The following discussion analyzes some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, highlighting their striking features in terms of their architectural design and construction materials that have made some to stand the test of time and consequently revealing how they have evolved from 19th to 21st century. Such skyscraper included here are Chrysler Building in New York of early 1900s, World Trade Center(Twin Towers), Kingdom Center, Taipei 101 and lastly the ongoing construction of the tallest world-to-be skyscraper-Burj Dubai.
The Chrysler Building in New York was the first tallest building to be completed in early 1930s and it is even considered to be one of the classical skyscrapers up-to-date in the New York City. In 2005 The Chrysler Building was ranked among top ten building out of twenty five favorite New York Towers. It stood to be tallest building from1930 to 1931 when its record was broken by Empire State Building. However it is still the tallest building in the world which is made of bricks.
The Chrysler Building is said to be an Art Desco architecture and presently the architects find it to be the most finest buildings in the New York City located on the east side of Manhattan. It is 319 meters tall (1,047ft). The distinctive ornamentation of the building was not less in comparison of the features of Chrysler automobiles. At the comer of the sixty first floor is punctuated with eagles replicas of 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments.
On its thirty first floor corner ornamentation are those of replicas of Chrysler radiator caps. Due to these features among many others it was made to be National Historic Landmark in 1976 (Haverstock et al, 2000 pp. 214-222). When it was competed and the building first opened it did have on its 71st floor a public viewing gulley which was later closed to the public in 1945. Its recognition and significance increased during early times due to its cultural depictions.
It featured severally in films, arts, advertisement, art work, music, literature and fashions to mention but a few due to the vicinity at which such works were being performed. To date Chrysler Building is the third tallest building after the Bank of America Building in New York City. Another significant skyscraper in world’s history is World Trade Center which also sometimes is referred to as Twin Towers that was an outstanding landmark just before it was shattered in September 11, 2001 attack. It design was such innovatory that it was done to look like futuristic sculpture.
The building itself was sophisticated in that it consisted of two towers, the North tower and the South tower which were at different heights 1368 ft (417M) and 1362 ft ( 415M) respectively, together with five other complex buildings. These towers were identical in the design that why it was given the name Twin Towers. Twin Towers by the time of its completion it was the tallest building in the world until the construction of Chicago’s Shears and Petronas in Malaysia. The World Trade Center building was situated at Lower Manhattan.
The tower construction started in mid-1960s and completed in 1973. Its design adopted new innovations and structural systems with technological advancements that employed lightweight and modular construction. Its design was meant to resist strong wind of load of 2kpa. It is recorded that each tower was sixty four meters square standing at 411 M above the street level. Its existence came in to being as a result of David Rockfeller’s dream who was the chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank and Nelson Rockfeller, the former Governor of New York.
He owned the original idea of the center construction. In 1962 Minoru Yamasaki was contracted as a lead architect and it presented World Trade Center design to the public in1964 (Haverstock et al, 2000 pp 245-260). Its structural design employed tube-frame design that allowed open floors instead of using columns to support building loads as it was normally done in previous construction making it a totally new approach . It used high strength, load bearing perimeter steel columns. In short the building itself portrayed a state –of –art when it was completed.
The construction of World Trade Center took eight years. However, construction of the World Trade Center was not without controversy because its site saw the relocation of many commercial and industrial tenants and residents as the complex occupied sixteen acres of land. Even its design faced a lot of criticism due to its aesthetic aspects. The urban planners and architects described the Tower as ‘just glass and metal filling cabinets’. Its narrows office windows about 460 mm wide were disliked because of obscurity in view they gave onto looking outside from the building.
When Twin Towers was completed, it was such a spectacle in that it attracted about one hundred tourists each day. It had observation deck at height of 420 M and at this point one was at ‘world’s highest outdoor viewing platform’ as it was referred. This view was in the South Tower. On a clear day one could see as far as 78 km in any direction. From about twenty miles away the tower could easily been seen. One may wonder of what significance did the Twin Tower played. It was found that about 50,000 people worked in it. Since 1973 every United States of America president had to visit this spectacle.
Several events have taken place in this skyscraper. Many mountain climbers have scaled the building. It has featured in many TV shows, magazines, movies and merchandise that gave it so much popularity. The World Trade Center Building has encountered two attacks where the second attack was so severe that it caused the collapse of the North and South towers. The bombing attack of February 26, 1993 caused 30M hollow through five concrete sublevels in the North Tower that was detonated at underground garage. The second attack of September 11, 2001 resulted to a total collapse of World Trade Center .
The North Tower was the first to crumble after it was crushed by airliner hijackers and barely after twenty minutes the second airliner hijackers crushed the South Tower. Three of the seven building of World Trade Center collapsed on the same day of attacks. Nevertheless; plans are underway to rebuild World Trade Center Towers that will lead to completion of Freedom Towers which will be one of the future skyscrapers. Before this skyscraper, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in the New York City and again it has taken this prestige Twin Tower collapse.
