In the 21st century, the emerging metropolises of the world are competing and even surpassing the great cities of the West when it comes to vertical architecture. The skyline of metropolises like Istanbul, Beijing, Dubai and Shanghai are all growing at astronomical rates, with economic development in those cities financing ever higher and more modern skyscrapers. In fact, the traditional metropolises of the West (London, New York, Paris) are beginning to pale in comparison to the enormous development of the world’s emerging cities.

China, in particular, is in the middle of a sort of skyscraper boom. The skylines of Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong are constantly in flux, with new and more modern architecture sprouting up all the time. It is China’s tremendous economic development that is fueling the rush toward ever higher and more progressive architecture, though most of the architects designing these buildings continue to be from the West.

Even Moscow, once written off by the West as a mere shell of its former imperial glory, is experiencing an architectural boom. A giant pyramid is being constructed in downtown Moscow that will reach a height of 450 m (1476 feet). The pyramid, the brainchild of British architect Lord Norman Foster, has been called, “the world’s most ambitious construction project.”

Meanwhile, the Middle Eastern kingdom of Dubai is busy creating its own astonishingly vibrant skyline. Flush with oil money, the kingdom has engaged in some of the most ambitious architectural projects the world has ever seen. It is claimed that the relatively small country of Dubai has more construction cranes than any other country in the world. This is a clear testament to the country’s obsession with vertical growth — new and ever more elaborate skyscrapers are appearing on the Dubai skyline every month. And as long as the oil money continues to flow, the construction is sure to follow.

While the developing world competes for the highest skyscrapers and most elaborate architecture, the “old world” metropolises have seen a slowdown and development, especially since the mortgage crisis of 2007. At the moment, lending large sums of money to build skyscrapers is pretty low on the agenda of most banks. The same cannot be said for China, Moscow or even Istanbul, where emerging economies are causing a boom in lending, growth and development.

The traditional skyscraper capital of the world, New York, no longer holds that title. And as the development in China, Russia and the Middle East continues, it seems likely that Dubai, Shanghai and Moscow will be the new world leaders in vertical architecture.

Categories: Information

Leave a Reply