Special

The 20 Tallest Skyscrapers in the World

by Chris Newens  |  Published February 28, 2017

Tallest in Western Europe. The Shard, Great Britain

A long, wide thoroughfare in New York's Chinatown (Photo: Vivienne Gucwa via Flickr)

Worldwide, it’s way down the list, but in London, nothing else even comes close (Photo: Vivienne fsse8info via Flickr)

OK, so at 309.6 metres it’s only coming in at a pitiful 105th tallest building in the world, but The Shard, officially opened in 2012, still looms iconic over the rest of London, and remains at the pointy end of tall buildings in Europe – a continent where over a millennium of other building-works tends to complicate planning permission.

Indeed, that fact alone makes the Shard worthy of this list: few other skyscrapers have to jump through such design hoops as those erected in London, a government statement just before its construction declaring: “For a building of this size to be acceptable, the quality of its design is critical.”

As such, the project’s architect Renzo Piano, envisaged the Shard as a spire emerging from the River Thames, his inspiration coming from constructions that have long defined the contours of London: railway lines, church spires, and the masts of sailing ships.