The tallest building in the world is a matter of debate. Much of the argument has to do with what qualifies as a building. Most lists exclude towers and define a building as a structure occupied by people. Most lists also exclude the height of antennae and flagpoles on top of the buildings, but include architectural structural elements. For the purpose of this list, we will define the tallest building as the height of an occupied structure at the top of its highest architectural structural element.
As of 2008, the tallest completed building in the world is the Taipei Financial Center. It is also known as Taipei 101 because it has 101 floors. It was completed in 2004 and is 508 meters or 1,667 feet high.
The tallest buildings in the world between 1998 and 2004 were Petronas Tower 1 and Petronas Tower 2. Both of the "twin" towers sit next to each other in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They are linked by a two-story pedestrian sky bridge at the 41st and 42nd floors. The Petronas Towers were constructed in 1998. They contain 88 floors and rise to a height of 452 meters or 1,483 feet.
The Sears Tower in Chicago was the tallest building in the world from 1974 until 1998. It is also the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. It has 110 stories and is 442 meters or 1,451 feet high. It surpassed One World Trade Center and Two World Trade Center in New York City. They were the tallest buildings in the world between 1973 and 1974. The "Twin Towers" of the World Trade Center were removed from the list of the tallest buildings in the world when they were destroyed by terrorists on September 11, 2001.
The record for the longest time as the tallest building in the world goes to the Empire State Building in New York City. The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931, when it was built, until 1973 when the World Trade Center was constructed. The Empire State Building's 42-year run as the world's tallest building is unrivaled in history. It has 102 stories and is 381 meters or 1,250 feet high.
In 2009, the Burj Dubai is expected to open in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is 167 floors and rises to a height of 818 meters or 2,313 feet. When complete, it will be the tallest building in the world.