The World’s Tallest Buildings That Were Never Completed

There have been many amazing buildings planned throughout the world, some get built, and some never get finished, whether it is due to funding issues or some sort of political issue, they just do not get completed.

The Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) created this chart on the ten tallest buildings that construction began, but were stopped for various reasons. After the chart, we break down the ten buildings.



10. The Fairwell International Center in Xiamen, which would have been 1,302 feet tall, was started in 1997 and was abruptly stopped the same year, according the the chart the foundation was started, we tried to dig further as to why the building was stopped but were unable to find out more. Below is a rendering of how the building would have looked.


9. The Lighthouse Tower located in Dubai is 9th on the list, supposed to have stood 1,319 feet tall, construction was started in 2009, and suspended a few months after, we understand they were taking bids for a main construction firm to build the building and pilings have been completed. We have no further information on why this project was suspended (although we are assuming financial reasons given the timing.) See photos below of the pilings being built (courtesy of and how the building was supposed to have looked like completed.




8. The Lam Tara Tower 1, also located in Dubai is 8th on the list, which when completed was supposed to stand 1,490 feet tall. The towers had pilings excavation started according to the chart, but it seems like they started the pilings too, but construction was halted in 2010 (we’re going to again assume financial reasons.) See below for a photo of the construction site (again courtesy of and a picture of how it would have looked when completed.



7. Palace of the Soviets in Moscow, this building with a statue of Vladimir Lenin adorned atop the building is next in line, supposed to come in at 1,624 feet tall, it was started in 1937 and got as far as framing, but was stopped in 1941. Why was construction halted? Well three words. World War Two. The steel frame was cut in 1941 and 1942 to be used for Moscow’s defense fortifications and railroad bridges. Below is a picture of how it would have looked like.


6. Burj Al Alam, yet another Dubai project, this building was supposed to stand at 1,673 feet tall. The project was started and pilings were completed in 2009, but it was halted later in the same year. Construction was halted due to financing issues. Here is a picture mid-construction and a picture of how it would have looked like finished.




5. The Doha Convention Center Tower in Doha is next on the list, supposed to stand 1,808 feet tall in Doha. It was started in 2007 and construction was halted in 2012, they got as far as completing the foundation. Construction was halted after discovering that the tall building would impact flight paths to and from the Doha International Airport. There was originally talks of continuing construction after a new runway was built, but as of 2014 apparently the project was marked as cancelled. Here is how it would have looked like.


4. The Chicago Spire, the only building on the top ten list in the United States, the building was planned to be built 2,000 feet in the air, construction began in 2007 and was halted in 2008, the foundation was started for this building. There were financing challenges related to the global recession around the time the tower was built, so bad that the bank financing the building filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the building’s developer. See a picture what the Chicago Spire was supposed to look like below.


3. The Russia Tower is the third tallest building that was started but never completed, supposed to stand 2,008 feet tall and located in Moscow, it was started in 2008 and stopped in the same year, they got as far as beginning excavation. It was halted due to the inability to secure financing for the project and lowered demand for the tower’s office space. See a picture of how it would have looked like below.


2. In Mumbai, the India Tower is the second tallest building on the list of buildings that have not been completed, this building was supposed to be built in Mumbai, and was supposed to stand 2,296 feet tall. The building had its foundation started, the building began construction in 2010 and was stopped in 2011. Below is a rendering of how it would have appeared.


1. The tallest building to not have ever been built? The Nakheel Tower, also in Dubai. Planned to stand over 3,280 feet tall, the building was started in 2008 and stopped in 2009. They got as far as starting the pilings, but stopped due to financial issues. Below is a rendering of how the building would have looked like.


As a bonus, here are buildings ranked 11-20 in terms of tallest buildings that were started but never completed as per the CBTUH.

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