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What the world’s tallest buildings would look like in your city

Hong Kong, Dubai and New York are iconic for the skyscrapers that dominate their skylines, but in the UK there is a distinct lack of towers and high-rises, even in major cities.

Ever wondered what the world’s tallest building would look like in your city?
We’ve taken some of the most impressive buildings from across the globe and imagined how they’d sit in some of the UK’s biggest cities. 


construction in manchester

London, featuring the Burj Khalifa

You could see the Burj Khalifa from Oxford (60 miles away) and the Shard from Reading (40 miles away).

The Shard Burj Khalifa 
Height: 309.6 metres  Height: 829.8 metres 
Tallest building in the EU Tallest building in the world
Construction began in 2009 and ended in 2012 Construction began in 2004 and was finished by 2009
  • Its Glass façade covers the equivalent of eight football pitches
  • 44 lifts cover the Shard’s 95 storeys
  • 95% of the materials used in the construction were recycled
  • Took 22 million man hours to complete
  • Contains more than 100km of water pipes
  • It’s six degrees cooler at the top of the tower than at the bottom.


construction in manchester

Manchester, featuring the One World Trade Centre

You can see the One World Trade Centre from 50 miles away, while the Beetham Tower is visible from the ten counties that surround Manchester.

The Beetham Tower One World Trade Centre
Height: 169 metres Height: 541 metres
Tallest building outside London in the UK Tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere
Construction took two years to complete Construction took eight years to complete
  • Height to width ratio of 12:1 making it one of the thinnest skyscrapers in the world
  • Vibrations at the top make the tower ‘hum’ in the wind
  • Used more than 57,000 tonnes of concrete
  • The tower boasts an octagonal structure as it rises from the ground
  • A beam shines 1,000ft in the air from the top of the tower
  • The concrete used for construction could pave more than 200 miles of pavement

construction in manchester

Glasgow, featuring the Shanghai Tower​

You would be able to see the Shanghai tower from Edinburgh (55 miles) if it was in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Tower The Shanghai Tower  
Height: 127 metres Height: 632 metres
Tallest tower in Scotland Second tallest building in the world
Cost £10 million to construct Construction began in 2008 and ended in 2015
  • Capable of rotating 360 degrees
  • Entirely operable by computer
  • 523 steps from the cabin to the podium inside the tower
  • Elevator travels 578.5 metres, which is a world record
  • The tower’s design is similar to a Thermos flask to save energy
  • Floor area of 380,000m2


construction in manchester

Liverpool, featuring the Taipei 101 building

You can already see the West Tower from Blackpool on a clear day, but you would be able to see the Taipei building from Leeds (50 miles) if it was in Liverpool.

West Tower Taipei 101
Height: 140 metres Height: 509.2 metres
Third tallest building in UK outside London Tallest ‘green’ building in the world
Construction took two years Construction took five years
  • The tallest crane in the UK was used to construct the West Tower
  • The West Tower project cost £35,000,000
  • A 660 tonne steel pendulum swings in the tower to counteract any severe weather
  • A different coloured beam shines from the tower every night
  • Over 2,000 steps in the building


The reality of skyscrapers in the UK

Construction in the UK has come a long way since Old St. Paul’s Cathedral became the first structure to exceed 100 metres in height, but the small number of skyscrapers we have indicates a reluctance for British developers to look up.

Over the next five years, population growth indicates that more than 210,000 new homes will be needed to offer a solution to the current housing shortage affecting London and the UK at large.

Plans at the moment will only provide 7% of the necessary housing, so more needs to be done to provide living spaces. Skyscrapers could resolve these issues because one tall tower provides between 300 and 600 residential units and, in areas like London where space is already in short supply, they’re the sensible, efficient solution.

Over the next decade, 263 new skyscrapers will be constructed in London that have more than 20 storeys. Projects such as ‘The Stratosphere’ in Stratford, One The Elephant near Elephant and Castle and the Pinnacle mega-structure taking London’s skylines to new heights over the next few years.

The reason skyscrapers don’t already dominate in the capital is because people are concerned about losing the charm and history of London and other British cities. However, cities like Paris have already seen success by building high-rises on the outskirts of the metropolitan area to provide housing and offices while maintaining the integrity of Paris’ culture.

When it comes to construction in London and the UK at large, it does seem that the only way is up. Check out our latest construction roles here:

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