Mankind has constantly been fascinated by height and the taller the structure, the more attention and visitors it attracts.
In the annals of tall buildings, the pyramids, cathedrals, five-story pagodas and many more all pushed for the heavens long before the modern era.
In 1889, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, created a huge sensation when it was inaugurated as the world's tallest structure at the time. It measured 324 meters in height. It remained the world's tallest structure until 1930. Then Tokyo Tower was completed in 1958 and took over the title of world’s tallest tower at 333 meters.
Before the completion of the 634-meter Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest free-standing tower was Canton Tower, in Guangzhou, southern China, scaling 600 meters. It was completed in 2009 and surpassed the then record holder of more than 30 years--the 553-meter CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, which was completed in 1976. Guangzhou’s reign as the world’s tallest tower was short-lived and lasted for only two years.
At the moment, the world’s tallest structure including towers, is the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, which reaches a whopping 828 meters, and is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The construction cost some $1.5 billion (119.04 billion yen). Burj Khalifa was completed in 2010, leaving the then record holder, the 509-meter high Taipei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan, in the dust.
But its days of glory may be numbered. Azerbaijan, the former Soviet state that is enjoying a major construction rush, has revealed plans to build a skyscraper reaching 1,050 meters high.
Still, one architectural expert wonders why the race continues for the world's tallest structure.
“There is not much meaning to simply going higher, or expanding space volume," said Shizuo Harada, 68, an architect and president of ESCO (Environmental Systems Consultation & Organization) who is well-versed in high-rise constructions. "The environment high up in the air is quite harsh. The important thing is to create spaces like parks and pools in midair--to open up new habitats inside skyscrapers.”
Harada added, “We can divert such state-of-the-art skyscraper construction technology to a variety of fields.”
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