Massive Shake-up in the World's Tallest Buildings

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After 15 years of controversy about how to measure skyscraper heights, an international team of researchers at Phorio ( has devised a formula to rank the world's tallest skyscrapers more fairly and uniformly than ever before. The resulting list of the world's tallest buildings, published under an open license at, has been substantially rearranged.

The list of the 1,000 tallest buildings can be found at

Since the construction of the Petronas Towers in 1998, a fierce debate has failed to settle whether ornamental features like spires should count in a building's height. In most official publications until now, architectural spires on the rooftop were included in height rankings and often perceived by the public as cheating elements.

This mis-ordering of the world's tallest skyscrapers has finally been solved by synthesizing the best features of existing measurement systems. The newly defined “Building Mass Height,” created to rank buildings with different architectural designs consistently and fairly, counts ornamental features only when they flow directly from the shape of a building's enclosure. This ranking method will produce intuitively acceptable height rankings that the general public can accept more easily.

The new listing applies the height formula to all skyscrapers in the world, causing a massive re-ordering of the world's tallest buildings. Many well-known skyscrapers lose substantial height, e.g.:

  • One World Trade Center (New York); formerly 548 m -- now 419 m
  • Zifeng Tower (Nanjing); formerly 450 m -- now 381 m
  • Trump International Hotel & Tower (Chicago); formerly 423 m -- now 366 m
  • Shun Hing Square (Shenzhen); formerly 384 m -- now 325 m
  • New York Times Tower (New York); formerly 319 m -- now 261 m

On the other hand, many buildings with non-enclosed ornamental tops keep their height, including Burj Khalifa, Taipei 101, Petronas Towers, and the Chrysler Building.

To demonstrate and popularize the Building Mass Height definition and the height rankings, its authors have launched This website includes a continually updated list of the 1000 tallest buildings in the world. It is believed to be by far the deepest and most accurate ranking of the world's tallest skyscrapers ever published on one page. The list shows completed buildings as well as construction projects that have reached their maximum height.

About is published and researched by Phorio, a comprehensive database of buildings and market players. It is presented in partnership with High Rise Facilities (a solutions provider for owners and managers of high-rise buildings) and Elevator World (a publisher for the international building transportation industry).

Visit the website:

Definition of the Building Mass Height:

1000 tallest buildings in the world:

Graphics (free for use and downloading):

Press release date:
November 2013

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Daniel Kieckhefer
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