Art History Lab

The Skyscraper Race: China’s Tallest Buildings and the Future of Architecture

The world’s tallest building has always been a topic of fascination. It has been a competition among countries to build the tallest structure in the world, showcasing their architectural prowess.

With each passing year, these structures are getting taller and taller, and breaking the records of the past constructions. In this article, we will talk about the tallest buildings under construction around the world and their fascinating facts.

Distinction between planning and construction

Before discussing the tallest buildings under construction, it is essential to understand the difference between planning and construction. Planning is the stage where architects and engineers conceptualize the design of the building.

They discuss the requirements of the clients, budget, location, and the purpose of the building, and finally, after weighing out the pros and cons, the blueprint of the building is finalized.

After the planning, the phase of construction begins, and the construction team starts the groundwork.

They pour the foundation, lay the plumbing and mechanical systems, and erect the columns and beams. The construction phase takes much longer than the planning phase.

While planning can take as little as six months to a year, construction can take several years, depending on the complexity of the building.

Importance of location (China) and limited information

Location plays a crucial role in the construction of high-rise buildings. The geography of the location must be considered through the planning and construction phases.

As for the People’s Republic of China, this country currently has the most high-rise buildings in the world. The country is famous for its unique architecture and construction style.

China has many approved projects for the construction of tall buildings, including the Xuyi International Center Tower 1, Chengdu Greenland Tower, and the Wuhan Greenland Center. While planning a construction project, obtaining information on the ground is essential.

Obtaining information enables the architects to understand the geological and environmental challenges of the site and consider them when designing the structure. Lack of information can lead to faulty designs, which can be costly to repair if discovered during the construction phase.

Jeddah Tower

The Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah has been in the headlines for building the world’s tallest building

Jeddah Tower. As of now, the

Jeddah Tower is on hold and unfinished.

The structure was supposed to be completed by 2021, but the construction was delayed for various reasons, including financial troubles, which pushed the deadline to an unknown date.

Status and background

Jeddah Tower, also known as the Kingdom Tower, is set to become the worlds tallest building with a height of 1,000 plus meters. It is part of the Jeddah Economic City, which aims to contribute to the growth of the Saudi Arabian economy and create employment opportunities.

The construction of the

Jeddah Tower began in 2013, and it was supposed to be completed in 2021. However, the construction has been put on hold due to financial problems and various other issues.

Initial aim and height

When completed, the

Jeddah Tower will be a breathtaking piece of architecture. It is set to have 167 floors, 12 escalators, and 59 elevators, taking a total of two minutes to get to the top.

According to the plans, the tower was meant to be 1,007 meters tall, while the original design’s height was 1,600 meters. The tower is meant to house many facilities such as residential apartments, a commercial center, offices, and a luxury hotel.


In conclusion, the construction of tall buildings requires distinct planning and construction. It is important to pay attention to the location and gather as much information as possible to avoid shortcomings during the construction phase.


Jeddah Tower has taken a back seat due to financial problems, which has caused a delay of the projects completion date. It would be interesting to see the final structure of the

Jeddah Tower and to appreciate it as a masterpiece, once it is complete.

Greenland Jinmao International Financial Center

Status and projected completion date

The Greenland Jinmao International Financial Center is currently under construction and is projected to be completed in 2025. The tower is located in Tianjin, a coastal city in northern China.

The Greenland Jinmao International Financial Center is set to become the third tallest building in China and the fifth tallest building globally, standing at a height of 499.8 meters. The skyscraper is being built by China Greenland Group and is designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

The tower will consist of 98 floors and will house office space, residential units, a hotel, and an observation deck. Upon completion, it will become a new landmark for Tianjin, showcasing the city’s booming economy.

Height and compliance with 500 m ban

China has recently enforced a height restriction on buildings, prohibiting the construction of buildings taller than 500 meters. This ban was introduced as a measure to avoid unnecessary wastage of resources and prevent the dangers that come with building tall structures in seismic zones.

The Greenland Jinmao International Financial Center complies with this ban, standing at a height of 499.8 meters. The architects and engineers have skillfully designed the building to stay within the height limit while still maintaining its grandeur and magnificence.

It is worth noting that China is home to many high-rise buildings, and after the ban’s enforcement, many construction projects had to be canceled or reconsidered. However, with innovative designing, architects are still able to create impressive structures while complying with the new regulations.

Suzhou Zhongnan Center

Height reduction and reasons behind it

The Suzhou Zhongnan Center was meant to be one of the tallest buildings in the world, standing at a height of 729 meters. However, the new building regulations in China restricted the construction of buildings taller than 500 meters.

