It’s no secret that China remains the world leader in tall buildings – in the ranks of existing skyscrapers and in the sheer number of projects in the pipeline. But 2018 will not be China’s year for tallest top-outs, nor UAE’s… That honour goes to the United States (gasp!), and more specifically New York.
The Big Apple’s well-publicised skyscraper boom has a crop of Central Park-hugging towers rounding the home stretch – three of which make our list of the 10 tallest buildings to reach structural top-out in the coming year.
Predicting top-outs is an imperfect science, complicated by factors including weather and financing. Buildings speed up, slow down, and sometimes stall – like World One in Mumbai. The tallest of all have a way of confounding predictions given their extended project timelines. After leading our 2017 list, Wuhan Greenland Center is back to top 2018’s.
Anchoring our predictions is The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat – the global referee for official building heights, and a dutiful tracker of development status. We cross-checked info from the CTBUH database against developer websites and forums for skyscraper enthusiasts to get the most accurate read on construction progress.
Here now, the 10 tallest buildings topping out in 2018 (in ascending order):
10. Greenland Group Suzhou Center
Projected to achieve a 60 percent reduction in energy consumption over the average American skyscraper, this SOM-designed office tower will become the second-tallest in the fast-growing southern Chinese port city of Suzhou. Digital aerodynamic modelling sculpted this high-performance tower, distinguished by its operable 30-storey atrium window—the lungs of the building.
9. Golden Eagle Tiandi Tower A
This project in downtown Nanjing, China, is that rare supertall designed by a homegrown architecture firm. At 368 metres, it’s the tallest of three towers sprouting from a massive mixed-use podium base designed with a rooftop park and pond. Another striking feature is the multi-storey enclosed bridge connection linking all three buildings at around the 200-metre mark.
8. 30 Hudson Yards
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates designed this anchor tower for New York’s Hudson Yards mega-development. Yes, it’s big and glassy, but this isn’t your average boxy skyscraper. A series of moves—setbacks, ledges, and tapering—pay respect to the vernacular of Midtown Manhattan while mirroring the shape of neighbouring 10 Hudson Yards. The two towers share a podium at the entry to this new city within a city, and the negative shape of the sky between them creates as much intrigue as the towers themselves.
7. LCT Landmark Tower
Fittingly, South Korea’s second city, Busan, is getting the country’s second-tallest building. At 412 metres, this 101-storey supertall is flanked by two 85-storey towers making up a seaside entertainment and conference resort. Designed by SOM and Samoo Architects & Engineers, this project, although on track to fall just outside the global top 50 when completed, puts this city of 3.5 million on the radar of skyscraper fan clubs.
6. 111 West 57th Street
Topping out at 435 metres, this SHoP Architects-designed condominium will be New York’s third tallest skyscraper and one of the world’s most slender. Despite its assertive razor-thin profile and distinctive feathered appearance, this structure is an exercise in contextual design. Also known as Steinway Tower, the 82-storey monument to extreme wealth only subtly addresses 57th Street. Rather, it’s buried in the historic façade of the Steinway Building, acting as its base. Novel use of bronze and terracotta detailing references the Golden Age of skyscrapers, the still-dominant style in Midtown.
5. Riverview Plaza A1
The form of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects’ new tower in Wuhan, China, is inspired by small traditional boats called sampans that used to crowd the Yangtze River. Whether intended to evoke a mast, the tower’s architectural spire gives it a 100-metre boost which places it square in the middle of the pack for 2018’s tallest top-outs. The 436-metre building is part of a 3-tower complex that aims to be a commercial and entertainment anchor for this city of 11 million.
4. Nanning China Resources Tower
Nanning’s future tallest building is a sculpturally expressive catalyst for this booming city’s aggressive march to the east. Goettsch Partners’ crystalline design integrates multiple uses and intertwines the building with neighbouring services and transportation. LEED Gold certification is being targeted—a rarity for a supertall—with material choices and energy-saving strategies that ensure peak performance and longevity.
3. Vincom Landmark 81
Also back on the list with a reset timetable, the Atkins Global-designed hotel and residential tower will be far-and-away Vietnam’s tallest when it FINALLY tops out in 2018. Dominating Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline, the 461-metre tower’s busy array of setbacks and volumes manages to reference Willis Tower, Burj Khalifa, and the Empire State Building all at once.
2. Central Park Tower
Fifty—or even 30—years ago, few people imagined the new Millennium’s tallest buildings would be residential. Especially in the last decade, apartment towers really turned the corner on office buildings. Central Park Tower is a prime example. Edging as close as possible to the park, and snatching up whatever air rights it could to make the views permanent, the 472-metre building will become the world’s tallest residential structure. Were we just talking roof height, sans spire, it would rank as the tallest building in the United States. Construction is on a tear, so we’re waging it will top within the year.
1. Wuhan Greenland Center
Carrying over from 2017’s list, this rocket-like 636-metre tower with sloping columns and triangular floor plans is still on pace to become World #2 until eclipsed in 2020 by Jeddah Tower. Located in the most populous city in central China, fast becoming a hotbed for skyscrapers, Wuhan Greenland Center is joined on our list by neighboring Riverview Plaza A1. It is the only ‘megatall’—buildings over 2,000 feet in height—likely to top out in 2018.
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