Top 10 skylines of the world: What makes a great skyline? Is it the height of the skyscrapers? The shade of neon used to light them? Or is it the way the buildings work together to form one complete picture?
We think what really matters is you look out across a city and think –‘Wow!’ We’ve looked across the globe to count down what we think are the ten most impressive skylines our great cities have to offer. From the US to China, Canada to Australia, here is our run down of the very best.
10. Singapore, Singapore
Singapore is an example of a great skyline formed within the constraints of city-wide planning regulations. A thought out urban street plan, shackled with a height restriction of 280 metres for all buildings gives this city a consistency and style not found in other cities. With mostly light-coloured buildings and great swathes of greenery throughout the city centre, Singapore is a definite highlight of the South East Asian region.
9. Frankfurt, Germany
As Europe’s only entry in our list, Frankfurt is flying the flag for the continent with five structures that beat the 200 metre mark. Amongst them, the unorthodox design of the Commerzbank Tower, internationally recognised for its use of ‘sky-gardens’ and environmentally friendly technologies, the 331 metre Europaturm observation tower or the aesthetically pleasing Messeturm with its 257 metre pyramid peak are also of note. However its tall structures are at odds with the ancient low-rise, high-density European architecture below, regardless of this Frankfurt nudges its way into our list.
8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The skyline of Kuala Lumpur may not be the most densely packed in our list, but that only allows what it does have to stand out boldly. Only 10 of its structures stand at over 200 metres tall, but amongst them are the distinctive Petronas Towers (the world’s tallest twin buildings) and the 420 metre Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower.
7. Toronto, Canada
Toronto’s architecture is a true mix of periods and styles, with many dating back to the mid-19th century. The city shows no signs of slowing down either, currently in the midst of an architectural revival that includes a condo boom along the shoreline and several buildings such as the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario being designed by world-renowned architects.
The city has 11 structures that stand over 200 metres, dominating the skyline is the 553.33 metre CN Tower, no longer the tallest tower in the world, but still featuring the highest viewing deck
6. Sydney, Australia
Sydney’s skyline is about much more than just skyscrapers. Sure the cloud bothering heights of Centrepoint Tower, the MLC Centre and the AMP Tower protrude from the inner CBD. But the world-famous harbour with its iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge are what people really book flights to Australia to see, best viewed from a ferry on the shore of Sydney Harbour to take in the full view.
5. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai barges into our list through extravagant ambition and persistence. A mix matched overlapping sea of indulgence, wealth and architectural accomplishment, the recent growth of the city seems to be without plan or prudence. All 33 of its structures reaching over 200 metres were built in the last 15 years, and they do appear to be competing with rather than complimenting each other. But they they sure are pretty.
The Burj Khalifa beat all competition to take the title of the world’s tallest building, at a neck straining 828 metres. The city shows no signs of stopping either, with the proposed Dubai City Tower, set to break all records with a height of 2,400 metres.
4. Tokyo, Japan
The densely populated mega-city of Tokyo is a sea of flashing neon lights and high-rise structures that reaches skyward under the view of the Mount Fuji range. With the required flashing red lights atop every building of significant height, and a fleet of helicopters on hand to avoid the heavy traffic of rush hour, Tokyo is a skyline that means business.
3. Chicago, USA
We all know the US likes to fill its cities with tall buildings, so we’re conscious not to fill our rundown with US cities. But Chicago gets an honourable mention for being the birthplace of the modern skyscraper. When the city unveiled its first steel high-rise in 1885, no-one could have predicted how well the new design would catch on.
Since then Chicago has kept up with the trend, housing 19 buildings over 200 metres and producing some of the finest skyscrapers found in any city; The Trump Tower, John Hancock Tower and the 1451 foot Willis Tower front up along the shoreline of Lake Michigan to form a truly picturesque skyline.
2. New York, USA
In at second place is New York. Perhaps the world’s most easily recognisable skyline due to its featuring in so many Hollywood blockbusters, think Spiderman swinging through its towers, bathed in golden sunlight, Home Alone 2 at Christmas or the city shots of Independence Day. The city also has so many identifiable, iconic buildings; the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and overlooking them all from offshore, the majestic Statue of Liberty. With 47 buildings over 200 metres New York is the definitive US city, but just misses out on the number one spot.
1. Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong earns its place at the top of our list for its sheer commitment to the modern skyscraper. With a whopping 43 buildings measuring over 200 metres tall, 30 of which were built since the year 2000 and with four of the 15 tallest buildings in the world, the city has the best skyline to have ever had a camera pointed at it.
With a high population density of 6,943,600 people, Hong Kong is a major seaport, financial centre and the business hub of Asia. The concentrated, high-rise environment of the city won’t be to everyone’s taste, but for city lovers, this is paradise. The tipping factor that makes this city is its location; with the mountain ranges circling the city, the juxtaposition between man-made structures and the surrounding mountains make this jarring proposition our number one.