Skyscrapers are in the news again. The recent opening of the Burj Khalifa turned the spotlight back on the engineering arms race. Popular Mechanics takes a look at the biggest skyscrapers on the drawing board and the current champ, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa:
The Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest tower in the world, officially opened in Dubai on Jan. 4 amid an impressive pyrotechnics display that highlighted the tower’s 2716.5-feet of aluminum and steel, and its 26,000 hand-cut glass panels. The Burj Khalifa blows away the next-nearest skyscraper, which is Taiwan’s 1670-foot Taipei 101, and the building has even surpassed ultra-tall, ground-cable-supported radio antennas.
Others are predicting the onslaught of new superstructures are the sign of economic calamity. Trevor Baker of The Guardian writes:
Skyscrapers, then, are the physical embodiment of “irrational exuberance” in the markets. The rule is that if there’s enough money sloshing around to pay for one, then don’t be surprised if, by the time the purple ribbon’s cut, the scissors have to be on hire purchase.
The best documentary on the science of building skyscrapers is still David Macaulay’s 2000 PBS series, Building Big:
As skyscrapers grew taller and taller, engineers were faced with a new enemy: wind. Today’s tallest skyscrapers, which are almost 1,500 feet tall, must be 50 times stronger against wind than the typical 200-foot buildings of the 1940s.
Time waster: Skyscraper the game.