The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has released the latest in its series of original tall building data research entitled Tall Buildings in Numbers – The World’s Highest Observation Decks.

Perhaps no element of a tall building is more closely related to the pure pleasure of standing high in the sky and taking in the view of one’s surroundings than observation decks. Often adding an important source of revenue for the structures that have them, observation decks also change the way people view cities, and can potentially elevate their international reputation. However, many operators don’t take the “pure pleasure of height” for granted, choosing to include all manner of amusements, from glass floors to roller coasters and bungee jumps. Here we take a look at the history and chronicle some of the histrionics of humanity’s obsession with height.

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The history of the observation deck can be said to have its origins in North American culture, and the observation deck was integrated into the skyscraper at an early stage. As soon as we started building into the clouds, people wanted to know what the view looked like from the top. Recently however, Asia and the Middle East have taken over the development of the observation deck as they come into their era of building tall.

Historic Increases in Observatory Height by City

world's highest observation decks - shanghai world's highest observation decks - new york world's highest observation decks - chicago

Ranked by observation deck height, the following table lists the location and height of the 25 tallest observation decks in the world that have either been completed (shaded), or are currently under construction (unshaded).

world's highest observation decks