The height of the world’s 100 tallest buildings has increased by 141 per cent since the catastrophic World Trade Centre terror attack in 2001, but Australia’s skyscrapers are dwarfed by international standards.
More than 3000 people were killed in the attack and there was a suggestion at the time that the age of the skyscraper was over.
However, data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats’ report, The Global Impact of 9/11 on Tall Buildings, shows the event may have been a catalyst for aspirations to greater heights.
CTBUH chief executive Antony Wood said 84 per cent of buildings over 200m tall were built after 2001.
“The 11th of September was seared into the consciousness of people around the entire world in a way that no other event had, and the tall building typology along with it,” Wood said.
“The findings of this data study point to the possibilities that 9/11 actually became a catalyst, rather than an inhibitor, for tall buildings.”
But the nature and design of skyscrapers has changed significantly since 2001. Steel previously made up the bulk of building materials in tall skyscrapers, but, according to CTBUH data, buildings predominantly comprise of concrete in 2021.
Since 2008 every building in the top 100 tallest buildings has been classified as “super-tall”, soaring to heights greater than 300 metres.
The United States is no longer the home of the tallest buildings. In 2001 almost half of all buildings over 200m were in North America. Now North America only makes up about 15 per cent of tall buildings, with a substantial growth in tall and super-tall skyscrapers across Asia and the Middle East.
Top 10 tallest buildings in the world
|1||Burj Khalifa||Dubai, UAE||828m|
|2||Shanghai Tower||Shanghai, China||632m|
|3||Makkah Royal Clock Tower||Mecca, Saudi Arabia||601m|
|4||Ping An Finance Center||Shenzhen, China||599m|
|5||Lotte World Tower||Seoul, South Korea||555m|
|6||One World Trade Centre||New York, USA||541m|
|7||Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre||Guangzhou, China||530m|
|8||Tianjin CTF Finance Centre||Tianjin, China||530m|
|9||CITIC Tower||Beijing, China||528m|
|10||TAIPEI 101||Taipei, China||508m|
^Source: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Australia’s second-tallest building, Australia 108, is 316.7m tall, and has some of the deepest piling in an Australian residential development. It was completed in 2020.
It is so tall a 350-m long crane cable had to be imported from Germany to lift the more than 14,000 glass panels and the iconic starburst to the top.
It is made up of 55,000 cubic metres of concrete, in line with the global shift to concrete skyscraper developments. Fender Katsalidis director Craig Baudin said they had drawn on international skyscraper design to inform Australia 108.
“Australia 108 is a bold statement in our skyline, of which we are immensely proud,” Baudin said.
“Delivering this new landmark has required a strong vision as well as intensive technical collaboration.
“This project raises the bar not only through its height but also in the innovation and design thinking behind the scenes.”
The Gold Coast’s Q1 is the nation’s tallest building at 322.5 metres.
CTBUH data shows that prior to 2001 the skyscraper landscape comprised 80 per cent office buildings, but it is now less than half of all skyscrapers at 46 per cent.
There has been substantial growth in mixed-use, residential and hotels reaching new heights globally.