Check Out All The Megatall Skyscrapers We'll Have By 2020 | Popular Science
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Check Out All The Megatall Skyscrapers We'll Have By 2020

The number of buildings taller than 600 meters is going up, up, up

Across the globe, more than 100 buildings have reached a height of 300 meters (the approximate height of the Eiffel Tower) or higher, putting them in a category architects call "supertall." Many of them sprang up in the past dozen or so years, which could be considered the supertall era. But according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, as reported by Dezeen, supertall is SO last decade. Now we're entering the regime of the megatall skyscraper, a category reserved for behemoths taller than 600 meters.

At the moment, only three buildings qualify as megatalls: Dubai's 2,717-foot (828-meter) Burj Khalifa (completed in 2010), the 2,073-foot (632-meter) Shanghai Tower (completed in 2015), and Mecca's 1,972-foot (601-meter) Makkah Royal Clock Tower (completed in 2012). But that number is expected to more than double by 2020, as four more join the list: Shenzhen's Ping An Finance Centre, Wuhan's Greenland Center, Jakarta's Signature Tower, and Jeddah's Kingdom Tower. When the latter is completed in 2018, it will reach over 3,200 feet (about a kilometer) in height and become the new tallest building in the world. Photos and illustrations of all these megatall structures are in the gallery above.

Why are all of these megatall buildings rising in Asia and the Middle East, while North America and Europe avoid the trend? It could be because skyscrapers, in addition to providing extra real estate, give rising powers a potent symbol of wealth and progress. Because these buildings don't just have high price tags—they also incorporate cutting-edge scientific advances.

To build structures that fit comfortably into an urban environment and remain stable even as they stretch to absurd heights, architects rely on: advanced materials, such as specially-treated glass; new tech applications, which could give a building the illusion of an invisibility; and engineering innovations, which may eventually include magnetically levitating elevators. Or maybe western nations are just more worried about buildings that waste space and can melt cars.

Kingdom Tower

Kingdom Tower - 1,000 meters

Kingdom Tower, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is currently under construction with a planned completion date of 2018. It will be about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters, or one kilometer) tall, making it the tallest building in the world.

Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa - 828 meters

The Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, UAE, was completed in 2010. It is 2,716 feet (828 meters) tall, making it the tallest building in the world until the Kingdom Tower bumps it to second place.

Signature Tower

Signature Tower - 638 meters

Signature Tower, in Jakarta, Indonesia, is not yet under construction and originally had a planned completion date of 2020 (although this was later pushed to 2021). It will be about 2,093 feet (638 meters) tall, making it the third tallest building in the world.

Greenland Center

Greenland Center - 636 meters

Greenland Center, in Wuhan, China, is currently under construction with a planned completion date of 2018. It will be about 2,087 feet (636 meters) tall, temporarily making it the third tallest building in the world until the Signature Tower bumps it to fourth place.

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower - 632 meters

Shanghai Tower, in Shanghai, China, was completed in 2015. It is 2,073 feet (632 meters) tall, making it the second tallest building in the world until other buildings on this list knock it to fifth place.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower

Makkah Royal Clock Tower - 601 meters

Makkah Royal Clock Tower, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, was completed in 2012. It is 1,972 feet (601 meters) tall, making it the third tallest building in the world until other buildings on this list bump it to sixth place.

Ping An Finance Centre

Ping An Finance Centre - 600 meters

Ping An Finance Centre, in Shenzhen, China, is currently under construction with a planned completion date of 2016. It will be about 1,969 feet (600 meters) tall, temporarily making it the fourth tallest building in the world until other buildings on this list bump it to seventh place.

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