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Another record year for high-rise construction

More than 140 skyscrapers were completed across the globe this year, including 15 supertall towers.

December 20, 2017 |

The 1,823-foot Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea, is the second-tallest building completed in 2017. Courtesy CTBUH

Each year, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) publishes a study that examines all 200-meter-plus tall buildings that were completed during the preceding year. 

This year’s report, published on Dec. 13, details the 144 high-rise towers that were completed in 2017, including the 1,965-foot Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, China, and the 1,823-foot Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea. It was the busiest year on record for high-rise construction, besting the previous record of 127 completions in 2016. 

This brings the total number of 200-meter-plus buildings in the world to 1,319, increasing 12.3% from 2016, marking a 402% increase from the year 2000, when only 263 existed. 




A total of 15 supertalls (buildings of 300 meters or higher) were completed in 2017, tying with 2015, the first year to match this record. The total number of supertall buildings worldwide is now 126, up from 111 in 2016. This fact is even more extraordinary considering that much of the activity has been in the past few years. The 2017 figure represents a 66% increase in just four years. In 2013, there were 76 buildings 300 meters or higher.

Notably, 2017 was also the most geographically diverse year in terms of the number of cities and countries that completed 200-meter-plus buildings, with 69 cities across 23 countries represented in the data, up from 54 cities across 18 countries in 2016. Twenty-eight of these cities and eight countries completed their tallest building.

Once again, China completed a majority of the 200-meter-plus buildings that finished in 2017, with 76 completions for 53% of the total. Although this is a slight decrease from 2016, when China completed 83 such buildings, or 65% of the global total, China is still by far the world leader in skyscraper construction. In fact, the city with the most 200-plus-meter building completions, Shenzhen, finished 12 buildings, or 8.3% of the year’s total—more than any other country on the list, except China. 

The U.S. completed the second-greatest number of 200-meter-plus buildings of any country, with 10 buildings finished in 2017.

“High-rise construction is no longer confined to a select few financial and business centers, but rather is becoming the accepted global model for densification as more than one million people on our planet urbanize each week,” said CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood. “Thirteen cities saw their first 200-meter-plus high-rise completion in 2017, in addition to the 28 cities and eight countries that saw their tallest building completed this year.”

The functional share of tall buildings in 2017 proved to be among the most interesting discoveries in the study. Completed buildings with all-office functions fell to 56, or 39% of the total, compared to 67, or 52% of completions in 2016. Meanwhile, buildings with all-residential functions spiked to 49, or 34% of the total, from just 19, or 15% of the total in 2016. The proportion of tall buildings 200 meters and higher with mixed functions was reduced to 26% from 30% in 2016, although the raw number, 38, remained the same. 

Read the full report.









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