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Old Posted Jun 28, 2007, 12:46 PM
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Nunavuter Nunavuter is offline
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This post includes a music video

Bangkok, Thailand. From zero to Seventh place in seven years.

Soundtrack for this post courtesy Murray Head

Bangkok had not a single skyscraper until 1993. That year, three opened.

By 2000, it had 21 — that tied it with Los Angeles.

In 1991, Shenzhen, China had two buildings over 500 feet tall. In 2000, there were 13. Guangzhou (Canton) had three structures taller than 500 feet in 1991, and two of these were TV towers. In 2000, there were 13, and all of the additions were office buildings.

But no skyline changed as much as that of Shanghai, which jumped from three to 36 skyscrapers in the 1990s.

In 1990, China had 29 skyscrapers. In 2000, China had 163. This would place all of China on par with New York City. This was an historic transformation.

Cities with at least six structures >500 feet in 2000

New York City: 165
Chicago: 70
Hong Kong: 59
Shanghai: 36
Tokyo: 31
Singapore: 29
Houston: 26
Bangkok: 21
Los Angeles: 21
Kuala Lumpur: 19
Dallas: 17
San Francisco: 16
Melbourne: 15
Sydney: 15
Boston, MA: 14
Shenzhen, China: 13
Toronto: 12
Atlanta: 11
Seattle: 11
Frankfurt, Germany: 9
Pittsburgh: 9
Philadelphia: 8
Minneapolis: 8
Paris: 8
Detroit: 7
Wuhan, China: 6

But East Asia wasn't the only place where things were happening.

Burj al-Arab

AKA Tower of the Arabs

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Year Completed: 1999

Height: 1,053 feet (60 stories)

Claim to Fame: The Burj al-Arab is a luxury hotel in Dubai, the first building in the Middle East to top 1,000 feet in height and to this day it is the tallest hotel in the world.

The Burj al-Arab stands on an artificial island and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.
The hotel was designed to resemble a tent and a ship’s sail, specifically the triangular sails used by Arab dhows, the traditional riverboats used in trade in the Middle East. The hotel features the world’s tallest atrium. There is a heliport on the roof.

The atrium of the Burj al-Arab rises more than 800 feet

Status: The Burj al-Arab is one of the handful of six-star hotels in the world recognized by the Michelin Guide. It was briefly marketed as a ‘seven-star’ hotel for the simple reason that this was the grandest of the six-star hotels, until Michelin made them stop that silliness.

You have to draw the line somewhere.
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Last edited by Nunavuter; Jun 28, 2007 at 12:52 PM.
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2007, 8:42 PM
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Seriously...this is one of the best threads ever on this site. I just spent the last hour reading what you have so far.

Excellent work.
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Old Posted Jun 29, 2007, 2:14 AM
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A bit opinionated* but a frigging GREAT THREAD.

*(I disagree about the Petronas, if you count the spire for the Chrysler you gotta count the Petronas)
"The large print giveth and the small print taketh away"

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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 4:50 AM
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The Chrysler Building has a spire.

The Petronas Towers have antennas.

The Difference is that a spire has space that a human can occupy.

Technically speaking, 40 Wall Street has a higher roof, as measured from the side walk, than the Chrysler Building.

To discount occupiable spires in favour of antennas would be to make flag poles and wires held aloft by balloons count for hight.

Whether you agree with them, I impose a common standard across time.
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 4:54 AM
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The Asian Bubble Bursts

The year 1998 marked the end of an extended economic boom in Asia, and the construction that went with it. The recessionary conditions that marked the next few years are sometimes referred to as "the Asian flu."

The Asian recession was not as deep nor as long-lasting as the 1990s recession that affected Japan, Europe and North America, however. Construction slowed in Asia, but never truly halted. Within a few years a new round of economic expansion had resumed.

Two International Finance Centre


Location: Hong Kong

Year completed: 2003

Height: 1,335 feet (90 storeys), plus a 29-foot antenna array

Claim to fame: Two International Finance Centre was the first giant to be completed in the 21st Century, and the first to be opened after the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings.

In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 and the “Petronas Height Controversy,” the building opened with little fanfare regarding the fact that its roof is 13 feet higher than that of the Malaysian towers. By this measure, it was the fourth-tallest building built in history, surpassed only by the World Trade Center buildings and the Sears Tower.

This building also has a spire component and an antenna array. The 23-foot spires (which have a pair of elevator lobbies to access the roof) are arranged like a pair of horns on the top of the building, with the broadcast antennas between them. Counting the structural spires (but not the antennas), Two IFC is 1,358 feet tall, or four feet short of Number Two World Trade Center, which tragically did not exist anymore by the time Two IFC opened.

