The sky’s the limit

Dubai currently dominates the market for living above the clouds. Seven of the 10 tallest residential buildings in the world are located in the city on the Persian Gulf. The desire for recognition and prestige, plus the demonstration of economic growth, are the most significant factors leading to the boom in construction, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, of such gigantic apartment palaces. A list of the world’s 10 tallest residential buildings has now been compiled by Emporis (, the international provider of building data.

A 15-minute walk is all that is needed to see the four tallest residential buildings in the world, as they are all – without exception – located in Dubai’s sought-after Dubai Marina district. You might not find any real princesses in Princess Tower, the world’s tallest residential tower block, but the 1,447-foot-tall skyscraper compensates through its dream location right on the beach with a view of the artificial island Palm Jumeirah. Second spot is occupied by the 1,296-foot-tall 23 Marina, while Elite Residence, at 1,247 feet, is the world’s third tallest residential building. The Torch comes in at fourth place at 1,125 feet; it, too, is located just a stone’s throw away from Princess Tower.

Outside of the United Arab Emirates, only two buildings make it into the Top 10 – Q1 Tower, on the east coast of Australia, and Capital City Moscow Tower, in Russia’s capital, Moscow. Q1 Tower, in particular, is not only remarkable for being the tallest skyscraper in the southern hemisphere, but can also show off a series of other impressive features: in addition to handsome outdoor terraces offering an stunning view of the Gold Coast from 591 feet and 755 feet, a miniature rainforest, 98 feet in total, was created in the form of a skygarden from the 60th to 70th floor. The tower also has an enormous steel spire that can be seen from up to 200 kilometers away and is illuminated at night.

The prerequisites for building giant residential palaces that dwarf all around them are particularly ideal in the Gulf Region. Firstly, there are sufficient providers of capital for major projects of this kind, and secondly, urban planning is not tied to preserving a distinctive existing skyline – meaning that such gigantic development projects can be given the green light.

Whether Dubai will continue to lead the list of the world’s tallest residential buildings in such convincing manner in the future, however, is debatable. In 2015, when the skyscraper World One is projected to be completed in Mumbai, India, this tower, planned at 1,450 feet, will take over top spot. In addition, Diamond Tower, in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia, at a projected 1,417 feet, and 432 Park Avenue in New York City (USA), at 1,398 feet, are also set to overtake the frontrunner from Dubai on their completion, thus raising the bar in the competition still further.


Emporis is a leading database of information about building and construction projects, based in Germany. For over a decade Emporis has helped companies, organizations and individuals stay informed about the building industry. The Emporis Skyscraper Award is the world’s most renowned prize for high-rise architecture.