Nine of the 20 tallest buildings under construction in the world are located in China, which is now leading the way in the development of supertall buildings, according to the latest research study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
There are 239 buildings taller than 200 meters in advanced stages of development in China, far more than any other country. In 2011 alone China completed 23 buildings taller than 200 meters, which was also the top in the world, CTBUH’s research found.
At the end of 2011, there were only 61 buildings taller than 300 meters in the world; by 2017 China alone will have more than 60.
China’s ascendancy represents a fundamental shift in the construction of supertall buildings. In 1970, 92 of the world’s 100 tallest buildings were located in North America. By the end of 2012 only 29 of the top 100 will be in North America.
“China is dealing with the issues and challenges of developing urban environments on a massive scale,” said Timothy Johnson, chairman of the CTBUH and a partner in NBBJ, in a press release.
The surge in tall building developments in China has drawn criticism recently, with some charging that the buildings are too big and too expensive. A recent newspaper editorial referred to skyscrapers as “white elephants.”
The volume and height of tall building development in China is unprecedented. In 1990 there were five buildings taller than 200 meters in China; by the end of 2012 there will be 249.
The list of towers under development includes the 660-meter Ping An Finance Center, which will be the second tallest building in the world when it is completed, most likely in 2015, and the 632-meter Shanghai Tower.