Among the tallest towers completed in 2013 are, from left, the J.W. Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); Mercury City Tower, in Moscow; Modern Media Center, in Changzhou, China; Al Yaqoub Tower, in Dubai; The Landmark, in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Deji Plaza, in Nanjing, China; and Cayan Tower, in Dubai. © CTBUH
A new report shows that more tall buildings were completed in 2013 compared to 2012, indicating a return of the upward trend in skyscraper construction.
February 4, 2014—A new report shows that more tall buildings were constructed worldwide in 2013 than in 2012, indicating that the decrease in year-to-year tall building completions in 2012 was likely an anomaly and tall-building construction is once again on an upward trend. In fact, 2013 was the second-most successful year ever for the completion of buildings 200 m or taller, according to the report.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) released its Year in Review: Tall Trends of 2013 on January 16. According to the report, 73 buildings measuring 200 m or taller were completed around the world in 2013—a nearly 6 percent increase compared with 2012, when 69 such buildings were completed. The report also states that the decrease in tall-building completions in 2012, compared to a record 81 completions in 2011, likely occurred as the result of the residual effects of the 2008 global financial crisis, and the 2013 increase in the completion of tall buildings marks a return to the general upward trend in tall-building construction that has been prevalent throughout the past decade.
“If you look at every year since 2006, every year has usurped the last in terms of completions,” said Daniel Safarik, a staff editor and coauthor of the report for the CTBUH, in response to written questions posed by Civil Engineering online. “[The year] 2012 was the only ‘dip,’ and 2013 represents a recovery from that dip.” Safarik added that tall-building completions likely decreased in 2012 compared to 2011 because many projects were canceled or delayed as a result of the financial crisis. “We interpret 2013 as a modest recovery from 2012 (and a reflection of postrecessionary financing and design cycles) that has not quite caught up with the previously established [upward] pace,” he said.
The total height of the 73 tall buildings completed worldwide in 2013 was 17,662 m—a ranking that is second only to 2011, when the total sum of completed tall buildings was 21,642 m, the report says. A dozen of the buildings completed in 2013 were added to the list of the 100 Tallest Buildings in the World, and for the fourth year in a row, nine of the buildings completed were among the so-called “supertalls”—buildings measuring 300 m or more—bringing the total number of supertalls in existence to 77. Furthermore, for the second consecutive year, three of the five tallest buildings completed are in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—the tallest being the 355 m JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai Tower 2 in Dubai, the report says.
Asia dominated the industry by constructing 53 tall buildings—or 74 percent of all such buildings completed in 2013. That’s a 51.4 percent increase compared to the pervious year, when Asia completed 35 tall buildings—or 53 percent of all 200 m or more buildings constructed that year, the report says. China led Asia by completing 37 tall buildings in 2013, followed by South Korea with nine completions—eight of which were constructed in the city of Goyang as part of a single complex known as Tanhyun Doosan. “Goyang, a city of 1.5 million near Seoul, is now on the world skyscraper map in the same way that so many Chinese cities have entered the world’s consciousness over the past dozen years,” the report says. Asia now claims 45 percent of the buildings on the 100 Tallest Buildings in the World list.
China also led the world—claiming nearly half of all of the tall buildings constructed in 2013 and completing 13 more tall buildings than it did in 2012. When added together, the total height of all of the tall buildings completed in China in 2013 was 8,876 m—an increase of 52.4 percent over its 2012 total of 5,823 m, according to the report. Within China, 22 cities completed at least one tall building in 2013. The city of Shenzhen constructed the most, doubling its number of completions from two to four over 2012, the report says. Chongqing and Shanghai followed close behind, each completing three tall buildings last year, while Nanjing, Shenyang, Suzhou, Hefei, Tianjin, Nanning, Xiamen, and Guangzhou each completed two. The tallest building completed in China was the 332 m Modern Media Center in Changzhou, the report says.
The Middle East came in second worldwide by completing 12 tall buildings, or 16 percent of all such buildings in 2013. While the region completed four fewer buildings in 2013 than it did in 2012, it’s important to note that its 2012 total was boosted by a single seven-tower complex in Saudi Arabia, the report says. The UAE, which has been one of the top nations for tall building construction since 2008, increased its completions from five in 2012 to 10 in 2013. “The dueling Emirati cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi continued apace in 2013, each completing five 200 m-plus buildings,” the report states. Although Saudi Arabia, which completed the world’s second-tallest building in 2012, didn’t complete any 200 m tall buildings in 2013, it did see the groundbreaking of Kingdom Tower—a 1,000 m tall building that is expected to be the world’s tallest upon its completion in 2019, the report notes.
While Asia and the Middle East are experiencing a tall-building boon, Europe and the Americas are lagging behind, the report shows. Europe completed four 200 m-plus buildings and in the process increased its number of supertalls from one to three in 2013. Its new supertalls are the 306 m tall The Shard in London, United Kingdom, and the 339 m tall Mercury City tower in Moscow, Russia. The only country in Central America to construct a 200 m or taller building in 2013, Panama completed two 200 m-plus towers, bringing its total number of tall buildings to 19. North America’s only tall building—the 230 m tall Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn Central Park Hotel—was completed in New York City, United States, while South America didn’t complete any 200 m-plus buildings in 2013.
Safarik says the findings indicate that tall building construction is once again on the rise, and the architecture, engineering, and construction industry can assume that such building types will continue to be in demand, especially in Asia and the Middle East. “The A/E/C industry can expect to return to a somewhat ‘normal’ pace of high-rise construction, if the rapid growth of the last ten years or so can be characterized as the ‘new normal,’” he says. “This is largely happening because of China’s rapid urbanization and move toward a more capitalistic economy [as well as] the desire of Middle Eastern leaders to [invest in property] and to increase international trade.” As a result, Safarik said that if firms that haven’t yet established a presence in these areas, China in particular, they had “best do it this year.”