Reviewing a Smaller Year in Taller Buildings
Though tall building construction lulled for the first time in 6 years, it is expected to rise in 2013 and 2014. Milestones over the past year included the completion of the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel in Saudi Arabia, now the second tallest building in the world and one of the world's two 'megatall' structures, at 601 meters. Also, four of the six tallest buildings completed in 2012 are located in Dubai. In addition, China built 22 buildings over 200 meters tall, representing about one third of the global number. And, Mecca saw the completion of five buildings taller than 200 meters (in the entire U.S. only two were completed). Finally, 12 of the 66 tall buildings finished in 2012 made it onto the list of the Top 100 tallest buildings worldwide.
So why all this building up? According to the latest 'Tall Trends of 2012' report [PDF], there are several factors driving this upward spiral including, "[t]he limited availability of land in urban centers, [which] is driving up prices and prompting developers to build taller to recoup their investments." Furthermore, "[s]everal countries, including China, are also in the midst of a dramatic shift from rural to urban economies." And, "[i]n addition, new technologies and building systems are increasing the efficiency of tall buildings, allowing developers to cost-effectively create taller projects.” Another driving factor is a “sharp increase in prices for luxury apartments,” which translated into the inclusion of residential components in many of these skyscrapers.
China's building boom is expected to last for years, and Canada, with Toronto as its “epicenter”, is now the “hot spot for tall building development” in North America. The article concludes: "Despite the economic crisis, tall building construction is still an important driver for the revitalization of fast-growing urban centers around the world, particularly in Asia and the Middle East... The need to create efficient, high density districts for people to live and work is pushing skylines higher, and there is no evidence that those factors will subside any time soon."