For the second straight year, the world has seen a decrease in the number of tall buildings completed, according to a new report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

Each year, the CTBUH takes a look back on the tall building progress throughout the world and makes predictions on the current year. While 2019 broke the record for most supertall buildings, defined as 300 meters or more in height, it saw a 13.7% drop in overall tall buildings, defined as 200 meters or more in height. 2020 continued the trend of less tall buildings, with a 20% decline versus 2019, but that shouldn’t be all that surprising given the year we had last year.

2020 Tall Buildings

The CTBUH was already predicting that a smaller amount of tall buildings would be smaller in 2020 at the beginning of last year, but the gap was much smaller than it ended up being. In total, 106 tall buildings were completed in 2020 (vs. 133 in 2019), with 21 of those being supertall buildings. 106 tall buildings is the smallest number of completed tall buildings since 2014.

While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly caused issues throughout the world, including at least 9 tall building project delays in Malaysia, India, and Brazil, an even larger factor of the reduction in completions is the waning interest of China. The report states that China has reduced tall and supertall building projects in order to reduce their debt and they have also created several public policies against the “needless production of exceedingly tall buildings.”

Even with the reduction, China still had the highest number of tall buildings completed in 2020, by far, accounting for 56 of the 106 tall buildings. The UAE was second with 12, all of which were located in Dubai. The United States completed 10 tall buildings, tanking them 3rd for the year.

The US also had the two tallest buildings completed last year: the Central Park Tower and One Vanderbilt, both in New York City. 2020 was the first time since 2014 that China did not have the tallest building completed.

10 Tallest Buildings Completed in 2020

  1. Central Park Tower, New York City, New York: 1550 feet

  2. One Vanderbilt, New York City, New York: 1401 feet

  3. Nanning China Resources Tower, Nanning, China: 1321 feet

  4. Guiyang International Financial Center T1, Guiyang, China: 1316 feet

  5. Shum Yip Upperhills Tower 1, Shenzhen, China: 1273 feet

  6. St. Regis Chicago, Chicago, Illinois: 1191 feet

  7. NEVA TOWERS 2, Moscow, Russia: 1132 feet

  8. Heartland 66 Office Tower, Wuhan, China: 1112 feet

  9. Parc1 Tower I, Seoul, South Korea: 1109 feet

  10. Hengqin International Finance Center, Zhuhai, China: 1108 feet

2021 Projections

Even with the uncertainty of the global pandemic, the CTBUH still has a positive outlook for tall buildings in 2021. They predict between 125 and 150 tall buildings to be completed this year, which is slightly higher than their 2020 projection. 14 to 30 of those completions are expected to be supertall buildings.

Full story: Tall Buildings in 2020: COVID-19 Contributes to Dip in Year-On-Year Completions | The Skyscraper Center

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