The year 2012 in skyscrapers

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat provides a review of skyscraper trends in 2012:

For the first time in six years the number of tall buildings completed annually around the world declined in 2012, as the consequential effects of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis became evident in tall building construction in many Western countries. Sixty-six buildings taller than 200 meters were completed during 2012, the third most in history, but down from the 82 finished in 2011. This number of completions was slightly lower than expected, with some projects under construction delayed or stalled. However, several of the projects forecast to finish in 2012 are now expected to complete in 2013 and 2014, with global completion numbers expected to rise again next year…

With the addition of 66 buildings in 2012, the global number of buildings taller than 200 meters has almost tripled since 2000, increasing from 263 to 756 at the end of 2012. The recent slowdown in the West was partially offset by tall building construction in the Middle East and Asia, particularly China. In total, 35 buildings taller than 200 meters were completed in Asia in 2012 and 16 in the Middle East. In contrast, six were completed in North America, including only two in the United States, which once dominated tall building development.

Several factors are spurring this move toward taller development. The limited availability of land in urban centers is driving up prices and prompting developers to build taller to recoup their investments. Several countries, including China, are also in the midst of a dramatic shift from rural to urban economies. In addition, new technologies and building systems are increasing the efficiency of tall buildings, allowing developers to cost-effectively create taller projects.

But the biggest factor, in some cities, is a sharp increase in prices for luxury apartments. In New York, a full-floor apartment in One57, a project still under construction, sold for $90 million in 2012. Forty-one of the tallest 100 projects completed in 2012 featured a residential component. Early in 2012, 23 Marina earned the title of world’s tallest residential building at 393 meters. A few months later the 413-meter Princess Tower completed construction, taking the title of world’s tallest all-residential building. The four tallest residential buildings in the world are now located in Dubai.

There are some good images here, interesting charts, and fun facts including only two buildings over 200 meters (roughly 656 feet) were constructed in the United States in the last year. Overall, it looks like there are some clear trends including a lot of building in China and the Middle East and more tall buildings used for residential and mixed-use purposes.

And if you are keeping track of the tallest buildings constructed in recent years, here is a handy chart:

This reminds me that the Trump Tower in Chicago was a more significant building than I tend to give it credit for…

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