Vanity Height – CTBUH Study

Vanity Height, CTBUH Study, Tall Buildings Around the World, Skyscraper Design

CTBUH Study on Vanity Height

Tower Architecture Investigation – by The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

6 Sep 2013

Skyscraper Design Study

The “Use-less” Space in Today’s Tallest Buildings

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has investigated the increasing trend towards extreme spires and other extensions of supertall (300-meter-plus) buildings that do not enclose usable space, and created a new term to describe this – Vanity Height, the distance between a skyscraper’s highest occupiable floor and its architectural top, as determined by CTBUH Height Criteria.

Vanity Height Infographics:

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images from CTBUH

Here are some key findings of the study:

At 244 meters, the vanity height of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, could be a skyscraper on its own – in fact, it would be Europe’s 11th-tallest building.

The Burj Al-Arab, Dubai, UAE, has the greatest vanity ratio of any supertall building – 124 (39 percent) of its 321 meters is devoted to nonoccupiable space above the highest occupiable floor.

Without their vanity height, 44 (61 percent) of the world’s 72 supertalls would measure less than 300 meters – thus losing their supertall status.

United Arab Emirates clocks in as the nation with the most “vain” supertall buildings, with an average vanity height of 19 percent.

New York City, USA has two of the tallest 10 vanity heights, and is set to gain a third with the completion of One World Trade Center in 2014.

According to CTBUH Height Criteria regarding telecommunications towers, a 50 percent vanity height would deem any structure a “nonbuilding.”

The “vainest” building overall in the CTBUH database, although not a supertall, is the Ukraina Hotel in Moscow, Russia – 42 percent of its 206-meter height is non-occupiable.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Vanity Height Study
photo : Nicolas Lannuzel

Zifeng Tower, Nanjing, China
Vanity Height Study
photo : Ozonefrance

Bank of America Tower, New York
Vanity Height Study
photo : Ryan Browne

Burj al Arab, Dubai
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photo : Joi Ito

Emirates Towers, Dubai
Vanity Height Study
photo : Alma

New York Times Tower, New York
Vanity Height Study
photo : Eden Janine and Jim

Rose Rayhaan, Dubai
Vanity Height Study
photo : Paul Fenwick

The Pinnacle, Guangzhou, China
Vanity Height Study
photo : IndexxRus

Minsheng Bank Tower, Wuhan, China
Vanity Height Study
photo from CTBUH

Vanity Height Study information / images from CTBUH

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Skyscraper Designs

Al Hamra Firdous Tower, Kuwait City
SOM Architects
Kuwait City Skyscraper
image © Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

New York by Gehry
Frank Gehry
New York Skyscraper Building
photo : Gehry Photos

Infinity Tower Dubai
Skidmore Owings & Merrill
Infinity Tower
image from Ruggiu

Wuhan Greenland Center, China
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Wuhan Greenland Center Skyscraper
image from architects

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Vanity Height Study

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