All other details of the September 11 tragedy aside, from the standpoint of this thread the collapse of the World Trade Center towers represented the first time since the Middle Ages that structures that had once been the crowning achievement of world architecture had been destroyed in tragic circumstances. (As previously mentioned, the Singer Building held the previous record for the largest building ever demolished, and it too was once the world's tallest building.)

Status: Two IFC features 22-foot ceilings on many of its storeys to accommodate trading areas for brokerage and commodities operations that take place there. The building features double-decker elevators, and on the taller floors passengers on the upper decks step out onto balconies facing the open-concept trading areas and walk down a short flight of stairs. The ground floor opens up into a large shopping complex and a rapid transit line that connects the building to Hong Kong's airport.

The building officially lists 88 storeys, but actually has 90. The number 88 has auspicious connotations in Chinese culture, but like buildings in Western countries that lack a 13th floor, at Two International Finance Centre the 4th, 14th and 24th floors are not numbered as such because in Cantonese these numbers sound like “die,” "definitely die" and "easy to die,” respectively. Some floors are given letter designations instead, such as 23B, which of course is actually the 24th floor.

The architect is César Pelli, who incidentally designed the Petronas Towers as well. The international nature of skyscraper construction is revealed in the fact that the tallest building in Hong Kong was designed by an Argentinean émigré based in New Haven, Connecticut.

^The "Big Five" in 2003, reflecting the completion of Two IFC and the destruction of the World Trade Center.
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 5:02 AM
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The Petronas-Sears Debate becomes moot

Anyway...it all became moot in 2004

Taipei 101

Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Year completed: 2004

Height: 1,474 feet (101 storeys), plus a 197-foot spire.

Claim to fame: The argument over which was the tallest on the world — the Sears Tower or the Petronas Towers — was settled in 2004.

The Taipei 101 captured three of the four record categories established by the World Council on Tall Buildings when it was completed. It usurped ‘highest roof’ and ‘highest occupied floor’ from the Sears Tower in Chicago, and took the ‘highest structural feature’ (decorative do-dad) from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

The 1,815-foot CN Tower remained the world’s tallest freestanding structure on land, but only by a margin of 144 feet over the 1,671-foot top of the Taipei 101. (Why didn’t they just go for it?)

If the building zigs, this thing zags.

The world’s tallest building is totally geek. It features a 660-tonne tuned mass damper on the 88th floor (the world’s heaviest pendulum) that stabilizes the building against earthquakes and typhoons. Taipei 101 is equipped with the fastest elevators in the world (35 mph) capable of zipping from the ground floor to the 89th floor observation deck in 39 seconds. The building also boasts all-fibre communications and one-gigabit Internet connections.


Taipei 101 holds the less auspicious record for 'world's biggest ad' previously held by a much older structure.

Status: In the wake of Sept. 11, Taipei 101’s design was modified with additional safety features. The most important of these is fireproofing of the beams to withstand burning jet fuel and double redundancies on the supports. Taipei 101 will continue to stand even if half the columns are compromised or destroyed. There are three separate sprinkler systems, including one that operates on gravity alone in case electrical power is cut to the water system. Glow-in-dark strips and emergency lights are placed at floor level, and red signal flags can be sent out from the sides of the building to call rescue workers.

The building’s extra-wide stairwells are designed to allow people moving downward during an evacuation (including those on stretchers) to pass firefighters going up in full gear with room to spare. Emergency “evac chutes” can carry people to lower floors and bypass a fire between their floor and the ground. Notably, the government of Taiwan demanded that the building be fully evacuated in half an hour in the event of an emergency.

A test of the evacuation procedures in 2005 cleared 20,000-odd people from the building in 28 minutes.

^The "Big Five" as of 2004, just seven years after the first Asian skyscraper joined the group.
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Last edited by Nunavuter; Jun 30, 2007 at 5:16 AM. Reason: typos and omissions
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 4:05 PM
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WilliamTheArtist WilliamTheArtist is offline
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One tiny error. The 1980 list of cities with at least 4 buildings of 500feet or more. You forgot my little home town of Tulsa.

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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 9:30 PM
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Nunavuter Nunavuter is offline
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Thanks. I'm hoping that people will point out any errors so they can be fixed. I'd like this thread to be as accurate as possible.
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Old Posted Jun 30, 2007, 10:44 PM
mikeelm mikeelm is offline
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I'M WONDER WHY IT TOOK THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING A YEAR AND A HALF to built and the Sears Tower 3 years? The ST is only 10 more storis high.

I did read the piece so I hope I didn't miss anything and I apologize for the all caps at the beginning I hit that darn caps button.
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Old Posted Jul 3, 2007, 12:12 PM
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WOW! This is an amazing thread! Good job and keep it coming.
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