Dezeen Magazine

Dezeen's top 10 skyscrapers of 2018

Architecture reporter India Block picks 10 of the year's best skyscrapers for our review of 2018, from one sporting a 100-metre-high waterfall to the northernmost tower block in the world.

Top 10 skyscrapers: Generali Tower, Italy, by Zaha Hadid Architects

Generali Tower, Italy, by Zaha Hadid Architects

Towering 170 metres over Milan, the Generali Tower expresses Zaha Hadid Architects' signature curves in a helical twist that runs through the tower.

No two floors are aligned inside the 44-storey skyscraper, hence the nickname "the twisted one". Now the city's third-tallest building, it stands together with Arata Isozaki's 202-metre high Allianz Tower and the incomplete 175-metre tall PwC tower by Studio Libeskind on Milan's former expo site.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Liebian International Building, China, by Ludi Industry Group

Liebian International Building, China, by Ludi Industry Group

The stand-out feature of the 121-metre tall Liebian International Building is clearly the waterfall cascading down one facade of the tower.

One of the largest water features in the world, the 108-metre-high fountain is powered by four pumps fed from an underground tank filled by rainwater and runoff. It's so expensive to run that it has reportedly only been turned on a handful of times since it was installed.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Three World Trade Center, USA, by Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners 

Three World Trade Center, USA, by Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners 

Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners completed construction on New York City's Three World Trade Center in 2018, which stands next to the memorial fountains that mark where the Twin Towers stood before the 9/11 terrorist attack.

At 329 metres high, the Manhatten skyscraper is the fifth tallest in the city. Its 80 floors are surrounded by 10,000 floor-to-ceiling glass panels, with steel girders forming a K-shaped lattice up the side.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Ping An Finance Centre, China, by KPF

Ping An Finance Centre, China, by KPF

Shenzhen's Ping An Finance Centre, which technically completed just before the end of last year, is now the fourth tallest building in the world.

At a height of 599 metres, the KFP-designed supertall is defined by chevron-shaped columns at its four corners. Sky lobbies punctuate the glass and stone tower, and the very top is a publicly accessible observation deck built to receive 9,000 visitors a day.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Duo, Singapore, by Büro Ole Scheeren 

Duo, Singapore, by Büro Ole Scheeren 

A honeycomb of hexagonal window frames cover the curving facades of these twin skyscrapers in Singapore by Büro Ole Scheeren.

Duo is formed of 186- and 170 metre-high towers with concave facades that frame a new public plaza. Rooftop gardens and terraces sit on cantilevered sections jutting from the towers, which create their own "oasis-like" microclimate, thanks to a shape designed to create passive cooling.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Salesforce Tower by Pelli Clarke Pelli

Salesforce Tower, USA, by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects 

This gradually tapering glass tower in San Francisco is a 326-metre-high obelisk. Now San Franciso's tallest skyscraper, it eclipsed the 260-metre-high Transamerica Pyramid that had held the title since 1972.

Criss-crossing louvres shade the building from the California sun. Glass walls continue past the top floor, creating a translucent crown that is lit up at night.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Lakhta Centre by RMJM

Lakhta Centre, Russia, by RMJM and Gorproject

St Petersburg now has the tallest skyscraper in Europe, the 462-metre-high Lakhta Centre. Designed by Tony Kettle for RMJM and completed by Gorproject, the supertall building also claims to be the "northernmost skyscraper in the world".

Influenced by the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the twisting spire-shaped skyscraper tapers to a fine point. Its facade is formed from 16,500 pieces of curved glass.

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Top 10 skyscrapers:

China Resources Headquarters, China, by KPF

Known locally as Spring Bamboo, the bullet-shaped China Resources Headquarters rises 400 metres over the city of Shenzhen. The facade is defined by 59 steel columns that converge at the top to create a diagrid pattern.

The columns give the tower greater structural stability, allowing for swathes of column-free space inside. The tip of the building contains a 68.4-metre-high "sky hall" with views out over the city.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Jade Signature by Herzog & de Meuron

Jade Signature, USA, by Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron's Jade Signature is a residential tower in Miami filled with 192 condominiums. Concrete slabs extend from a concrete core to create terraces with views over the ocean.

The 57-storey tower has a parallelogram footprint and tapers slightly towards the top. The columns and undersides of the concrete are subtly patterned, and the glass handrails tilt to avoid reflecting the sun's glare.

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Top 10 skyscrapers: Tencent's Global Headquarters by NBBJ

Tencent HQ, China, by NBBJ

NBBJ designed three vast sky bridges for the Shenzhen headquarters of Tencent – the Chinese tech company that's bigger than Facebook. The "vertical campus" is formed of two glass and aluminium towers connected by these aluminium louvred bridges.

One tower is 50 storeys high and the other 39, and facilities include a library and a health centre. There's even a running track that loops between the two towers.

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