Atlantic Cities

Skyscraper Record Breaker of the Day: Mecca

Skyscraper Record Breaker of the Day: Mecca
CTBUH

The city that completed the most skyscrapers over 656 feet in 2012 was not in China, the United Arab Emirates, or the United States. Definitely not the United States.

No, it was Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holy city of Islam, which completed five buildings over 200 meters high in 2012, including the Royal Clock Tower Hotel (above, along with the other ten biggest buildings of the year). At 1,971 feet tall, the Clock Tower is the second-tallest building in the world.

Overall, though, according to a report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, it was an off year -- a development that the authors say reflects a lag dating from the 2008 financial crisis. It was the first time in six years that there were fewer tall buildings -- 66 -- completed than the year before. In 2011, there were 82 tall buildings completed.

Still, it was the third-highest total ever for buildings over 200 meters, and there were several highlights. Dubai built four of the six tallest buildings completed in 2012. China built 22 buildings over 200 meters, in 13 different cities.

One non-highlight was tall building construction in the United States, once a skyscraper mecca. The U.S. completed only two buildings higher than 200 meters last year -- fewer than Canada, Australia, and South Korea.

Image courtesy of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at The Atlantic Cities. He lives in New York. All posts »

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