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Living the High Life: The Tallest Residential Buildings in the World

What does it take to make a super-tall residential building? Well, additional to an accomplished architect or two, often-complicated air rights – not to mention a whole load of building materials – the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) decrees that 85% or more of the building’s total floor space must be dedicated to residential usage. With that in mind, Relevance NY has hunted out the tallest sky-high behemoths that some lucky people get to call home.

For many high-rise aficionados, there’s no skyline quite so iconic as Manhattan’s. In fact, the only residential NYC skyscraper that makes the top ten loftiest list is 432 Park Avenue, the “super-tall” condo designed by famed Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. The tower’s windows are all perfectly square and spaced evenly, giving the building a unique grid-like aesthetic, in addition to its dazzling height. At 1,397 feet tall, when complete, 432 Park will be the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. The next US high-rise on the list is way down in joint 25th – 8 Spruce Street. Still, the views from these residences are pretty spectacular.

Much of Australia remains unoccupied altogether, but when this country turns its hand to high-rise real estate, it does so on an impressive scale. The simply named Q1 presides over Australia’s Gold Coast, and, at 322 meters tall, is currently the 5th tallest residential building anywhere. Q1 (an abbreviation of Queensland Number One) was once the world’s tallest residential tower, but has since been usurped. Still, it’s an impressive-looking structure, which takes its inspiration from both the Sydney 2000 Olympic torch and the Sydney Opera House. The second tallest residential building in Australia is the Eureka Tower in Melbourne – currently 14 in the rankings.

South Korea
Tokyo’s skyline is probably Asia’s best-known, but when it comes to heaven-piercing residential high-rises, South Korea wins hands down. The somewhat bizarrely-named We’ve the Zenith complex of towers makes a striking impression on Busan’s skyline, and its Tower A is the 13th tallest residential building on the planet. In fact, all of South Korea’s residential giants can be found in the coastal second city Busan, and not the capital Seoul; WBC The Palace 1 and 2 share joint 25th place, along with We’ve the Zenith Tower C, and the aforementioned 8 Spruce Street in New York City.

United Arab Emirates
With the monumental building work that has been going on in the United Arab Emirates lately, it’s little surprise that the country is home to many of the world’s tallest residential buildings. Even so, it might surprise you to learn that eight of the 10 tallest residential buildings in the world are in the UAE – seven of these in Dubai. Among the UAE’s monumental structures is Ocean Heights, a beautiful, curved design by Andrew Bromberg of Aedas, and Elite Residence, which overlooks the famous Palm Jumeriah. Topping the list is Princess Tower – a whopping 101 stories, and 414 meters tall. It was crowned the world’s tallest residential building in 2012, although as is always the case with these things, that title probably won’t last long.

The rest
If you’re wondering how Europe features in the list of tallest residential buildings, the answer is not particularly well. One of the highest European scorers is Sapphire in Istanbul. However, it’s way down in joint 33rd, and is only just in Europe, too! Russia does better; Capital City Moscow Tower is number 12. Hong Kong and Mumbai get a few Top 40 look-ins; the Cullinan North Tower is the highest residential building in Hong Kong (it’s 269 meters tall), and the Imperial numbers I and II make joint 35th for Mumbai. Honorable mention must go to Gramercy Residences in Makati, Philippines. That’s the 11th tallest residential building anywhere. As for major metropolises like Tokyo and London – it’s time for them to up their game. They have no buildings in the Top 40 at all!

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