Will mainland China join world’s tallest building race?


Photo courtesy of 知比 (Creative Commons)

First it was the Taipei World Financial Center.  Built in 2004 as the world’s tallest building–known by Taiwanese as “Taipei 101,” indicating the number of stories–the building retained that status for a full six years.

Enter United Arab Emirates.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa–completed in 2010–eclipsed Taipei 101.  By over 60 floors!  Interestingly enough, work on the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, the same year that Taipei 101 was completed and opened.

And if “world’s tallest bulidings” is the architectural symbol par excellence, “world’s tallest hotels” has to rank just behind.  Indeed, there is something vaguely scintillating about taking as one’s residence–if just for a night–atop the world’s tallest hotel.

Enter Hong Kong.

The new Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong opened last week, and with its opening, Hong Kong can now claim to have the world’s highest hotel.  The hotel occupies floors 102-118 of Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre.  Height withstanding, the hotel occupies a prominent place in the Hong Kong sykline due to its harborside location.

I have to wonder not if, but when Mainland China will join these world’s tallest races.  Interestingly enough, Shanghai’s World Financial Center–101 stories high–was completed in 2008, four years after Taipei 101, and yet was a mere 53 feet shorter than Taipei 101.  It is curious that, in this the age of “big is better” as a major marker of status, the 2008 plans for Shanghai didn’t involve the World Financial Center eclipsing Taipei 101.

Which leads me to my final question.: how long wil Dubai hold the world’s tallest building?  And which nation will pluto Dubai to number two?  As China marches towards being the world’s biggest economy, will it also march towards owning the world’s tallest building?

About Andrew McIntyre

Andrew McIntyre is Deputy Editor for U.S.-China Today. He received a B.A. (Music) from Emory University and an M.M. (Music Theory) from University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has previously taught at Tangshan Oriental Bilingual School, Communication University of China, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He is currently a Dean’s Scholar, Teaching Assistant, and M.A. student (Print Journalism) at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
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