As a result, the Suzhou Zhongnan Center had to reduce its height to 499.2 meters, complying with the new regulation. The Suzhou Zhongnan Center is located in the city of Suzhou, in eastern China.

The building is designed by Gensler, an American architecture firm, and was originally intended to be a mixed-use building that would feature offices, a luxury hotel, and residential apartments. Although the building’s height has been reduced, it remains one of the tallest buildings in China and has become a new landmark for Suzhou.

Final proposed height and floor count

After the height reduction, the Suzhou Zhongnan Center will stand at a height of 499.2 meters, with 103 floors. The building will have a total floor area of 303,216 square meters, with the lower floors being occupied by retail and entertainment spaces, the mid-levels by offices, and the higher floors by residential apartments and a hotel.

The Suzhou Zhongnan Center boasts of a unique architectural design that incorporates green spaces, sustainable materials, and eco-friendly features. The building’s design takes inspiration from traditional Chinese gardens, with a central courtyard that provides natural light and ventilation.


In conclusion, China has been at the forefront of constructing tall buildings, but the recent height restriction regulations have forced architects and engineers to rethink their designs, resulting in innovative and sustainable structures. The Suzhou Zhongnan Center and Greenland Jinmao International Financial Center are two examples of tall buildings that comply with the regulations without compromising on their aesthetics or utility.

These buildings serve as an inspiration for the future of China’s skyline, showcasing the country’s commitment to sustainable and responsible architecture.

HeXi Yuzui Tower A

Height and unique features

The HeXi Yuzui Tower A is a 498.8-meter-tall skyscraper located in Wuhan, one of the major cities in central China. This high-rise building will have 94 floors and will feature a unique open-air observation deck on the 84th floor.

The observation deck will provide visitors with a panoramic view of the city, including the Yangtze River, which flows nearby. The HeXi Yuzui Tower A is being constructed by CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation) and designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

The building’s design incorporates innovative sustainability and energy-saving features, making it an eco-friendly building.

Design inspiration

The HeXi Yuzui Tower A’s design is inspired by the Yangtze River, which runs through the city of Wuhan. The tower’s shape resembles a narrow ship’s bow, with its facade appearing as though it has been lifted from the base.

The building’s unique design also has a purpose. The narrow, streamlined shape helps to reduce wind resistance, making the building more stable during windy conditions.

The design allows for better airflow around the building, which enhances air circulation in the surrounding area.

Fuyuan Zhongshan 108 IFC

Height and purpose

The Fuyuan Zhongshan 108 IFC, which is under construction in Nanning, the capital of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is set to become one of the tallest buildings in China. The tower will be 498 meters tall and will have a total floor space of 360,000 square meters.

The building will house a luxury hotel, offices, and retail space. The Fuyuan Zhongshan 108 IFC is expected to become a new landmark for Nanning, showcasing the city’s rapid development.

The skyscraper’s prominent location will provide breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings. The building’s design is sleek and modern, incorporating greenery and sustainable features.

The tower’s tapering form helps to reduce wind resistance and enhances the building’s stability in harsh weather conditions.

Construction timeline

Construction of the Fuyuan Zhongshan 108 IFC began in 2021 and is expected to be completed by 2029. The building is being constructed by China Construction Eighth Engineering Division (CCEED), and the design was created by AS+GG architecture firm.

The construction of tall buildings typically takes many years to complete, with various considerations and obstacles along the way. However, China’s construction industry is renowned for its speed and efficiency, which has enabled the country to build some of the world’s tallest buildings in record time.


In conclusion, the construction of high-rise buildings is not just about building taller and taller structures to break records. It is also about designing buildings that are environmentally sustainable, energy-efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.

The HeXi Yuzui Tower A and Fuyuan Zhongshan 108 IFC both exemplify this approach, incorporating innovative design, green features, and elegant aesthetics. These buildings not only contribute to China’s rapidly developing skyline but also set an example for the world to follow in sustainable and responsible architecture.

China International Silk Road Center

Height and floor count

The China International Silk Road Center, also known as the Greenland Center, is a towering skyscraper located in the heart of Beijing, China. This impressive building stands at a height of 498 meters, making it one of the tallest buildings in the city.

The skyscraper is designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and features 101 floors, housing various commercial and residential spaces. The China International Silk Road Center is not just a symbol of architectural grandeur; it also represents China’s significant role in international trade and the historical Silk Road.

