In their race to the top, supertall buildings are always in competition with each other. At 2,717 feet, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai reigns supreme but will fall to second place when the 3,281-foot Kingdom Tower, now under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is completed in 2018. Adrian Smith designed both buildings, the first while a design partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and the second while at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.
In Shanghai, a different kind of challenge has emerged as a trio of supertalls has risen during the past 16 years in Lujiazui, the booming financial core of the city’s Pudong district. Huddled close together, the three structures offer a lesson in recent high-rise design and demonstrate distinct approaches to grabbing attention on the skyline.