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20 Cities with the Most Skyscrapers in the World

Zsuzsanna Pengo
·11 min read

Below we presented the list of 20 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the top 10 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world. We bet you can't guess which is #1 in our list.

Walking in a megalopolis, such as New York City, you may have admired under a spell these tall, slender or robust buildings, called skyscrapers. Nowadays cities are competing with each other by constructing taller and more skyscrapers. As of 2020 the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is by far the tallest construction in the world with its 829,8 meters (2,722 ft) height.

But in order to be able to appreciate these breathtaking buildings, let's investigate their history. According to its modern definition, a skyscraper should be at least 150 meters (492 ft) tall, and constantly habitable with a minimum of 40 floors. Skyscrapers can be homes to residential places, hotels, offices and retail spaces. But originally, the term skyscraper was used for buildings with steel frames between 10 and 20 stories in the end of the 19th century. Surprisingly, the first steel-framed skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building (Chicago, Illinois) was constructed as early as 1885. It could boast with a respectable height of 42 meters or 138 feet. As for their features, they have one thing in common - they have a steel frame that supports so-called curtain walls instead of the conventional load-bearing walls, which results the walls can be built taller than those made of reinforced concrete. Modern skyscrapers don't have load-bearing walls any more, and most of them have an amazing sight of huge surface areas of windows due to steel frames and curtain walls. The modern descendants of the traditional skyscrapers have frequently a tubular structure, which works like a hollow cylinder to bide lateral loads, such as storm, wind, and seism.

We can not only admire these architectural wonders individually, but there is a Skyscraper day - every September 3rd. On this day we commemorate Louis Sullivan, who was the first master architect of skyscrapers. He was born in Boston on 3 September 1856. Sullivan and William LeBaron Jenney worked together on the first steel-framed skyscraper, as we mentioned above, the now-demolished Home Insurance Building.

On a world scale, New York City has the most buildings above 100 meters. No wonder some of the largest construction companies in NY and NJ can be also found on the list of the biggest construction companies in the US, such as Peter Kiewit Sons Inc., The Turner Corp., and Skanska Inc. Also we can see how the biggest influencers in the construction industry trace the maps of the cities in these days. As a result, workforce is always in high demand in this industry. But let's turn back to the cities with the most skyscrapers.

On collecting the data for the compilation of 20 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world, we consulted The Skyscraper Center. As according to the modern definition a sykscraper should be at least 150 meters tall, this was the data we used to rank the cities. For instance you can observe although New York City has by far the most high-rise buildings in the world, it is only on the second spot in our list. Nevertheless, there are just nine cities in the world where we can find more than 100 skyscrapers above 150 meters. The compilation of the 20 cities with the most skyscrapers also includes arresting information on the cities' area, population, most common function and material of the skyscrapers, also the year and the name of the first 150m+ building.

Let's take a look at the 20 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world, starting with the 20th spot:

Pixabay/Public domain

20. Nanjing, China

Number of all buildings: 74

Number of buildings above 100m: 71

Number of buildings above 150m: 58

Number of buildings above 200m: 28

Number of buildings above 300m: 6

We can see that 9 of the 20 cities are in China, the first one, Nanjing is situated in this huge country as well. Its population is 8,161,800 spanning 6,598 m2 (2,547 mi2). The first high-rise building above 150 meters, the Golden Eagle International Plaza was constructed in 1998. Its architectural height is 214 m (702 ft) with 58 floors above ground, and 2 floors under ground. The city can boast with 58 completed buildings above 150 m, and more 15 skyscrapers are under construction. We can also find 6 jawdropping buildings above 300 m, while 7 other ones are under construction. The tallest building in Nanjing is the gorgeous Zifeng Tower (450 m). Skyscrapers in Nanjing host mainly offices (55%), while the most common material is composite (59%).

Pixabay/Public domain

19. Busan, South Korea

Number of all buildings: 91

Number of buildings above 100m: 81

Number of buildings above 150m: 62

Number of buildings above 200m: 21

Number of buildings above 300m: 4

We have two cities from South Korea, Busan is the first one. Its population is 3,590,101 spread across 767 km2 (269 mi2). Its first skyscraper above 150 m, the Lotte Hotel Busan, was built in 1997. It can boast with an amazing height of 172.8 m (567 ft), with 41 floors above fround and 5 floors under ground. Busan has an honorable number of skyscrapers above 150 meters: 62 of them are completed, while another 12 are under construction. Also there are 4 fascinating buildings above 300 m. Busan City's tallest skyscraper is the LCT The Sharp Landmark Tower (412 m). Skyscrapers in Busan are normally residential places (91%), and the most common material of the buildings is concrete (95%).

Pixabay/Public domain

18. Toronto, Canada

Number of all buildings: 538

Number of buildings above 100m: 269

Number of buildings above 150m: 67

Number of buildings above 200m: 23

Number of buildings above 300m: 0

Toronto is the first one out of the 20 cities with the most skyscrapers that is in North America. The city, securing 630 km2 (243 mi2), has a population of 2,615,060. Its first high-rise building, the TD Tower (222.8 m / 731 ft) was constructed as early as 1967. It owns 56 floors above ground and 4 floors under ground. There are 67 completed skyscrapers above 150 m and also 31 other ones are under constrction. Toronto doesn't have any buildings above 300 m, although two ones are under construction. The city's tallest building is the First Canadian Place (298 m). Skyscrapers in Toronto​ are mainly residential buildings (58%), and the most common material is concrete (87%).

