This ever-taller-skyscraper business only gets crazier.
The current most thrusting tower of all – the 828-metre Burj Khalifa, in Dubai – may only relatively recently have opened its doors to the public but construction is about to begin on another building in the region whose height will eclipse it by a good walk to the bus stop.
At 173 metres taller than the Dubai skyscraper, the Kingdom Tower, in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, will stretch more than 1km – upwards.
Kingdom Tower – Jedda, Saudi Arabia
Cost: $1.23 billion
Height: 1,000 m (3,280.84 ft)
That’s a lot of room to contain a Four Seasons hotel, plus many normal skyscrapers’ worth of offices, condominiums and luxury apartments.
The building is design by U.S architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill. The building has been scaled down from its initial one mile proposal, which was never fully designed, anyway, to a height of at least 1,000 metres (3,280.84 ft) (the exact height is being kept private while in development, similar to the Burj Khalifa), which, at about two-thirds of a mile, would still make it by far the tallest building or structure in the world to date, standing at least 173 m (568 ft) taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa – Dubai
Cost: $1.5 billion
Height: 828 m (2,717 ft)
The Burj Khalifa is so high it claimed the title of world’s tallest manmade structure, in April 2008, before it was even complete. At more than 800 metres, the Burj overshadows every other building in Dubai and it’s not even quite finished yet. Although the public are now allowed into the building, the viewing platform is only about two-thirds up the tower.
Burj Khalifa won’t be occupying the loftiest heights alone for long as plans for the 1km-tall Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia have been unveiled, and only slightly less concrete is the proposed 400-storey Dubai City Tower. Also known as Vertical City, it would reach 2.4 kilometres into the air. Perhaps all these skyscraper fans should just club together and build something really tall.
Tokyo Sky Tree – Japan
Cost: $440 million
Height: 634 m (2,080 ft)
Although construction is ongoing, Tokyo Sky Tree has already shot past the former world’s second tallest skyscraper – the CN Tower in Canada. The Japanese building, the tallest artificial structure in the country, has reached its full height of 634 metres but construction will not be finished until at least the end of the year. The skyscraper dominates the landscape when you walk down Sky Tree Road – as you get closer, you can use a special mirror (pictured) to help capture a shot of you and the building.
A splendid example of skyscraper one-upmanship, Tokyo Sky Tree was initially meant to be 24 metres shorter, until the owners heard of another tower being built of similar height in China.
CN Tower – Toronto, Canada
Cost: $235 million (in 2011 dollars)
Height: 553.33 m (1,815.4 ft)
The world’s tallest and then second tallest tower until Burj Khalifa and Tokyo Sky Tree knocked it off the top spots respectively, the 553-metre-high CN Tower soars over Toronto. It took 1,537 workers labouring five days a week for 24 hours to build. The crowning glory is the imaginatively-named 360 restaurant, which makes a complete rotation every 72 minutes to give diners different panoramic views of the city.
Apart from the lookout, there is an incredibly fun yet disconcerting glass floor that you can stand on that looks straight down to the ground below. This is also a skyscraper with a heart – during bird-migration season, the exterior lights are dimmed so as not to disorientate any feathered friends.
Taipei 101 – Taipei, Taiwan
Cost: $1.80 billion ( NT$ 58 billion)
Height: 509.2 m (1,670.6 ft)
The 508-metre Taipei 101 – named after the number of floors – is every bit the modern skyscraper but its design harkens back to traditional Chinese building, mimicking the pagoda shape and drawing inspiration from bamboo plants. The tower is divided into eight exterior sections, following Chinese belief in eight as a lucky number.
Called one of the seven new wonders of the world by Newsweek magazine, Taipei 101 was built to withstand the frequent threat of typhoons and earthquakes. Visitors can zip up to the indoor observatory on the 89th floor in 37 seconds, thanks to the world’s fastest lifts. The high-speed pressurised pods move at a blistering rate of 10 metres a second.
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