Incorporating elements of Chinese culture and modern design, the building aims to create a cohesive blend of tradition and modernity.

Change in building name

Originally known as the Greenland Center, the building’s name was changed to the China International Silk Road Center to reflect its connection to China’s rich history and its ambitious plans for international trade. The Silk Road holds immense historical and cultural significance as an ancient trade route that connected China to various parts of the world.

By incorporating the Silk Road theme into the building’s name, it symbolizes China’s dedication to strengthening international trade partnerships and economic cooperation.

Tianfu Center

Height and purpose

Situated in Chengdu, the capital city of China’s Sichuan Province, the Tianfu Center is an ambitious project that aims to be a comprehensive urban complex. The towering skyscraper is set to reach a height of 488.9 meters, making it one of the tallest buildings in China.

This magnificent building will primarily serve as a hub for office and exhibition spaces, further enhancing the city’s business and economic activities. The Tianfu Center will encompass a vast floor area of approximately 1.7 million square meters, accommodating a variety of functions, including office spaces, conference centers, retail areas, and exhibition halls.

This comprehensive development aims to create a thriving ecosystem where businesses can thrive, attracting local and international investors alike.

Compliance with height restrictions

China has implemented height restrictions on the construction of buildings to ensure safety and environmental considerations. While the specific maximum height limit varies by city and region, these regulations aim to prevent excessive strain on infrastructure, control urban density, and address environmental concerns.

The Tianfu Center, reaching a height of 488.9 meters, slightly exceeds the maximum height limit set by the local regulations. However, the government approved this exceptional height due to the project’s significance in promoting economic growth and attracting investments to Chengdu.

Despite being slightly over the limit, a thorough assessment ensured that the building’s impact on the surrounding area, including infrastructure, transportation, and overall urban planning, was adequately addressed. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the China International Silk Road Center, renamed from the Greenland Center, stands tall as a symbol of China’s commitment to international trade and economic cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Tianfu Center in Chengdu exemplifies the city’s ambitions for urban development and economic growth. These skyscrapers not only showcase China’s architectural prowess but also reflect its evolving role on the global stage.

As China expands its skyline with these remarkable structures, it continues to embrace modernity, preserve its cultural heritage, and reinforce its position as a global economic powerhouse.

North Bund Tower

Height comparison with Shanghai Tower

The North Bund Tower, situated in Shanghai, is a prominent structure that adds to the city’s iconic skyline. While its height of 480 meters is indeed impressive, it falls slightly short when compared to the neighboring Shanghai Tower, which stands as the tallest building in China at a breathtaking height of 632 meters.

Both the North Bund Tower and the Shanghai Tower have become symbols of China’s rapid urban development and architectural achievements. However, the North Bund Tower, though not as tall as its neighbor, still holds its own in terms of design, functionality, and contribution to the cityscape.

Remaining under height restrictions

China has implemented strict regulations regarding building heights to ensure the safety and sustainability of its urban areas. These regulations aim to control urban density, address environmental concerns, and prevent excessive strain on infrastructure.

The North Bund Tower has successfully adhered to these regulations, standing at a height of 480 meters, which is 20 meters below the legal maximum. By remaining slightly under the maximum height limit, the designers and developers of the North Bund Tower have shown their commitment to responsible urban planning.

This approach ensures that the building harmoniously integrates into the surrounding cityscape and does not overwhelm the infrastructure while still providing a remarkable architectural landmark.

Wuhan CTF Finance Center

Height reduction and significance

The Wuhan CTF Finance Center, located in Wuhan, was initially planned to be taller than the neighboring Shanghai Tower. However, due to height restrictions and considerations, the height of the building was reduced.

Nevertheless, the significance of this skyscraper lies not only in its impressive height but also in being the tallest building in Wuhan and an iconic symbol of the city’s progress. While the Wuhan CTF Finance Center may not surpass the Shanghai Tower in terms of height, its architectural design and significance as the tallest building in the city still make it a remarkable landmark.

The building is a testament to Wuhan’s growth and economic development, attracting investments and establishing the city as an important commercial and cultural center in Central China.

Final height

After a reduction in height, the Wuhan CTF Finance Center now stands at an impressive height of 475 meters. Though lower than the Shanghai Tower, this tower is an architectural marvel that dominates the Wuhan skyline.

The building incorporates both commercial and residential spaces, including offices, hotels, and luxury apartments, to provide a comprehensive urban experience for residents and visitors. The reduction in height does not diminish the significance of the Wuhan CTF Finance Center.

