Aerial Views: World’s Highest Observation Decks

Burj Khafali

Dubai’s 828-metre tall Burj Khalifa may boast bragging rights as the tallest building in the world, but its observation deck did not quite secure the same position among the world’s highest observation decks.

According to a list compiled on the world’s highest observation decks by Emporis, a global authority on building and construction, Burj Khalifa’s “At the Top” barely squeezed into third place at 452 metres above ground level.

The Burj Khalifa’s observation deck, located on the building’s 124th floor, can still boast of using one of the world’s fastest elevators, bringing passengers to a height of 1,483 feet in an impressive 60 seconds.

Burj Khafali

Burj Khafali View from Observation Deck, Copyright Alex Schmies

While an incredible view of the Arabian desert is possible from “At the Top,” the title of world’s highest observation deck has gone to China’s Canton Tower in Guangzhou.

Canton Tower stands 618 metres tall with an observation deck offering spectacular views from 488 metres above the ground. The tower’s top deck is is the world’s highest publicly accessible observation deck and the structure also features other viewing platforms throughout the tower, with two outdoor decks featuring sky gardens.

Canton Tower

Canton Tower. Image Copyright: Sanfamedia

For the ultimate view, visitors can circle the top of the tower riding in glass pods 1,509 feet above the ground.

The mixed use Shanghai World Finacial Centre building took second place for its Skywalk 100, glass-walked walkways spanning 55 metres on a observation deck  standing 474 metres above the ground where the city literally feels at your feet.

The building itself stands 492 metres tall, a height that will be surpassed next year when the neighbouring Shanghai Tower is completed.

Shanghai World Financial Centre

Shanghai World Financial Centre. Image Copyright: Thierry Beauvier

While towers in China dominated the list of the world’s tallest observation decks, the United States’ tallest skyscraper, Willis Tower, made an appearance in eighth position. Though the tower was constructed in 1974, the 413-metre structure’s observation deck underwent a recent upgrade with glass balconies with transparent floors installed on the west side of the building aspiring to make visitors feel like they are  ”hovering” above the city.

For a severe case of vertigo, the world awaits the rumoured 800-metre high observation deck to be housed within Kingdom Tower, currently under construction in Saudi Arabia.

“[Kingdom Tower] will bring the desert state not only the the title of the world’s tallest building, but the world’s highest observation decks,” said Emporis in a statement.

edge melbourne

Eureka Melbourne, “The Edge” . Image Copyright: Craig Abraham

Kingdom Tower is expected to stand over a kilometre tall with construction scheduled to be completed in 2018.

While Australia did not appear in the top 10, up north on the Gold Coast, Australia’s tallest tower, Q1, provides the country’s only beachside observation deck offering views from 230 metres above the ground.

melbourne skydeck

Q1 Observation Deck. Image Copyright: Q1

Melbourne’s Eureka building and Skydeck takes the title of the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere at 300 metres above the ground. Skydeck also features “The Edge”, a glass cube that protrudes three metres out from the building to suspend visitors over the city. The concept was a world first, but a similar feature, dubbed “The Ledge,” has been installed at the Willis Tower in Chicago.

For unforgettable views, here is the final list in its entirety:

Highest Observation Decks Chart

 By Angela Fedele
Top Image: Burj Khafali, Copyright Alex Schmies
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