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- This year, a few nations erected the tallest buildings in their history.
- One of those countries is Sri Lanka, where the 787-foot Altair building appears to be leaning on itself.
- Another is Russia, whose twisting Lakhta Center is now the tallest building in Europe.
- China and the US didn't build as many skyscrapers in 2019 as they did last year.
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This was a record-breaking year for tall buildings. Around the world, more supertall buildings (defined as 980 feet or taller) were completed in 2019 than in any year prior. This year's total, 26, was markedly higher than last year's total of 18, according to annual data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Five countries built their tallest buildings ever.
The overall height of the world's skyscrapers also reached a new pinnacle in 2019. Among the world's 100 tallest buildings, the average height was around 1,290 feet — the equivalent of three-and-a-half football fields.
But not all countries bested their previous records in 2019. China, the world's leading builder of skyscrapers, only erected 57 tall buildings (656 feet or taller) compared to last year's 92. In the US, skyscraper construction was stagnant; the nation built 14 tall buildings per year in 2018 and 2019.
Take a look at the five skyscrapers that broke the tallest building records in their countries in 2019.
The Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, is now the tallest building in Europe.
At 1,515 feet tall, it's also the 13th-tallest building in the world. The highrise is expected to become the future headquarters of Russian energy company Gazprom.
Though it was designed to resemble a flame, the tower has also been compared to a twisting needle, since the entire structure rotates 90 degrees.
The building is located about 5 miles northwest of St. Petersburg's center. It was originally planned for the heart of the city, but residents worried it would drastically alter the skyline.
In 2008, the World Monuments Fund was so concerned about the "enormous Gazprom skyscraper" that it listed the St. Petersburg skyline as an endangered site.
South Africa's tallest building, The Leonardo, has a three-floor penthouse.
Legacy Hotels and Resorts
Before the building was finished, the 22,604-square-foot penthouse was declared South Africa's most expensive apartment (worth an estimated $12.4 million in 2015).
The building also has a 128-room hotel and 11 floors of commercial office space. It stands 752 feet tall.
According to one of the building's developers, the Legacy Group, the skyscraper overlooks "the richest square mile in Africa" in Johannesburg's financial district.
The Altair building in Colombo, Sri Lanka, consists of two towers. One of them appears to be leaning on the other.
A 787-foot vertical tower gives the building its record-breaking height. The leaning tower, meanwhile, is 686 feet tall.
The building's design is deliberate, of course. The structure, which holds 400-plus luxury apartments, has even been designed to withstand a magnitude 7 earthquake.
Brazil's new tallest building, the Infinity Coast Tower, earned its title accidentally.
The Infinity Coast Tower is 770 feet tall.
"We seek to make the most of what the terrain can produce without the intention of competing for titles," Toninho Roncaglio, the commercial director of the building's developer, FG Empreendimentos, told local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
The Great Mosque Of Algiers is the tallest building in Africa, thanks to its minaret.
Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto/Getty Images
The minaret — a tower attached to a mosque — is the tallest in the world, rising 869 feet into the air.
When it comes to earthquake safety, the skyscraper is even sturdier than the Infinity Coast Tower. It's designed to withstand a magnitude 9 quake.
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