On the contrary, it showcases a balance between adhering to height restrictions and constructing a building that remains a symbol of Wuhan’s growth and prosperity. The architectural design, combined with the building’s purpose and integration into the urban fabric, ensures its prominence in the city’s landscape.


In conclusion, both the North Bund Tower in Shanghai and the Wuhan CTF Finance Center in Wuhan exemplify China’s commitment to responsible urban planning, adhering to height restrictions while still creating remarkable architectural landmarks. While the North Bund Tower falls short of the Shanghai Tower’s height, it maintains its own significance in terms of design and contribution to the cityscape.

Likewise, the Wuhan CTF Finance Center, despite a height reduction, remains an iconic symbol of Wuhan’s progress and economic development. These buildings showcase China’s architectural achievements and demonstrate the country’s dedication to sustainable urban growth.

Fosun Bund Center T1

Height and purpose

The Fosun Bund Center T1 is an impressive skyscraper currently under construction in Shanghai’s Bund area. With a height of 470 meters, this architectural marvel will house a combination of luxury hotels and office spaces.

The tower is being developed by Fosun Group, a leading Chinese conglomerate, and is expected to become a prominent feature in Shanghai’s skyline. The Fosun Bund Center T1 is not only a testament to architectural excellence but also reflects Shanghai’s status as an international business and cultural hub.

The combination of hotel and office spaces within the tower underscores the city’s commitment to providing a comprehensive and dynamic urban experience for residents and visitors alike.

Construction timeline

The construction of the Fosun Bund Center T1 commenced in 2021 and is expected to be completed by 2025. Although large-scale construction projects often require several years to complete, Shanghai’s construction industry is known for its efficiency and ability to meet ambitious timelines.

The construction process involves meticulously planned stages, including foundation work, structural framework, and interior finishing. As the Fosun Bund Center T1 takes shape, it will be fascinating to witness the convergence of architectural vision and engineering expertise, resulting in a remarkable addition to Shanghai’s skyline.

Conclusion and Implications of Height Restrictions

Majority of buildings below 500 m

China’s height restrictions have had a significant impact on the construction of skyscrapers in the country. As a result, the majority of new buildings fall below the 500-meter mark, conforming to the regulations set by the government.

This shift in focus towards more moderate heights has allowed architects and developers to refine their designs and prioritize sustainability, structural integrity, and urban aesthetics. The implementation of height restrictions ensures that cities’ infrastructure can support new developments without becoming overburdened and overwhelmed.

It also nurtures a more balanced skyline, where buildings of varying heights can coexist harmoniously, creating a visually pleasing and sustainable urban environment. Future of

Jeddah Tower and potential for a new tallest building


Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, originally intended to become the tallest building in the world, has faced delays and uncertainties.

However, there is still hope for its completion in the future. If finished, the

Jeddah Tower would be a symbol of human achievement and engineering marvel.

While the

Jeddah Tower remains on hold, there is potential for a new tallest building to claim the title. As architectural boundaries are pushed even further, countries may compete to create increasingly taller and innovative skyscrapers.

This competition fosters technological advancements, architectural creativity, and urban development, positively shaping skylines around the world. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the construction of impressive skyscrapers in China continues under the framework of height restrictions, ensuring the sustainable growth of cities.

The Fosun Bund Center T1 exemplifies this trend, combining luxury hotels and office spaces in a towering structure that will contribute to Shanghai’s architectural landscape. Furthermore, height restrictions have resulted in a majority of buildings falling below the 500-meter mark, leading to balanced skylines with buildings of varying heights.

While the completion of the

Jeddah Tower remains uncertain, the potential for a new tallest building arises, sparking competition and innovation in the field of architecture and urban development. In conclusion, the construction of tall buildings in China is guided by strict height restrictions, which aim to ensure safety, sustainability, and infrastructure compatibility.

Despite these limitations, architects and developers have managed to create remarkable skyscrapers that adhere to the regulations while pushing the boundaries of architectural design. The Fosun Bund Center T1 in Shanghai and other notable structures stand as testaments to China’s commitment to responsible urban planning.

As the race for the tallest building continues, the completion of projects such as the

Jeddah Tower holds hope for a new record-breaking structure. These endeavors not only showcase human achievement but also fuel innovation, technological advancements, and the dynamic growth of cities.

The drive to reach new heights in architecture contributes to the visual identity, economic development, and cultural vitality of cities worldwide.

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