At the rate that China is building skyscrapers—that's one completed every five days to be exact—it's no wonder that some out-of-the-way Chinese locales are home to tall buildings. That said, there are some spectacular examples of high-rise architecture, some that compete for tallest in the world, in the cities outside of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing. The Canton Tower (above), in the southern city of Guangzhou, is the tallest structure in China and was completed to great fanfare before the 2010 Asian Games. The twisting, LED-lit structure briefly held the title of world's tallest freestanding building, but was surpassed this year by Japan's under-construction Tokyo Sky Tree, which uses a remarkably similar mesh construction. Luckily China has plenty more where this came from.
? Also located in Guangzhou, the 103-story Guangzhou International Finance Center might not win any awards for aesthetic ingenuity, but the sheer space in the tower, 4.9 million square feet, makes this a serious contender. Plus, the tower will be home to a high altitude Four Seasons hotel, set on floors 69 to 98, that should provide views all the way to Hong Kong.
? If Nanjing's Greenland Square Zifeng Tower looks a bit like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, that's because Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill architect Adrian Smith led both projects. The 1,480-foot tower contains retail and office space in the lower half and restaurants and a hotel at the top. Sadly, the much-touted views of the Yangtze River and surrounding countryside might be, as in this photo, clouded by some of China's legendary smog.
? Despite a potentially awkward English name, the Kingkey 100 in Shenzhen is one seriously impressive supertall tower. Topping out at 100 stories, the Kingkey skyscraper is illuminated at night by an LED lighting system that runs down one entire flank of the building. A "six-star" branch of the luxe St. Regis hotel chain occupies 23 floors near the top of the skyscraper.
? All these new towers might have some observers thinking that the Chinese only started obsessing about the skyscraper in the new millenium. Nope, they've been working on supertall buildings for a while, they just haven't quite been pretty enough for the front page. The 1,197-foot Tianjin Radio and Television Tower was completed in 1991 and cost a paltry $45M, a pittance by today's standards. By comparison, the Canton Tower cost $324M to construct.
· Topping Out [Curbed National]