The tallest buildings in the world

With Google releasing new 3D imagery almost every week, urban sightseeing in Google Earth is getting better and better.
Last month we mentioned the opening of the Burj Khalifa, so we thought it was probably time to look at more of the world’s tallest buildings.
1. Burj Khalifa: 828m KML3DWH
Burj Khalifa, formerly known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the tallest man-made structure ever built, at 828 m. Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010.
Burj Khalifa
2. Taipei 101: 509m KML3DWH
Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei Financial Center, is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. The building was the world’s tallest (with occupiable floors) until it was surpassed in height by the Burj Khalifa on July 21, 2007. The skyscraper was officially the tallest building until the opening of the Burj Khalifa on the 4th of January 2010.
Taipei 101
3. Shanghai World Financial Center: 492m KML3DWH
The Shanghai World Financial Center located in Pudong, Shanghai, China. It is a mixed use skyscraper which consists of offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks, and shopping malls on the ground floors. On 14 September 2007 the skyscraper was topped out at 492.0 meters (1,614.2 ft) and became the second-tallest building in the world; as well as the tallest structure in the People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong.
4. International Commerce Centre: 483m KML3DWH
The International Commerce Centre is a 118 floor skyscraper under construction in West Kowloon, Hong Kong; as part of the Union Square project built on top of Kowloon Station. The development is owned and jointly developed by MTR Corporation Limited and Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong’s metro operator and largest property developer respectively. Its formal development name is Union Square Phase 7 and the name International Commerce Centre was officially announced in 2005. International Commerce Centre will be completed in phases: from 2007 to 2010.
5. Petronas Towers: 452m KML3DWH
The Petronas Twin Towers, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are twin towers and were the world’s tallest buildings before being surpassed by Taipei 101. However, the towers are still the tallest twin buildings in the world. They were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004 if measured from the level of the main entrance to the structural top, the original height reference used by the international organization Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat from 1969 (three additional height categories were introduced as the tower neared completion in 1996).
6. Nanjing Greenland Financial Center: 450m KML3DWH
The Nanjing Greenland Financial Center is a 450-metre (1,500 ft) supertall skyscraper currently topped-out in Nanjing, China completed in 2009. The 89-story building features office space and retail space in the lower section, and restaurants and a public observatory near the top, which is topped off with a spire. The tower’s stepping is functional, helping separate these sections.
7. Willis Tower: 442m KML3DWH
Willis Tower, formerly named Sears Tower, is a 108-story 1,451 feet (442 m) skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois. At the time of its completion in 1973, it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York. Currently, Willis Tower is the tallest building in the United States and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world as well as the fifth tallest building in the world to the roof.
Although Sears’ naming rights expired in 2003, the building continued to be called Sears Tower for several years. However, in March 2009 London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., agreed to lease a portion of the building and obtained the building’s naming rights as part of the agreement. On July 16, 2009, at 10:00 am Central Time, the building was officially renamed Willis Tower.

8. Guangzhou West Tower: 440m KML3DWH
Guangzhou West Tower is a 103 story supertall skyscraper under construction at Zhujiang Avenue West in Tianhe District at Guangzhou, China. The building was topped out on 31 December 2008. Construction of Guangzhou West Tower, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, broke ground in December 2005. When complete in 2009, the building and its twin will become one of the tallest highrise buildings in Guangzhou and China, and will be used as a conference centre, hotel and office building. Floors 1 to 66 are planned to be used as office, floors 67 to 68 are mechanical equipment, floors 69 to 98 as hotel and in floor 99 and 100 there will be an observation deck. There is a hotel lobby on the 70th Floor.
9. Trump International Hotel and Tower: 423m KML3DWH
The Trump International Hotel and Tower, is a skyscraper condo-hotel in downtown Chicago, Illinois. The building, named after real estate developer Donald Trump, was designed by architect Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Bovis Lend Lease built the 92-story structure, which reached a height of 1,389 feet (423 m) including its spire, its roof topping out at 1,170 feet (360 m). It is adjacent to the main branch of the Chicago River, with a view of the entry to Lake Michigan beyond a series of bridges over the river. Trump announced in 2001 that the skyscraper would become the tallest building in the world, but after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the building plans were scaled back, and its design has undergone several revisions. When topped out in 2009 it became the second-tallest building in the United States after Chicago’s Willis Tower. It is expected to be surpassed by the 1 World Trade Center in New York City in the middle of 2013, and by the on-hold Chicago Spire if completed. Trump Tower surpassed Chicago’s John Hancock Center as the building with the world’s highest residence above ground-level and held this title until the completion of the Burj Khalifa.
10. Jin Mao Tower: 421m KMLKML3DWH
The Jin Mao Tower is an 88-story landmark supertall skyscraper in the Lujiazui area of the Pudong district of Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. It contains offices and the Shanghai Grand Hyatt hotel. Until 2007 it was the tallest building in the PRC, the fifth tallest in the world by roof height and the seventh tallest by pinnacle height. Along with the Oriental Pearl Tower, it is a centerpiece of the Pudong skyline. Its height was surpassed on September 14, 2007 by the Shanghai World Financial Center which is next to the building.
It’s quite a collection of buildings, and all of them look amazing in Google Earth. What your favorite man-made structures in Google Earth?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. all interested in Burj Khalifa might find this tour interesting, since it does not only show the building but also integrates other media such as youtube or hotel bookings – a real interactive way of using Google Earth guided tours – has been produced with Snoovel Tour Director Software:

  2. Ernst M. Kofler says:

    The Sears/Willis Tower reaches up to 527.3m including its antenna. Due to the fact that the antenna was not part of the planned structure from the beginning, the heigth is only measured up to its spire. Including the antenna, the Willis Tower would be the 2nd tallest building.

  3. you did not mention Abraj al Bait in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled to be completed at the end of this year and has a height of 595 meters when completed. (current height is about 400 meters).
    but i guess it is because the current 3D model in Google Earth is out of scale and an old model. the actual building is very much different from the model in GE and has the worlds biggest and highest clock.
    when completed, it will hold many records, like the tallest hotel building, the building with the largest floor area, the highest observation deck etc.

  4. Thanks to Google, and your post, for letting us see these these horrors in one (virtual) place.

  5. Wow, did not realize that China has built so many of the tallest, they have 4 in the top 10. New York has none. Due to the economic climate, and due to the fact that space is less at a premium than in the super crowded Asian cities, it’s unlikely that very tall buildings will be going up in US and Europe anytime soon. It’s not financially feasible.

  6. Joe Saikalis says:

    You should have included the Empire State Build. as reference.

  7. R.B.Meppem says:

    Too high for me.I even had Vertigo on my honeymoon

  8. ahmed ashour dr says:

    it is wonderfull to see human innovations at its extreme pefection

  9. Why dont you guyss just focus on Abraj Al Bait towers in Makkah, Saudi Arabia…Once complete in this or next year….it will have many records..(595m)
    worlds second tallest building at 595 m behind Burj Dubai
    worlds highest clock
    worlds tallest hotel
    worlds tallest clock
    worlds heaviest building
    worlds largest building….
    The current GE model is a rejected version of the design and is supposed to be way more taller than that

  10. I think that a building from Australia should be on there I mean hello we’ve got Eureka, the tallest building in the Southern hemispere.

  11. I do not unerstand why you guys did not just place the one and only tallest building in the world because im doing research and i do not understand why there is more than one buildig and i will appreciate if you fix that

  12. Where the hell is the CN tower?? Must have been smoking the devils grass to forget that.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.