Top 10 skyscrapers of 2019


This year’s results of the Annual Skyscraper Awards show once again that height is not everything when it comes to skyscrapers. Instead, the top three buildings mainly scored points for their innovative design ideas and sustainable construction

The Urban Developer

Real estate research company Emporis, which undertakes an annual Skyscraper Awards to celebrate the newest innovations in vertical design, has announced the top 10 buildings for 2019 from a pool of 500 nominees.

To qualify, nominated buildings must have been completed during the year of the award, and must be at least 100 metres in height.

Europe entrants featured strongly in this year’s list, clearly continuing the general trend of Europe catching up with North America and Asia, the current leaders in skyscraper construction.

Nestled between the Venetian Macao and the Parisian Macao on Macao’s famous Cotai Strip, this year’s winner the MGM Cotai is an unconventional champion.

“The unique structure is based on the idea of nine Chinese jeweller’s boxes stacked upon each other, forming two interconnected towers,” Emporis managing director Daniel Schuldt said.

“The skyscraper does not fall in line with the typical expectations for high-rise architecture in any way.”

For architects Kohn Pedersen Fox it marks the second win in a row, having also designed last year’s winner—The Lotte World Tower in Seoul.

10. 414 Light Street
Baltimore, USA


The 392-apartment 414 Light Street, which opened midway through 2018, was built by Pikesville-based developer Questar Properties.

The US$160 million 44-storey building has 11 penthouses located on just three levels of the 60,000sq m tower.

Architect Solomon Cordwell Buenzv drew inspiration from Baltimore’s historic skyline when designing the building, aiming to usher the city’s downtown into the modern era..

9.China Zun
Beijing, China


The 528-metre-tall CITIC Tower, located in Beijing’s Central Business District, is the tallest skyscraper in the city, the fourth-highest in China and eighth tallest worldwide.

The building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, TFP Farrells Limited, and Beijing Institute of Architectural Design.

Citic Group’s Wuren Wang last year told the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) that the zun symbolizes China’s role as “as a nation of etiquette”, and that the tower represents the country “striding into a new era”.

8. ARO
New York, USA


The 224-metire ARO, designed by New York-based architectural practice CetraRuddy, isn’t the tallest building in New York but the residential development stands out due to its curved structure and webbed exterior.

The 60-storey skyscraper is located in the city’s new Hudson Yards development, and offers 426 apartments across 50,000 square metres.

7Vincom Landmark 81
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


The US$123 million Vincom Landmark 81 stands at 461 metres, making it the tallest hotel in south-east Asia, and 14th tallest in the world.

The 81-story building, designed by Wilson Associates, is the tallest in Vietnam, and offers a 223-room hotel from the 47th to the 77th floors of the tower.

The structure’s design was “inspired by the image of bamboo—a traditional plant symbolising strength and unity”.

The skyscraper features layered floors and 360-degree glass windows, creating a distinct textured appearance. The building holds a shopping centre, a hotel, and apartments.

6. Monde
Toronto, Canada


Monde, by Toronto-based developer Great Gulf, has become a noticeable addition to the Toronto skyline with its tiered roof and expansive balconies a welcome change in the notoriously cooler climate.

The 44-storey residential project, designed by Moshe Safdie and Associates and local firm Quadrangle, offers 553 energy-efficient apartments

5. 1144 Fifteenth
Denver, USA


Denver’s 1144 Fifteenth commercial building, developed by Houston-based Hines, stands at 103-metre tall and is known for offering similar amenities to a hotel.

The tower was designed by Pickard Chilton and Kendall/Heaton Associates, resulting in curved-glass structure unlike, unique to Denver’s CBD.

Along with abundant office spaces, the building features a fitness centre, lounge, and terraces that give tenants areas within the workspace to relax.

4. Nan Shan Plaza
Taipei, Taiwan

Nan Shan Plaza

Designed by Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei and Archasia Design Group, the Nan Shan skyscraper, which stands at 271 metres, is the second tallest building in Taipei

The 48-story building features a clawed top in which the two sides arch towards one another.

According to the Mitsubishi Jisho, the spires are intended to look like praying hands.

352 Lime Street
London, UK

52 Lime Street

London’s 52 Lime Street, which owes its unusual shape to protected views of St Paul’s Cathedral, was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

The 190 metres tower disappears behind the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral when it’s viewed from certain angles in order to provide innovation without disrupting the city’s classic look.

The London skyscraper comprises over 36,000sq m of office floor space over 35 floors.

Levels nine and 10 are occupied by National Australia Bank (NAB) having taken 2,500 square metres.

2La Marseillaise
Marseille, France

La Marseillaise

La Marseillaise office skyscraper, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, features a concrete facade painted in 27 shades of red, white and blue in celebration of the port city’s landscape.

The 135 metre-high tower, which is named La Marseillaise, is situated in Euroméditerranée, an emerging business district on Marseille’s waterfront.

Containing 35,000sq m of workspace, the tower is the largest set of offices in Constructa’s wider Quais d’Arenc development, which will see the tower joined by three new office skyscrapers and a host of high-end residences.

1. MGM Cotai
Macau, China

MGM Cotai

The 150-metre MGM Cotai isn’t the tallest building on the list. Instead, it uses layers to offer space and dimension.

The sections of the building were inspired by Chinese jewelry boxes, and they actually form two interconnected towers, which were built as a resort for $3.4 billion by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and Wong Tung & Partners Limited.

The 19,000sq m MGM Cotai offers specialised junket rooms and other high-end luxury villas for its VIP customers.

The building features the famous MGM Lion at the entrance made from 32,000 sheets of 24-carat gold foil, standing at 10 metres tall and weighing 38 tons.

The casino expects to generate close to US$250 million in incremental EBITDA once fully operational.