10 of the Most Impressive Skyscrapers on the Planet

In recent decades, architects around the world have been nothing short of inspired. Many of today’s most iconic structures were erected only a short while ago, shifting the tone of entire cityscapes. Here’s a look at some of the world’s most impressive skyscrapers.

1) China Central Television Headquarters, Beijing, China
There’s nothing else on Earth quite like Beijing’s “big boxer shorts” building, designed by architects Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren to maximise chi energy flow.


2) One World Trade Center, New York City, U.S.A.
When construction on this skyscraper came to a halt in May 2013, it stood 1,776 feet tall – a reference to the year the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed.


3) Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea

This graceful pyramid-like structure stood unoccupied for 21 years. In 2012, Kempinski Hotels signed up to manage the property in North Korea’s Pyongyang, but backed away in 2013 when the capital threatened nuclear strike against the U.S. and South Korea.


4) Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China
The sharp angles of I.M. Pei's crystalline-like skyscraper were actually inspired by the bamboo plant. The glowing tower is an integral part of Hong Kong’s nightly Symphony of Light Show.


5) Kingdom Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
In Riyadh buildings can’t have more than 30 usable floors. Architects at Minnesota-based Ellerbe Becket designed the void near the top of this skyscraper to reference the 302 metre building’s 30 usable floors.


6) Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Architect César Pelli designed these twin towers completed in 1996 with the geometric tones of Muslim architecture in mind. A sky bridge connects the two 452 metre towers, symbolising Kuala Lumpur's gateway into the millennium.


7) Tokyo Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Tokyo, Japan
This 50-storey, 204 metre cocoon-like structure is home to three Tokyo educational facilities. Architects at Tange Associates deliberately used the cocoon metaphor because 'it’s a place for students to be nurtured and transformed.'


8) Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan
Architect C.Y. Lee was inspired by a growing bamboo stalk – a Chinese symbol of strength – to create the first skyscraper to creep up past the half-kilometre mark, at 508 metres. The Taipei 101 still maintains the world's fastest passenger elevator, which reaches the top floor in just 37 seconds.


9) Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Still reigning as the world’s tallest building, Dubai's 828 metre skyscraper is also home to the world’s highest mosque, which happens to be on the 158th floor.


10) Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai, China
Originally circular in shape, the square “bottle opener” opening at the top is designed to reduce stress of wind pressure. The shape was changed following comparisons made by the Mayor and citizens of Shanghai to the rising sun design of the Japanese flag. The building, completed in 2008 and designed by architects Kohn Pederson Fox is 492 metres high.