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In the skyscraper game, the developing world is running away with the headlines.

Global capital fuels the race, while the press and web forums drum up rabid enthusiasm. Structural topping-out gets its own ceremony in some cities across the world.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is the closest thing to an authority on skyscraper rankings, the final arbiter of what constitutes ‘structural’ versus ‘architectural’ height. We defer to their standard in the list that follows.

Where the construction timetable is fuzzy we’ve gone for the best visual evidence on sites like Skyscraper City. But yes, speculation is involved.

1. Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea

Photography: Teddy Cross
Photography: Teddy Cross

At 556 metres, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates’ pursed tower with a transparent exoskeleton is slated to be 2016’s tallest top-out. It would be the world’s fourth tallest today, the sixth tallest if completed by the end of next year, and probably out of the top ten a year later.

Completion: 2016

2. Changsha IFS Tower, Changsha, China

Credit: Wong Tung & Partners

Hotel and office hybrid, this straightforward supertall (> 1,000 feet) by Wong Tung & Partners in Hunan Province’s booming capital city is more than 100 metres off the mark set by Lotte World Tower. Still, transplanted to America, it would come in at second place after One World Trade Center.

Completion: 2017

3. Suzhou IFS, Suzhou, China

Photography: E8xE8
Photography: E8xE8

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates’ elastic design for another financial centre in another Chinese regional hub seems to roll up like a magazine. At 450 metres, it is two metres shy of the Changsha tower.

Completion: 2017

4. World One, Mumbai, India

Credit: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Credit: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Matching the height of Willis Tower (North America’s #2), this work from Pei Cobb Freed & Partners also reflects Willis’ form – and Chicago’s Trump Tower – with tiered volumes stepping up to 442 metres. It will be among the world’s tallest all-residential structures.

Completion: 2017

5. Nanning Logan Century 1, Nanning, China

Credit: DLN Architects
Credit: DLN Architects

This number from Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man Architects & Engineers will climb 383 metres, topped by a helipad. The design mimics and simplifies the neo-Gothic spires of an earlier skyscraper boom à la the Woolworth and Empire State Buildings.

Completion: 2017

6. Three Sixty West Tower B, Mumbai, India

Credit: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Credit: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Kohn Pedersen Fox is back with this 90-storey residential building. Zigzagging cuts in the curtainwall break up the monotony of yet another boxy tower.

Completion: 2017

7. Suning Plaza Tower 1, Zhenjiang, China

Credit: RMJM
Credit: RMJM

RMJM composed this sinewy mixed-use building for a mid-sized city on the Yangtze. It is expected to hit 341 metres this coming year.

Completion: 2016

8. Wilshire Grand Center, Los Angeles, USA

Credit: AC Martin
Credit: AC Martin

This 335-metre hotel and office building from AC Martin will take the title of California’s tallest (and tallest west of the Mississippi) when it tops out in 2016. Downtown LA is starting to look like the business hub you’d expect from America’s second largest city.

Completion: 2017

9. Zhuhau St. Regis Hotel & Office Tower, Zhuhai, China

Credit: Coscia Moos Architecture
Credit: Coscia Moos Architecture

This convention centre development adds another hotel to South China’s prime resort city. The centrepiece is a 330-metre cylindrical tower – a close stylistic cousin to Shanghai Tower – designed by Coscia Moos Architecture. This makes five of the ten tallest anticipated top outs in 2016 Chinese.

Completion: 2016

10. Salesforce Tower, San Francisco, USA

Credit: Pelli Clarke Pelli
Credit: Pelli Clarke Pelli

Los Angeles will wrest a share of West Coast skyline primacy away from San Francisco when Wilshire Grand tops out next year. But this 326-metre addition keeps San Fran in the mix. The Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed office tower will be the city’s tallest.

Completion: 2017

Ian Spula is a freelance journalist covering architecture, design and property for Chicago Magazine, Dwell and The Spaces.

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