China may have just topped out on its new tallest building -- the 632-meter Shanghai Tower -- but if plans underway in Changsha come to fruition, that building will hold the title until only April 2014 when the country's 838-meter Sky City is completed.
When that happens, Sky City will become the world's tallest building, beating the Burj Khalifa in Dubai by 10 meters.
While people debate the merits of building so high so quickly -- there's evidence that tall buildings often presage an economic collapse -- we wanted to take a look at other buildings that deserve browser time.
These aren't the tallest buildings in the world, they aren't the prettiest buildings in the world, they aren't even the most successful -- the inclusion of North Korea's disastrous Ryugyong Hotel attests to that.
But they are among the most iconic, representing their designers and their cities as memorably as anything else.
To put together the list we collaborated with A. Eugene Kohn, founder and chairman of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), one of the world's largest architectural firms, and Michael Greene, KPF principal.
Let us know what you think of our choices and tell us about your own favorite iconic buildings in the comments section below.
Empire State Building, New York
Height: 437 meters
Cost to build: $41 million
Completion date: May 1, 1931
Fast fact: The Empire State Building took only one year and 45 days to build, or 7 million man hours -- a record to this day for a skyscraper of its height.
Its glory days are numbered though -- developers in China just broke ground on the world's tallest building, Sky City, with plans to whip it up in just 10 months.
"With the passing of the World Trade Center, it became even more entrenched in the hearts and souls of New Yorkers and the rest of the world." -- Michael Greene.
The 443-meter Empire State Building is the icon of New York, where Jay Z's "dreams are made" and King Kong went berserk.
The Empire State Building was designed by William Lamb of architecture firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon.
Built during the Great Depression, this gigantic building has been an American symbol for 70 years, providing a solid anchor through the ebbs and flows of its economy.
It's also the longest holder of the "World's Tallest Building" title, from 1931 to 1972.
Its exterior lighting changes regularly to promote charitable causes and mark significant events and it's one of the few skyscrapers to offer wedding packages at its observatory.
Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Ave., New York; +1 212 736 3100; Observatory open daily, 8 a.m-2 a.m., tickets from $27/adult, $21/child (6-12)
China Central Television Headquarters, Beijing
Height: 234 meters
Cost to build: $600 million
Completion date: 2012
Fast fact: A building in the CCTV complex was badly damaged during a fire ignited by fireworks.