Dubai tops residential skyscrapers

Six 200m+ towers built in 2011; Abu Dhabi enters list

Despite global construction activity in Asia, Dubai continues to retain the title of being home to the tallest residential skyscraper cluster in the world, according to a media release by a leading body of tall buildings. Meanwhile, it added that Abu Dhabi is now a new entrant on the list of cities to complete the most 200 m+ buildings in 2011 - Panama City (10 completions), Abu Dhabi (9 completions), and Busan (9 completions).

“In 2011, Dubai’s 23 Marina became the world’s tallest residential building, at 393 meters (1,289 feet). Coincidentally, the building sits near both The Torch (the previous world’s tallest residential for a short time) and the under construction Princess Tower (set to become the world’s tallest in 2012), making the Dubai Marina the tallest residential skyscraper cluster in the world,” said the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), an international not-for-profit organization, which is the recognized source of information on tall buildings internationally in a statement. Every January, the CTBUH does an international review of tall buildings construction and statistics for the previous year.

Additionally, Dubai added six 200 m+ buildings in 2011. “It is helpful to recall that, just a decade ago, the entire UAE contained a total of only three 200 m+ buildings. It now contains 60 such buildings, behind only China and the USA,” added CTBUH. “Within ten years, the country has established itself as a center of tall building construction, and has completed more 200 m+ buildings than any other country except China in the past two years.”

The CTBUH also noted that several cities such as Panama, Abu Dhabi and Busan, not previously seen as centers of tall building construction, are quite evident in the list of cities to complete the most 200 m+ buildings in 2011. “Together, they now contain 34 such buildings and accounted for 32% of completions in 2011, surpassing traditional tall building centers such as Dubai, Shanghai, and Singapore,” it added.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi was revealed as an emerging market, according to the CTBUH. “This city added nine 200 m+ buildings in 2011, remarkable as it contained only two such buildings at the beginning of the year. Another thirteen 200 m+ buildings are currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, showing that the city will continue to be an important market for the next several years,” said the statement.

Abu Dhabi’s largest project to complete in 2011 was Etihad Towers, a complex comprised of five towers ranging between 218 meters to 305 meters. The complex provides a significant amount of residential, office, and hotel space to the city. The tallest of the towers, Etihad Towers 2, became the city’s tallest building and first supertall.

When looking at the eighty-eight 200 m+ projects completed in 2011, on the one hand, statistics show that several of the major markets in recent years continue to thrive – and drive a significant percentage of the tall building market. China and the UAE contain a total of 39 of the projects – over 44% of the world’s completions in 2011. Shenzhen’s Kingkey 100, at 442 meters, tops the 2011 list, added the study.

“Looking to the future, it is now foreseeable – indeed likely – that the recent trend of an annual increase in building completions will continue for the next several years, perhaps even through the end of the decade. This represents a change in recent predictions. It had been expected that skyscraper completions would drop off very sharply after 2011, as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis and the large number of projects put on hold,” added the CTBUH.

“Now however, due in large part to the continuing high activity of skyscraper design and construction in China, as well as the development of several relatively new markets, this global dip is no longer expected.”

In terms of location, Asia, now with 46 of the 100, continues to edge toward containing half of the world’s tallest buildings. The Middle East region saw an increase of three, while Europe diminished to only one building in the tallest 100: Capital City Moscow Tower.

“Having examined the history and status of a variety of tall building markets, several assumptions can be made about the next decade of tall building construction. Existing skyscraper markets, particularly China and the Middle East, are predicted to continue to play a major role in the tall building industry. China currently has over 180 projects under construction that are over 200 meters in height, and thus will undoubtedly play the primary role in tall building development for the rest of this decade,” said CTBUH.

“Tall building typology continues to diversify, and we can expect to see the further development of a number of new markets over the next few years. Cities like Panama City, Abu Dhabi, Busan, and many others in Central and South America, Asia, and the Middle East will continue to play an increasing role in tall building development,” it concluded.

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