Sometimes size really isn't everything. Well, at least that's what the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat would like you to believe.
But when it comes to size, it's either go big or go to Dubai if you're in the United Arab Emirates. The city's Burj Khalifa, also known as the world's tallest building, took top honours as the world's "vainest building" in the council's report.
The study, published earlier this September, takes note of a growing trend in supertall buildings (building over 300 meters tall) built with superficial added height, or what they like to call "vanity height".
Vanity height — defined as non-occupiable space — is the distance from the highest floor of living space to the top of an architecture. By those standards, nearly 30 per cent of the Burj Khalifa is just vanity height. Take away the 244 meters of non-occupiable space and the skyscraper falls down to 828 meters tall, and places it as the 11th tallest building in Europe, the CTBUH told Reuters.
But it would seem that Dubai's a repeat offender of constructing vain buildings. Half the vainest buildings on the council's list are found in Dubai, and includes the famous Burj Al Arab, the city's luxury hotel with 39 per cent of useless space. (See below)
While the push for vainer buildings isn't exactly the best business model, (Time points out that the property found in the tallest parts of building, like penthouses, usually retail for more money but are now replaced with worthless empty space), consultants still see the perks of super tall buildings.
“You can have towers that are loss-leaders but catalysts for regeneration and iconic structures can sway decision-makers," said Steve Watts, a rep with construction consultancy Alinea.
And of course, there's good old-fashioned bragging rights.
"There can also be an ego element with these things with developers wanting to go higher than each other,” said Watts.
But if Dubai is a the equivalent to that girl who always wore heels to feel taller about herself, at least it's not alone. Three of of world's vainest building reach the clouds above China and the remaining two can be found not far from home in New York City.
To see how slide-by-slide comparison of each building, check out the gallery below.
The World's Vainest Buildings
Vanity Height: 331m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 237m Non-Occupiable Height: 94m (28% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 360m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 265m Non-Occupiable Height: 95m (27% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 333m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 237m Non-Occupiable Height: 96m (29% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 309m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 213m Non-Occupiable Height: 97m (31% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 319m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 220m Non-Occupiable Height: 99m (31% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 335m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 241m Non-Occupiable Height: 113m (32% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 321m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 198m Non-Occupiable Height: 124m (39% wasted space) Photo Credit: Román Emin
Vanity Height: 366m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 235m Non-Occupiable Height: 131m (36% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 450m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 317m Non-Occupiable Height: 133m (30% wasted space)
Vanity Height: 828m Highest Occupied Floor Height: 585m Non-Occupiable Height: 244m (29% wasted space)