Frank Lloyd Wright once proposed The Illinois, a mile-high skyscraper set on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, a towering giant of a building powered by atomic elevators. It's clear symbol of the current race to raise skylines around the world that Wright's vision from the '50s, yet to be realized, is coming closer and closer to reality. Developments in building technology and a surfeit of construction projects in Asia makes the title of tallest building more temporary than ever; none of the buildings on this list of the ten tallest in waiting are in North America, and every one eclipses the height of One World Trade Center. This list contains the tallest under construction or relatively far into the development phase; there are many others on the drawing board, but this is meant to showcase the projects more likely to be completed.
Azerbaijan Tower (near Baku, Azerbaijan: 3,445 feet, estimated completion 2019)The brainchild of Azerbaijiani aristocrat Ibrahim Ibrahimov, who cruises the capital of Baku in a black Rolls-Royce, and the centerpiece of the planned city of Khazar Islands, hyped with a 2022 opening date and plans for a Formula One Track and eight hotels, this cylindrical tower would measure top out above both the current world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, as well as the forthcoming Kingdom Tower. Like both of those examples, it would be a steel-and-glass spotlight meant to attract business, investment and attention, funded by oil exports. While there have been recent examples of extraordinary structures in the Caspian capital, such as Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Center, the lack of progress suggests this flight of fancy may have trouble getting off the ground, even with a steady supply of petrodollars.
Kingdom Tower (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: 3,304 feet, estimated completion 2019)The second tower on this list likely will become the first to break the one kilometer mark, not merely because it's already under construction and supported by the deep pockets of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, but because it was designed by Adrian Smith. An architect whose career highlights include the Hancock Center and Burj Khalifa, Smith designed the Kingdom Tower to be the next iteration of the Burj, a shard of steel and glass that, in its triangular shape, recalls a palm about to spread its fronds. The centerpiece of a new suburb, Kingdom Tower will shatter records, offer sightseers a perch on the 157th story (site of a proposed helipad), and even showcase an entirely new type of elevator, speedy double-decker cabins swept between floors by a new carbon fiber cord. Perhaps more incredible is that Kingdom Tower was meant to be a mile high, but engineers discovered that the surrounding geology unsuitable to support such a structure....MORE