Top 10 concrete skyscrapers

Buildings that stand tall according to the criteria set by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Steel was the structural material of choice for skyscrapers in America for much of the last century, but the advent of the Falzur’s tube frame system and a desire to build more elaborate buildings with better working spaces led to a shift in thinking during the latter half of the millennium. Concrete buildings not only offer designers flexibility in the shapes and designs they’re able to create, but also offer more uninterrupted and usable floor space than steel-framed buildings.

The following is a list of tallest buildings that use concrete as their main structural element. While it’s true that all concrete buildings use steel rebar to reinforce the structure, this list (compiled using Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat data) uses the following definitions.

• A steel tall building is defined as one where the main vertical and lateral structural elements and floor systems are constructed from steel.

• A concrete tall building is defined as one where the main vertical and lateral structural elements and floor systems are constructed from concrete.

• A composite tall building utilises a combination of both steel and concrete acting compositely in the main structural elements, thus including a steel building with a concrete core.

This list omits Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101 as they are considered composite buildings.

Trump International Hotel  and Tower

The Trump International Hotel and Tower, also known as Trump Tower Chicago and locally as the Trump Tower, was designed by architect Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Prior to leaving the company to set up his own consultancy, Smith was the design partner at SOM, and he was key in the design and construction of the Burj Khalifa.

The skyscraper uses set-back features to blend in with the surrounding buildings. Designed using the bundled tube construction method, each of the supporting towers mirrors the height of surrounding buildings to help maintain visual continuity of the Chicago skyline.

The 92-storey building has 242,000m² of floor space and 486 luxury residential condominiums. The tower also has a luxury hotel condominium with 339 guest rooms, retail space and parking. Bovis Lend Lease constructed the tower, and went on to build the 46-storey Trump Soho tower in New York, which opened this year.


Location: Chicago, USA

Height: 423m

Floors: 98

Completed: 2009

Use: Residential/hotel


When the state-owned China International Trust and Investment Company wanted someone to design its headquarters , the organisation called on a company that was well versed in the intricacies of large-scale project development.

Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man Architects & Engineers (HK) Ltd has worked on several dozen high profile projects throughout China, and the practice was drafted in to design the 390m high, 80-storey concrete CITIC Plaza in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou.

When it was completed in 1997, it was the tallest concrete building in the world. Even now, it still ranks as the sixth tallest building in China as well as the twelfth tallest building in the world.

The structural engineer was the Maunsell AECOM Group, and the building was constructed as a joint venture between Kumagai Gammon and Hong Kong Construction Ltd over a three year period between starting in 1993.


Location: Guangzhou, China

Height: 390m

Floors: 80

Completed: 1996

Use: Commercial

Central Plaza

Another Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man Architects & Engineers (HK) Ltd project, the Central Plaza stands 374m high and is Hong Kong’s third tallest building.

The building’s triangular design provides 20% more of the offices with views of the harbour than would have been possible with a rectangular or square design, and the building consists of two main components: a free standing 368m office tower and a 30.5 m podium block.

The three section main tower includes the tower base which forms the main entrance and public circulation spaces; a 235m tall tower which contains 57 office floors, the observation deck and five mechanical plant floors; and the tower top which houses six mechanical plant floors and a 102m tower mast.

Time was a critical factor in building the tower, so the building was originally designed as a steel structure, but a change in plans meant that main contractor Manloze Ltd was able to build using concrete by adopting the climbing form and table form method. The use of concrete also saved the developer a considerable amount of money.


Location: Hong Kong, China

Height: 374m

Floors: 78

Completed: 1992

Use: Commercial

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