From mighty mud palaces to the tallest twin towers, what follows are nearly a dozen buildings that have been immortalized in the Guinness World Record books.
Tallest unoccupied building: Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea
Height: 1,082 feet
Interesting facts: Construction on the 105-story hotel began in 1987 and was halted in 1992 when the country fell on hard economic times. The project was resurrected in 2008, and in 2011 the exterior was completed. The opening of the hotel has since been scheduled several times but keeps getting postponed. In 2012 the Daily Mail reported the 3,000-room inn would open in 2013, an astonishing 26 years after construction began. It did not.
Tallest building/most floors in a building: Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE
Height: 2,716 feet, 163 floors, plus 46 maintenance levels in the spire and two parking levels in the basement
Interesting fact: The design of the Burj Khalifa is said to be inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Illinois, circa 1956. Of course the big difference between the two towers, besides the fact that Wright’s was never built, is that The Illinois would have been twice as tall as the half mile-high Burj.
Tallest residential building: Princess Tower in Dubai, UAE
Height: 1,356 feet, 101 floors
Interesting fact: The Princess Tower is part of the world’s tallest residential neighborhood. In addition to Princess and 23 Marina, the previous tallest residential building in the world, the Dubai neighborhood includes The Torch, a 1,105-foot tower and the 1,399-foot Marina 101, which will be completed in 2015.
Tallest hotel: The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai, UAE
Photo: JW Marriott
Height: 1,166 feet, 77 floors
Interesting facts: The first of two tower at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai was christened the world’s tallest hotel in March 2013. The 684-room building, which took seven years to complete, boasts 10 restaurants, four bars, two lounges, two ballrooms and a 43,000-square-foot spa and health club.
Highest BASE jump from a building: Off the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, UAE
Jump height: 2,716 feet
Interesting fact: The world’s tallest building was the site of the previous highest BASE jumping set in 2010. France’s Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet were able to best the mark on Aril 21st, 2014, by jumping off a temporary platform placed on top of the Burj’s spire. You can watch the stunt in its entirety here.
Tallest twin towers: Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Photo: Jeroen P/Flickr
Height: 1,482 feet
Interesting fact: The Petronas Towers are likely going to lose their title to a pair of Dubai towers recently proposed as part of the 64.5 million-square-foot Creek Harbour project.
Highest bungee jump from a building: From the Macau Tower in Macau, China
Jump height: 653 feet
Interesting fact: AJ Hackett of New Zealand leaped off a platform 764 feet up the Macau Tower in Macau, China on December 17th 2006. Why the discrepancy in jump height vs. building height? The distance between the ground and Hackett during the lowest point of his fall was 111 feet. As Guiness World Records points out, this is a lot different to people who claim to have jumped off the highest building, but used a short bungee cord. The full video of Hackett’s stunt is here.
Largest building made of mud: The Grand Mosque in Djenné, Mali
Photo: UN Mission in Mali/Flickr
Size: 328 feet long, 131 feet wide
Interesting facts: The first mosque on the site was built around the 13th century, but the current structure dates back to 1907. One of the most famous landmarks in Africa, the mosque was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
Heaviest building: The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania
Interesting fact: Guinness World Records says it believes the building is the heaviest in the world. A good bet since it was constructed from 1.5 billion pounds of steel and bronze combined with 35.3 million cubic feet of marble, 7.7 million pounds of crystal glass and 31.7 million cubic feet of wood. The 12-story palace cost about $3.76 billion USD to build.
Building with the highest revolving restaurant: Canton Tower, Guangzhou, China.
Height: 1,387 feet, on the 106 floor
Interesting fact: The revolving restaurant known as Twist sits on top of the structure that briefly held the title of tallest freestanding tower in the world, replacing the CN Tower, before being surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree in 2011.
The farthest manmade leaning building: Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Inclination: 18 degrees
Height: 525 feet, 35 floors
Interesting facts: Capital Gate’s 18-degree incline is nearly five times the angle of Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa. Unlike the Tower of Pisa, which slanted with time, Capital Gate was designed at an angle, made possible by staggering floor plates from the 12th floor up.
Largest solar-powered building: Sun-Moon Mansion in Dezhou, China
Photo: Himin Solar Energy
Size: 807,000 square feet
Interesting facts: Renewable energy powers 95 per cent of the building which was designed to look like a giant sun dial. Sun-Moon Mansion’s primary tenant, Himin Solar Energy, was founded by oil equipment engineer Ming Huang who, according to National Geographic, has expressed concern about a fossil fuel-dependent economy, and is working to transform the area around the building into China’s Solar Valley.