Even as the global economy falters, a huge spike in prices for luxury apartments as well as a limited availability of urban land continues to drive demand for skyscraper and tower construction.
With the addition of 66 buildings last year, the number of buildings reaching a height of 200 metres or greater around the world now stands at 756 according to the Tall Trends of 2012 report from the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat – almost three times as many as in 2000 (263).
While the number of tall buildings completed last year was down to 66 from 82 the year before, a phenomenon the Council puts down to a drying up of financing following the GFC, this number is expected to rise to 92 and 111 in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
In terms of volume, China leads the way, with 22 tall buildings completed last year, accounting for more than one third of the total. The most significant of these is the Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, which has been noted for its energy efficient elements.
In terms of mega-tall towers, however, Dubai continues to dominate, notching four of the six tallest buildings completed last year, including the 355-metre JW Marriott Marquis, the world’s tallest hotel.
While Canada is on the rise, only two tall buildings were completed in the United States, which once dominated skyscraper development.
In Australia, meanwhile, three tall buildings were completed last year, breaking a previous drought during which none were built in the five years to 2011.
While the Council cites a number of factors contributing to the development of taller buildings, including limits in urban land availability, a shift from rural to urban economies (especially in China) and the advancement in technologies which enable developers to create taller buildings more cost effectively, it says the most significant driver by far revolves around a sharp increase in prices for luxury apartments.
In New York, for example, a full-floor apartment in One57 sold for $US90 million even while still under construction.
Zhengzhou Greenland Plaza. Image Credit: Si-ye Zhang
According to the report, key developments/milestones from last year include:
- Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, which at 601 metres is the world’s second tallest building, was completed.
- Four of the six tallest buildings completed in 2012 were in Dubai, including the world’s tallest hotel, the 355-metre JW Marriott Marquis.
- The title of Tallest Residential Building exchanged hands twice in 2012, with both recipients located in the Dubai Marina.
- Fast-growing China finished 22 buildings taller than 200 metres in 2012, 33 per cent of the total number of tall buildings completed around the world.
- In terms of cities, Mecca achieved the highest number of 200-plus metre completions, with five.
- The United States completed only two buildings over 200 metres, while Canada added four – its highest total ever.
- 12 of the 66 buildings completed in 2012 broke onto the list of the Top 100 tallest buildings in the world, representing a 12 per cent change in the tallest 100 in a single year.
- Having previously completed none in the five years before-hand, Australia completed three tall buildings in 2012.