The tragic events of September 11 in 2001 did not stop momentum in tall building construction, a new analysis which has been released in the leadup to the 20th anniversary of the tragedy has found.

As Americans prepare to mark the two-decade anniversary of the twin tower collapse which killed 2,977 people and injured more than 6,000 others, a new study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has found that the events had little impact on the number of tall buildings being constructed.

This is despite fears at the time that many would no longer be comfortable in living and working in such settings amid concerns about the possibility of such buildings being targeted in potential attacks.

In fact, the data reveals that the number of buildings of 200 meters or greater in height (considered tall buildings for the purposes of the study) around the world has risen six-fold from just under 300 in 2001 to almost 1,800 now.

The analysis also found that the pace of tall building construction has ramped up.

In the decade prior to 2001, an average of twelve buildings of 200 meters in height or greater were constructed each year.

In the ten years to 2011 and 2021, those numbers rose to 45 and 106 per annum respectively.

The analysis also found that:

  • If standing today, the World Trade Centre Towers would be the seventh and eighth tallest buildings in the US and the 31st and 32nd tallest buildings in the world.
  • In the twenty years since 2001, the average height of the 100 tallest buildings has risen from 284 meters to 399 meters
  • In 2001, 49% of all 200m+ buildings were in North America. This figure is now at 15%, with significant growth in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Prior to 2001, office buildings comprised more than 80% of all 200m+ buildings globally. Now office buildings represent less than 46% of the 200m+ group, with significant growth of mixed-use, residential, and hotel
  • Since 2001, the number of 200m+ buildings with all-steel structures has fallen to 9%, with significant growth of composite and concrete

CTBUH Chief Executive Officer Antony Wood says the events of September 11 did not stop momentum in tall building construction.

“The 11th of September was seared into the consciousness of people around the entire world in a way that no other event had, and the tall building typology along with it,” Wood said.

“The findings of this data study point to the possibilities that 9/11 actually became a catalyst, rather than an inhibitor, for tall buildings.”

Sourceable note: Thoughts and prayers to all who lost family, colleagues, friends or who were otherwise affected by 9/11 at this difficult time leading up to the 20th anniversary of the event.