As evolution of skyscraper continues, currently the United State of America no longer enjoy credits of the tallest skyscrapers in the world any more; but this now is ascribe to Asian nation such as Malaysia and Dubai. The Kingdom Tower in Riyadh is also one of the world tallest skyscrapers and but the only tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia. It was completed in the year 2001. Though it is not even among top ten world’s skyscrapers it is worth mentioning because of its state-of –art that has made it to win the Emproris Skyscraper award.
Before its construction was done, major competitive architectural firms were consulted and about a hundred submissions made taking the final architectural design to three years time. At its completion, it was twenty fifth world’s tallest building with a height of 302 M (991) tall. Because Saudi does not have many Skyscrapers like some of the cities of the world, it is renowned for its tourist attraction both locally and internationally. Amazingly, the building has entrance in each of its four sides.
The lighting fixtures in the drive way imitate tower’s shape and its inverted centenary arch at the top was described as the ‘necklaces for the Riyadh city by its designer. It has the ninety-ninth floor, which is a sky bridge that has triangular opening of fifty six meters with public observation deck. This sky bridge rises at nine hundred and eighteen above see level. This gave it unique aspects of being a point of tourist attraction as it is used as viewpoint of the entire city of Riyadh. It hosts the highest mosque in the world with forty one floors.
The Kingdom centre is owned by a prince of Saudi royal family Alwaleed bin Talal bins Abdulziz Al Saud. It is also his Kingdom Royal Company’s headquarters. In fact, Kingdom Centre was selected as the best skyscraper of the world for its design and this made it to win Emproris Skyscaper Award. The centre has state -of –art apartments with Four Seasons Hotel. Besides this it has a three-level shopping center in its east wing which made it also win award of design. Its large opening is lit at night in continuous changing color lights.
In the same building it has a big shopping mall with a hundred and seventy prestigious stores in the service floor consisting of eighty ground floor stores, and forty ladies floors. Ladies floor has been exclusively designed for women only (Terranova, 2003 pp. 44-49). Taipei 101 also known as the Taipei Financial Center is currently the world’s tallest building in Taiwan and also believed to be the largest construction engineering project in that region that was designed by world class architect C. Y Lee. It stands at the height of 1,671ft (509M) with a hundred and one stories.
Taipei 101 building where it rests covers 81,072 square meters (Ali & Moon, 2007 pp 8-10). This skyscraper has been designed using the most latest and sophisticated structural system technological advancements. Its design has used what is referred to as Mega Structure System. It is designed is in such a way that after every eighth floor there is space to check wind effects as commonly observed in high-rise. This system also helps prevent disaster. Surprisingly the building increases in its size as it rises up taking a pagoda shape.
The design is said to be based on traditional Chinese culture on lucky number eight . Consequently its looks like eight in its upwards flaring section with a support of eight super columns . In its 89th floor it has public indoor observation while at 91st floor it has an outdoor observation deck . Being the world’s tallest building, it has attracted visitors all over the world. To broadcasters, firework coverage is a common phenomenon particularly in the New Years Eve from this building. Also most of yearly festivals are also held here.
Its elevators are the fastest in the world rising at 60. 48 Km/hr and descending at 36. 6 km/hr. The building has won several international awards due to the technology employed (Ali & Moon, 2007 pp. 11-13) The Shanghai World Financial Center is the second world’s tallest building after Taipei 101. It has a hundred and one storeys and stands at height of 492M. Although after its foundation was laid, the construction encountered financial setback and it almost took ten years to be completed, this skyscraper is the second in the world as for now.
However by the time of its planning in the year 1997, it was to be the world tallest building surpassing Petronas Towers of Malaysia. It has three floors of underground parking, shops, offices, conference centers, exhibition and observation floors. In fact its observation bridge is the highest in the world. Also Shanghai World Financial Center portrays real evolution of the skyscrapers both in terms of structural system and design. It has two tuned mass dampers below observation floors to minimize any sway from windstorms and earthquakes.
Also after the incident that occurred at World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, there was redesigning of the structure so as to withstand occurrence of any plane crush or any other form of disaster if it ever happens by including 12 fire proof refugee areas and two elevators. Shanghai World Financial Trade Center is the latest to be inaugurated on August 28, this year. However, evolution of skyscrapers to the present age would not be inclusive without mentioning of the Burj Dubai. It will be the tallest ever built skyscrapers in the world once it will be completed.
Its construction started on September 22, 2004. In September 26 this year the building was at 707 M (2320ft). Presently even before its completion it has outdone Taipei 101 which has been the only skyscraper slightly half a kilometer in height. So far it is the structure with the many floors- one hundred and sixty floors after Shear Towers in Chicago, USA. This tower employs Islamic architecture where when viewed either from the base or above, it assumes onion shape. Structurally the tower is made of reinforced concrete and steel foundation (Ali & Moon, 2007 pp. 16-18)
Courtney from Study Moose
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