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The Five Tallest Glass Skyscrapers, and the Views From Their Tops



The Five Tallest Glass Skyscrapers, and the Views From Their Tops

The Five Tallest Glass Skyscrapers, and Their Views

Whether it is from a lookout point on the side of the road or a scenic vista from the top of the mountain, everyone can appreciate a good view.

And while nature provides many great opportunities for admiring such scenery, some of the best views are actually from man-made structures. In particular, the world’s tallest glass skyscrapers provide an unparalleled chance to see the surrounding city and landscape from an unobstructed bird’s eye view.

The Five Tallest Glass Skyscrapers

Today’s infographic from Abbey Glass shows us the five tallest glass skyscrapers in the world, as well as the views from the top of these structures.

Four of the five tallest glass skyscrapers are located in Asia, which is not surprising considering that 76.4% of all skyscrapers completed in 2015 were on the Asian continent. It’s also worth noting that all of the skyscrapers on this list are relatively new, with the oldest being built in 2008 – for a more visual representation of this trend, see our post documenting how the world’s tallest buildings have changed over time.

1. Burj Khalifa (Dubai, UAE)

The Burj Khalifa, completed in 2010 in 1,325 days, is an engineering feat. At 828m (2,717 ft) tall, the view from the world’s tallest building makes other “skyscrapers” in the city look microscopic. Despite having 18 built-in maintenance units for cleaning the windows of the Burj Khalifa, it still takes three to four full months to wipe down the exterior of this monstrosity.

2. Shanghai Tower (Shanghai, China)

The Shanghai Tower, the tallest skyscraper completed in 2015, stands at 632m (2,073 ft). It’s the world’s second-tallest building, and has been designed as a spiral that twists an average of 1% per floor.

3. One World Trade Center (New York, USA)

The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere is located on the site of the two original World Trade Center towers. Its height in feet (1,776 ft) corresponds with the year the United States achieved independence.

4. Shanghai World Financial Center (Shanghai, China)

The Shanghai World Financial Center, completed in 2008, is the oldest building on this list. At 492m (1,614 ft) in height, it has been engineered to withstand a magnitude eight earthquake, lightning strikes, or the typhoon-force winds often encountered in the city.

5. International Commerce Center (Hong Kong, China)

The tallest building in Hong Kong is also the fifth-tallest glass skyscraper in the world. At 484m (1,587 ft), it is also home to the world’s highest swimming pool.

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Visualized: Which Coastal Cities are Sinking the Fastest?

Many major coastal cities are experiencing local land subsidence where underground soil and rock collapse, causing the surface above to sink.



A cropped map and ranking of the fastest sinking coastal cities in the world by local land subsidence.

Which Coastal Cities Are Sinking the Fastest?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

With sea levels rising, there is cause for concern about the livability of major coastal cities—often huge centers of trade and commerce, and homes to millions of people.

But an overlooked area is how coastal cities are themselves sinking—a phenomenon called relative local land subsidence (RLLS)—which occurs when underground materials, such as soil, rock, or even man-made structures, compact or collapse, causing the surface above to sink.

This can exacerbate the effects of rising sea levels (currently averaged at 3.7 mm/year), and is a useful metric to track for coastal communities.

Creator Planet Anomaly, looks at the top 10 cities ranked by the peak subsidence velocity. This graphic is based on a paper published by Nature Sustainability, which used satellite data to track land subsidence changes in 48 high-population coastal cities located within 50 kilometers of the coastline. Their data collection spanned six years from 2014 to 2020.

ℹ️ Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) utilizes two images taken at different times, which are then compared to create an interferogram. This interferogram illustrates changes in land motion relative to a reference point in the satellite’s line-of-sight over time. By analyzing a series of these interferograms, researchers can estimate the long-term velocity of the ground’s surface for each city.

In that time period, they found that 44 of the cities they studied—many of them massively populated, developed megacities, built on flat, low-lying river deltas—had areas sinking faster than sea levels were rising.

The 10 Fastest Sinking Coastal Cities

One of the top cities on the list is Tianjin, China with a population of more than 14 million people, which has areas of the city experiencing peak RLLS velocities of 43 mm a year between 2014–2020. The median velocity is much lower, at 6 mm/year, which means some areas are sinking much faster than the overall metropolitan area.

Tianjin is bordered by Beijing municipality to the northwest and the Bohai Gulf to the east. In June 2023, large cracks appeared on Tianjin’s streets, caused by underground land collapses, a byproduct of extensive geothermal drilling, according to the local government.

RankCityCountryPeak Velocity
Median Velocity
1Tianjin🇨🇳 China436
2Ho Chi Minh City🇻🇳 Vietnam4316
3Chittagong🇧🇩 Bangladesh3712
4Yangon🇲🇲 Myanmar314
5Jakarta🇮🇩 Indonesia265
6Ahmedabad🇮🇳 India235
7Istanbul🇹🇷 Turkey196
8Houston🇺🇸 U.S.173
9Lagos🇳🇬 Nigeria172
10Manila🇵🇭 Philippines172

Ho Chi Minh City (population 9 million) in Vietnam also faces similar RLLS rates as Tianjin though its median velocity is much higher at 16 mm/year.

Chittagong, Bangladesh, Yangon, Myanmar, and Jakarta, Indonesia, round out the top five fastest sinking coastal cities by relative land subsidence. They all face a similar web of contributing factors as the authors of the paper note below:

“Many of these fast-subsiding coastal cities are rapidly expanding megacities, where anthropogenic factors, such as high demands for groundwater extraction and loading from densely constructed building structures, contribute to local land subsidence.” — Tay, C., Lindsey, E.O., Chin, S.T. et al.

In fact, Indonesia has ambitious plans to relocate its sinking capital, Jakarta, to another island, a move that could cost the Indonesian government more than $120 billion. This comes after the forecast that one-third of Jakarta could be submerged as early as 2050. Aside from the regular flooding, Jakarta is also extremely prone to earthquakes.

Why Measure Local Land Subsidence?

The researchers of this report argue that local land subsidence is largely underestimated in relative sea level rise assessments and is crucial for the sustainable development of coastal areas.

The data they’ve collected—peak velocity versus median velocity—also allows them to identify specific areas and neighborhoods in cities that are undergoing rapid subsidence and thus facing a greater exposure to coastal hazards.

In New York, for example, their results suggested that subsidence is only localized west of Breezy Point and “should not be extrapolated eastward along the coast” of Long Island.

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