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Old Posted Aug 12, 2016, 2:03 PM
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BBC Future: Will the skyscrapers outlast the pyramids?

Apologies if this is the wrong forum... surprised this hasn't been posted yet.

I saw it posted by SOM on LinkedIn, and the engineer of the Burj Khalifa contributed to it.

Will the skyscrapers outlast the pyramids?

Egypt’s pyramids were the skyscrapers of their day – and they are still standing 5,000 years later. Do today’s tallest buildings stand a chance of outlasting them?

By Zaria Gorvett
9 August 2016

The cracks first emerged in April. By 29 June 1995, a vast network of fissures spanned the entire fifth floor ceiling of one of Seoul’s busiest department stores. Hours later, loud bangs could be heard coming from the roof. The cracks widened.

An emergency board meeting was called but the chairman flatly refused to evacuate, citing lost profits. Then he fled the building.

At 5pm the fifth floor ceiling began to sink. Shopping continued as usual, until the alarms were finally sounded nearly an hour later. But it was too late. The roof went next, followed by the building’s main support columns, sending the entire south wing crashing into the basement. 1,500 people were trapped – including the chairman’s own stepdaughter – and 502 never made it out of the building.

The Sampooning collapse is an example of how fragile modern engineering can be. Even with materials, equipment and an advanced understanding of physics, the building didn’t last five years, let alone 5,000.

Meanwhile the Egyptian Pyramids have been drawing crowds for millennia. Unfazed by earthquakes, erosion or vandalism, they’ve endured the collapse of the civilisation that built them and the transformation of the Sahara from lush grassland into today’s vast desert.

Of these, the Great Pyramid of Giza – completed in 2540 BC – is unrivalled, with superior materials, engineering and design to any built before or since. Ancient Greek tourists would travel thousands of miles to gawk at its towering limestone steps, which were so highly polished they were said to glow; their names can be found carved into its walls to this day.

Remarkably, Cleopatra lived closer in history to today’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa – than she did to this monumental tomb. When the last mammoths died out, it was already 1,000 years old.

It was the Burj of its day, towering above every other building until the spire of Lincoln Cathedral was completed around 700 years ago. “The ancient Egyptians were creating a – I hate to say it – launching pad for the deceased, so they could get up there with the Sun and the stars,” says Donald Redford, who has been studying the pyramids for over four decades.

Fast-forward to 2016 and we’re piercing the heavens with ever-taller buildings, from looming clock towers to 20-storey robots, to the possibility of the first mile-high building – though it’s not yet clear if the latter is even possible. We’re entering the age of the skyscraper, as people move out of the countryside and pour into ever-crowded cities.

The constructions must withstand immense forces just to stay upright, including regular lightning strikes and spiralling 100-mile per hour winds – not to mention the constant effect of gravity. In some areas you can add major earthquakes to that list. What was the pyramids’ secret? And do today’s skyscrapers stand a chance of outlasting them?

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Old Posted Aug 12, 2016, 3:41 PM
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And do today’s skyscrapers stand a chance of outlasting them?
perhaps a snowball's chance in hell...
"If you play a Nickleback song backwards you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forwards you'll hear Nickleback." -Dave Grohl
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Old Posted Aug 13, 2016, 7:42 PM
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Hell no, skyscrapers are hollow and made of steel. The pyramids are made of solid rock with low slopes, they're basically man made hills.
Spawn of questionable parentage!
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