With the completion of NY’s 432 Park Avenue, there are now 100 ‘supertall’ skyscrapers in the world

Half of the globe's supertall buildings have been constructed in the past five years 

January 13, 2016 |

432 Park Avenue under construction in New York City. Photo: Kohei Kanno via Wikimedia Commons

That makes it an even 100. With the completion of 432 Park Avenue in New York City, the number of so-called “supertall” buildings (buildings standing at least 300 meters tall) in the world has reached the century mark, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Half of those 100 supertall buildings have been constructed in the past five years alone, whereas the first 50 took 80 years to construct, starting with New York City’s Chrysler Building, which opened in 1930.

The majority of new supertall skyscrapers can be found in Asia and the Middle East, with Dubai leading the way for supertalls in a single city with 18. Not all of the action is happening overseas, however, as 432 Park Avenue marks New York City’s seventh supertall building, second only to Dubai’s 18.

The 432 Park Avenue project is unique not only for being the world’s tallest all-residential building, but also for its 1:15 slenderness ratio. Thanks to advances in lateral resistance technology making these slim skyscrapers possible, areas with limited land availability and rising luxury residential prices are beginning to see more and more of this construction type, according to CTBUH.

Over the next five to six years, the construction of supertall skyscrapers is expected to continue to grow.  There are currently 130 structures bearing the title of supertall currently under construction or topped out, according to CTBUH data. Among these is Jeddah Tower, which will become the first kilometer-high building, and the world’s tallest building, upon completion in 2018.

Buildings with the supertall label are becoming increasingly common, which means a new distinction for buildings that go above and beyond that label is coming. When the supercar label for automobiles became commonplace, the envelope was pushed again and the distinction of hypercar came about. High-definition television led to ultra-high-definition television. And now, many are looking at “megatall” (buildings standing at least 600 meters tall) to be the new distinction by which skyscrapers are judged. There are currently three completed megatall buildings, with four more set to be finished in the coming years. Jeddah Tower is chief among them.

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