Supertall Survey


These globes represent a survey of supertall towers that The Skyscraper Museum compiled in 2007 for its exhibition World’s Tallest Building: Burj Dubai. This map includes both 20th and 21st century towers of 1250 feet/ 380 meters or taller, represented at the same scale. The proliferation of new supertalls in Asia and the mideast reveals a shifting paradigm. As William F. Baker, the chief structural engineer of Burj Dubai, has stated: “If skyscraper construction had stopped in 1990, one would say that the tallest skyscrapers are made of steel, built in the United States, and are office buildings. Today, though, the tallest towers are made of concrete or composite, erected in Asia or the Middle East, and likely to be residential or mixed use.”


Inspired by the superior height of Burj Dubai, the Museum measured supertall skyscrapers according to a higher standard than the common 300 meters, as part of its 2007 exhibition World’s Tallest Building: Burj Dubai. Our 380+ meter benchmark was set by the Empire State Building’s 86 occupiable stories and 1,250-foot height to the top of its original 1931 mooring mast. Buildings that matched or exceeded these markers in 2007 were included in this global survey.

Represented here are 20th and 21st century supertalls, grouped by city, that were completed, under construction, or proposed and approved by local authorities. The towers are scaled 1: 2,400, with 20th-century buildings in black and white and 21st-century in color. The survey revealed new geographies of supertall ambitions, shifting from the U.S. to Asia and the Mideast. This trend reflects those regions’ expanding economies and desire to compete for international status and business.


The world maps highlight 24 skyscraper cities, either with major supertalls or many high-rises. Statistics here rely on two excellent websites, and, which channel the efforts of volunteer editors and contributors to track tall buildings by city. Emporis counts any building over 12 stories. By this measure, Hong Kong’s total of 7,661 skyscrapers exceeds any other metropolis; New York is second with 5,560. They also calculate a world skyline ranking based on a complex formula favoring taller buildings; the top five cities are Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Chicago, and Singapore.

Many cities, especially in Europe, restrict building heights. Our maps include five with significant skylines, but no buildings above 380 meters. Caracas and Johannesburg have the tallest skyscrapers on their continents. Toronto has nearly 1,700 high-rises and the 553-meter CN Tower, but its tallest skyscraper is only 298 meters. Singapore, with 3,763 high-rises, limits height to 280 meters and São Paulo with 4,541, has only one tower over 200 meters.

CHICAGO Chicago Spire: 610m, (2000 ft) 1
Sears Tower: 442m, (1450 ft) 2
Trump International Hotel & Tower: 415m, (1362 ft) 3
John Hancock Center: 344m, (1127 ft) 4
NEW YORK Empire State Building: 381m (1250 ft) 5
Freedom Tower: 541m, (1776 ft) 6
LAS VEGAS Las Vegas Tower: 575m, (1888 ft) 7
PANAMA CITY Ice Tower: 381m, (1250 ft) 8
MOSCOW Russia Tower: 600m, (1969 ft) 9
Mercury City Tower: 380m, (1247 ft) 10
Federation Tower: 448m, (1470 ft) 11
ST. PETERSBURG Gazprom Tower: 396m, (1300 ft) 12
DUBAI Ocean Heights II: 460m, (1509 ft) 13
Princess Tower: 414m, (1358 ft) 14
Marina 101: 412m, (1352 ft) 15
23 Marina: 395m, (1296 ft) 16
Emirates Tower Park 1 and 2: 395m, (1296 ft) 17
Elite Residence: 380m, (1247 ft) 18
Burj Dubai: > 700m (official height withheld) 19
DOHA Doha Convention Center Tower: 550m, (1805 ft) 20
Dubai Towers Doha: 437m, (1434 ft) 21
KUWAIT CITY Al Hamra Tower: 412m, (1352 ft) 22
MAKKAH (MECCA) Abraj Al Bait Hotel Tower: 485m, (1591 ft) 23
BUSAN Busan Lotte Tower: 510m, (1674 ft) 24
GUANGZHOU Guangzhou Twin Towers, West Tower: 432m, (1417 ft) 25
CITIC Plaza: 390m, (1283 ft) 26
HONG KONG International Commerce Centre: 484m, (1588 ft) 27
Two International Commerce Centre: 415m, (1362 ft) 28
KUALA LUMPUR Petronas Towers: 452 m, (1483 ft) 29
NANJING Nanjing Greenland Financial Center: 380m, (1247 ft) 30
SEOUL Lotte Super Tower: 555m, (1821 ft) 31
SHANGHAI Jin Mao: 421m, (1380 ft) 32
World Financial Center: 492m, (1614 ft) 33
SHENZHEN Shun Hing Square: 384m, (1260 ft) 34
TAIPEI Taipei 101: 509m, (1671 ft) 35