These spectacular skyscrapers are so much more than simply tall buildings. Meet some of the funkiest, roundest, cutest, and yes, tallest structures in the world.
The structure: Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort
Where it stands: Huzhou, China
How high: 335 feet / 27 stories
Nicknamed the “horseshoe hotel,” this luxury resort includes two floors underground that complete its oval shape. The inside is spectacular too—the lobby ceiling is covered in 20,000 crystal lamps meant to look like a rolling wave.
The structure: Flame Towers
Where it stands: Baku, Azerbaijan
How high: 770 feet / 39 stories
The giant flames may make it seem as if these buildings are on fire. But there’s no need to call the fire department—it’s actually three supercool towers. LED screens covering the sides of these buildings flicker and flare, making the skyscrapers “burn” all night.
The structure: PPG Place
Where it stands: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
How high: 635 feet / 40 stories
With its glass exterior and sky-high spires, this building looks like a castle from the future. No wonder it’s known as the “crown jewel in Pittsburgh’s skyline.”
The structure: Burj Khalifa
Where it stands: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
How high: 2,722 feet / 163 stories
Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world—it’s nearly three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France! But that’s not all—here visitors can take in the view from the world’s highest outdoor observation deck, nearly 148 stories up.
The structure: Lippo Centre
Where it stands: Hong Kong, China
How high: 610 feet / 46 stories
The structure: The Shard
Where it stands: London, England
How high: 1,016 feet / 95 stories
With offices, restaurants, apartments, and a hotel, the Shard was built to be a vertical city. Forty-four elevators constantly move people through the building. Some of them are even double-decker elevators!
The structure: Turning Torso
Where it stands: Malmö, Sweden
How high: 623 feet / 54 stories
This tower is a real head-turner—the top floor is twisted a complete 90 degrees from the ground floor. The skyscraper contains both offices and apartments, so for some residents, their morning walk to the office is a real spin!
The structure: Elephant Building
Where it stands: Bangkok, Thailand
How high: 335 feet / 32 stories
You may come across an Asian elephant in Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia, but this elephant is unlike any you’ve seen before. It’d take 33 of the real Asian elephants standing on top of each other to reach the top of the building.
Text by Allyson Shaw, NGS Staff
Photo credits: sestevens, iStockphoto (PPG); Ramilaliyev79, Dreamstime (Flame Towers); Oceanfishing, Dreamstime (Sheraton Houzhou); Typhoonski, Dreamstime (Burj Khalifa); Lavendertime, Dreamstime (Lippo Center); Chris Hepburn, Robert Harding World Imagery, Corbis (The Shard); Adam Norén, Dreamstime (Turning Torso); justhavealook, iStockphoto (Elephant Tower)