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It is because X番目に is an adverb, and X番目の behaves like an adjective. Because you can't have an adjective to describe another adjective, X番目に is needed to order objects based on a quality given by an adjective. Thus, in your example, 「二番目に高い建物です」, に is needed because you are ranking the buildings based on the adjective 高い. On the other hand, の is used if ...


In my response to your new query, MORE INFO In an effort to make my question as short as possible, I abbreviated too much. This is the complete sentence that originated my question: 少年時代から20年間もずっと過ごしてきて、他人から軽んじられるのに慣れていなかった。 Now you can see what I clipped. I removed important information. Sorry I caused confusion. I've learned how to ask ...

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