The ‘super-tall’ age is here: World welcomes 100th mammoth skyscraper

By Thomas Page, for CNN

(CNN) It started in Manhattan, 1930: the Chrysler Building, nudging over 300 meters (984 feet), became the world’s first supertall skyscraper. A new benchmark for aerial architecture had been set, and over the course of the next 80 years, 49 more were added to the list.

Now, remarkably, that number has doubled. Between 2010 and 2015, 50 new supertall skyscrapers were built, and the hundredth is now open for business.

At 425.5 meters (1396 feet) high, 432 Park Avenue in New York City is only the fourteenth highest building in the world, but its symbolism cannot be overstated. It marks a significant juncture in an astonishing period of rapid architectural growth, coinciding with economic booms in both the Middle East and Asia.

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The slender skyscraper is typical of “skinny” new construction projects being built in high density areas, and becomes the seventh building over 300 meters (984 feet) in New York. Designed by Rafael Vinoly and developed by CIM Group and Macklowe Properties, 432 Park Avenue is the tallest all-residential building in the world. 104 luxury condominiums are priced from $7 million, with the penthouse retailing at $95 million — more than double the construction cost of the Empire State Building in 1931.

The world’s hundredth supertall building may have been constructed in New York, but since the turn of the century the focus of skyscraper construction has shifted east.

Today, 22 buildings in the United Arab Emirates stand at over 300 meters (984 feet), and China is host to 36. One of those in the Emirates was constructed before 2000, and only six were finished in China pre-Millennium. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia now owns the third highest building in the world, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower.

The 828 meter-high (2717 feet) Burj Khalifa in Dubai has held the record for the world’s tallest building since 2010, and currently stands 198 meters (650 feet) above the Shanghai Tower, its nearest rival. That’s set to change however, when the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia completes in 2018, becoming the first man-made structure to surpass one kilometer (0.6 miles) in height.

Three other projects currently under construction, the Suzhou Zhongnan Center and Wuhan Greenland Center, both in China, and KL118 Tower, in Malaysia, also surpass 600 meters (1969 feet) — and so qualify as “megatall” buildings, the latest standard for extreme skyscrapers.

Height isn’t everything however, and only time will tell if these new creations become design classics. Scroll through the gallery below to see which gravity-defying structures have taken on an iconic status.