[3] Mental Floss, E. S. (2015, March 24). How tall are these 11 commonly known objects? Mental Floss. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/61975/how-tall-are-these-11-commonly-known-objects

[4] Maytag. (2021, September 7). Refrigerator sizes: A guide to measuring Fridge Dimensions. Maytag. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.maytag.com/blog/kitchen/guide-to-refrigerator-sizes-dimensions.html

[5] Great Basin Lighting. (2019, March 19). 6 facts about street light poles – great basin lighting, inc. Great Basin Lighting, Inc. -. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.greatbasinlighting.com/blog/6-facts-about-decorative-lighting-poles-california/  

[6] Dimensions. (2021). City: Transit Buses Dimensions & Drawings. RSS. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.dimensions.com/element/city-transit-buses

[7] National Parks California. (2021, December 31). The General Sherman Tree. National Parks Service. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from https://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/nature/sherman.htm

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