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The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The world's tallest artificial structure is the 829.8-metre-tall (2,722 ft) Burj Khalifa in Dubai (of the United Arab Emirates). The building gained the official title of "tallest building in the world" and the tallest self-supported structure at its opening on January 9, 2010. The second-tallest self-supporting structure and the tallest tower in the world is the Tokyo Skytree. The tallest guyed structure is the KVLY-TV mast.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an organization that certifies buildings as the "World's Tallest", recognizes a building only if at least 50% of its height is made up of floor plates containing habitable floor area.[1] Structures that do not meet this criterion, such as the CN Tower, are defined as "towers".

There are dozens of radio and television broadcasting towers which measure over 600 metres (about 2,000 ft) in height, and only the tallest are recorded in publicly available information sources.

Debate over definitions

The assessment of the height of artificial structures has been controversial. Various standards have been used by different organizations which has meant that the title of world's tallest structure or building has changed depending on which standards have been accepted. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has changed its definitions over time. Some of the controversy regarding the definitions and assessment of tall structures and buildings has included the following:

  • the definition of a structure, a building and a tower
  • whether a structure, building or tower under construction should be included in any assessment
  • whether a structure, building or tower has to be officially opened before it is assessed
  • whether structures built in and rising above water should have their below-water height included in any assessment.
  • whether a structure, building or tower that is guyed is assessed in the same category as self-supporting structures.

Within an accepted definition of a building further controversy has included the following factors: