A Race to the Sky – Shanghai and Shenzhen Building Some of the Tallest Buildings in the World

The second tallest building in the world

It is a strange phenomenon that should a society have a period of prosperity that their architecture, much like their aspirations should trend skyward.

This can be seen in the Pyramids in Egypt, Cathedrals in Europe or the Pagodas of the Orient towering over towns and cities.

Last century, the titles for World’s tallest were generally held by the West, from the Chrysler Building in New York to the C.N. Tower in Toronto, the top spots were firmly etched in the skylines of Western, and primarily North American cities.

This trend has changed in recent years with the sway of the global economy, beginning with the Patronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and on to Taipei 101, the East has been reaching higher and higher. No more audacious a building has there been in the world than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa being the first ever building to reach more than 800 meters into the sky.

But it seems China is set to match this largesse, and with skyscrapers going up nation-wide, there may some underlying competition for the title of China’s tallest building.

Guanzhou’s Canton Tower was finished in 2010 to take the 3rd spot among the worlds tallest structures, but is not a skyscraper; while Shanghai’s World Financial Center is, and so takes the title of World’s third tallest and China’s tallest building. In Shenzhen, Di Wang now pales in comparison with Kingkey Finance Tower, which is just shy of China’s tallest by 50 meters.

The battle is heating up now between Shanghai and Shenzhen in the race to build China’s tallest building. A recent article in the China Daily stated that Shanghai’s Shanghai Tower will be the tallest building in China at 632 meters high, when in fact Shenzhen’s Ping An IFC will be the tallest, albeit by a relatively small margin at 648 meters.

Time will tell as to whether or not Ping An IFC will hang on to that lead; plans for the height of the Burj Khalifa (initially called the Burj Dubai but changed as a tribute to UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for bailing Dubai out after the financial crisis) changed several times before completion and given a potential rivalry between the cities, we could see tit-for-tat spire additions to claim the ‘highest in China’ title.

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