The Race for the Tallest Skyscraper

The race among the world's cities to build the ultimate record-busting, flat-out tallest skyscraper on the planet is fast and furious.

And the obsession to build mega-structures in nosebleed territory is particularly acute in much of economically dynamic Asia and the oil-rich Middle East. 

The frenzy of high-powered construction projects promises to transform 21st century skyscraper architecture in a big way. Currently, eight of the world's tallest 10 skyscrapers are in the region. And the present reigning champ among skyscrapers globally is Taiwan's Taipei 101, a structure that climbs up 509 meters or 1,671 feet.

Of course, a super-sized building boom is now raging in parts of the Middle East such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. In fact, Samsung snagged the construction work for the monstrously high Burj Dubai, a tower complex slated to reach 800 meters (2,624 ft.) in height--which will easily blow by Taipei 101 when it's completed in late 2008. (It was designed by the U.S. architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the architect was Adrian Smith)

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