Pixabay/Public domain

17. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Number of all buildings: 141

Number of buildings above 100m: 97

Number of buildings above 150m: 78

Number of buildings above 200m: 39

Number of buildings above 300m: 5

Kuala Lumpur, having a land area of 243 km2 (64 mi2), can boast with a population of 1,627,172. The first skyscraper above 150 m, the Menara KH was built in 1983. It's estimated height is 152 m (499 ft), with 36 floors above ground. Kuala Lumpur is proud to have 82 completed buildings above 150 m, while there are another 29 under construction. As for the skyscrapers above 300 m - we can find 5 completed of them and 6 other buildings are awaiting to be completed. Kuala Lumpur's tallest skyscraper is the worldwide famous Petronas Twin Tower 2 (452 m). 40% of these breathtaking, monumental buildings are offices, and the most common material is concrete (89%).

Pixabay/Public domain

16. Seoul, South Korea

Number of all buildings: 163

Number of buildings above 100m: 140

Number of buildings above 150m: 78

Number of buildings above 200m: 16

Number of buildings above 300m: 1

Seoul, the capital of South Korea spanning 605 km2 (234 mi2), has a population of 10,140,000. The KLI 63 Building was the city's first skyscraper above 150 m in 1985. Its architectural height is 249.6 m (819 ft) with 60 floors above ground and 3 floors under ground. The map will show you 80 completed and 3 uncompleted buildings above 150 m, while if you want to see skyscrapers above 300 m, you will find two ones in the city. The grandiose Lotte World Tower is situated in Seoul, with its impressive 555 m (1,83 ft) height. 56% of these constructions are inhabited, and the most common material is concrete (47%).

Pixabay/Public domain

15. Chengdu, China

Number of all buildings: 105

Number of buildings above 100m: 96

Number of buildings above 150m: 81

Number of buildings above 200m: 20

Number of buildings above 300m: 2

Chengdu is the second Chinese city on our list of the 20 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world. 7,677,100 people cover a land area of 2,129 km2 (822 mi2). The very first high-rise building above 150 m, Sichuan Bank of China was built in 1994. Its architectural height is 160 m (525 ft), with 38 floors above ground and 3 floors under ground. Checking out the high-rise buildings, we can find 82 completed buildings (another 10 are under construction), and 3 skyscrapers above 300 m are being built. The tallest building here is the Chengdu International Finance Square Tower 2 (247 m, 810 ft). Commonly, these large buildings are used as offices (54%), and the more common material is composite (55%).

Pixabay/Public domain

14. Shenyang, China

Number of all buildings: 93

Number of buildings above 100m: 92

Number of buildings above 150m: 85

Number of buildings above 200m: 20

Number of buildings above 300m: 2

Shenyang is the third Chinese city among those that have the most skyscrapers across the globe. Its first building above 150 m, the Northeast Electric Power Mansion was constructed in 1997. Its height is 188 m (617 ft), with 43 floors above ground, and 2 floors under ground. Another 85 completed buildings above 150 m can be found here (30 others are under construction), and there are 2 completed skyscrapers above 300 m (another 3 ones are under constrction). The tallest building here is the picturesque Forum 66 Tower (350.6 m, 1150 ft). Commonly, these large buildings are inhabited (59%), and the more common material is concrete (69%).

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aphotostory/Shutterstock.com

13. Singapore, Singapore

Number of all buildings: 240

Number of buildings above 100m: 150

Number of buildings above 150m: 90

Number of buildings above 200m: 33

Number of buildings above 300m: 0

Singapore's population is 5,399,200, on a land area of 716 km2 (276 mi2). Its first building above 150 m, the Meritus Mandarin Tower 2 was constructed 47 years ago, in 1973! Its height is 152 m (499 ft), with 40 floors above ground. Another 94 completed buildings above 150 m can be found here, while there is another one under construction. The tallest building here is the gigantesque Guoco Tower (284 m, 931 ft). These high-rise buildings are frequently used as offices (48%), and the more common material is concrete (73%).

Pixabay/Public domain

12. Jakarta, Indonesia

Number of all buildings: 414

Number of buildings above 100m: 156

Number of buildings above 150m: 91

Number of buildings above 200m: 40

Number of buildings above 300m: 0

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, has a population of 9,588,198 on a land area of 7,642 km2 (2,951 mi2). Its first building above 150 m, the Wisma 46 was constructed in 1996. Its architectural height is 261.9 m (859 ft) with 46 floors above ground, and 2 floors under ground. Taking a look at the view of the city, we can see 91 completed buildings above 150 m (while 16 others are under constrction), and 4 uncompleted skyscrapers above 300 m. The tallest building of this city is the colossal Gama Tower (286 m/937 ft). 43% of these constructions are residential places, and the most common material is concrete (89%).

Pixabay/Public domain

11. Bangkok, Thailand

Number of all buildings: 174

Number of buildings above 100m: 120

Number of buildings above 150m: 92

Number of buildings above 200m: 21

Number of buildings above 300m: 3

Whenever I can hear the name of this city, I can't help remembering the famous mini-series, Bangkok Hilton. Naturally, we are focusing on the bright side of this city, with its amazing skyscrapers. Bangkok has a population of 8,280,925, spanning 1,569 km2 (606 mi2). Its first building above 150 m, the Baiyoke Tower I was constructed on 1987. Its height is 151 m (495 ft), with 42 floors above ground. Another 92 completed buildings above 150 m can be found here (15 other ones are under construction), and Bangkok can boast with 3 completed skyscrapers above 300 m (another one is being built). The tallest building here is the Magnolias Waterfront Residences Tower 1 (315 m, 1,033 ft). Commonly, these large buildings are inhabited (59%), and the more common material is concrete (95%).

Pixabay/Public domain

Click to continue reading and see the top 10 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world.

Disclosure: 20 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.