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By John Biggs
March 26, 2018
Since the times of ancient Egypt, mankind has sought to make their mark on the planet by building structures rising high above the ground. Centuries later, starting largely with the technological revolution in America in the late 19th century, construction of the modern skyscraper began, largely in cities like New York and Chicago, where developers and architects would try to out-do one another with building size and stature. Having the city with “The Tallest Building in the World” became a status symbol that still endures to this day.
Many modern skyscrapers dwarf those built in the early days. So much, in fact, a new phrase has been coined to describe them. So-called “megatall” buildings, which all rise above 1,968 feet. Currently only 3 such buildings exist on the planet, but many more are planned, mostly in the Middle East and Asia. What follows are some of the most advanced skyscrapers (or skyscraper concepts) in the works.
Infinity Tower, South Korea
The Infinity Tower, the 1,476-foot skyscraper planned for construction in South Korea, will boast observation decks, a roller coaster and a water park. But its most prominent and differentiating design feature will be near invisibility. Most skyscrapers are designed to be seen, with Infinity Tower, the opposite is true.
“Instead of symbolizing prominence as another of the world's tallest and best towers, it sets itself apart by celebrating the global community rather than focusing on itself. The tower subtly demonstrates Korea's rising position in the world by establishing its most powerful presence through diminishing its presence. Korea will have a unique position of having the ‘best’ tower by having an ‘anti-tower’,” GDS Architects, the firm taking the lead on Infinity Tower, says on their website.
The “invisibility” will work with cameras capturing the area immediately surrounding the structure and projecting it onto screens all over the building. According to CNN, “The invisibility illusion will be achieved with a high-tech LED facade system that uses a series of cameras that will send real-time images onto the building's reflective surface,”
3D Printed Skyscraper (As Yet Unnamed), Dubai
Already home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, Dubai may soon be home to the world’s first 3D printed skyscraper, and a UAE-based construction company, Cazza, has already signed on to do the job. The company says it will utilize a technique called “crane printing,” adapting existing cranes to print using materials like concrete and steel, which will give the finished building a look indistinguishable from those built with more traditional methods.
“We are adding new features to make it adaptable to high wind speeds along with the use of our layer smoothing system that creates completely flat surfaces. You won’t know it’s 3D printed,” Fernando De Los Rios, CEO of Cazza told the UK Independent.
Shanghai Tower, China
The second tallest building in the world, Shanghai Tower has had to turn to advanced building methods and technology. Extremely tall buildings by design must be able to sway a bit in the wind. With the Shanghai Tower, a 1,200-ton mass damper hangs suspended over an eddy current damper, essentially a massive copper plate covered in magnets, which creates an electromagnetic charge as the damper passes over the magnets. The building’s tapered design also redirects the winds, preventing them from reaching full strength against the building.
Getting around inside a building of that size is no easy feat, so engineers have build the world’s fastest elevator for Shanghai Tower, a capsule fitted with anti-vibration technology, specially designed cables, speed governor and braking devices, making it capable of reaching speeds up to 42.8 MPH. The elevator, operated by Mitsubishi Electric, is surprisingly whisper quiet and energy efficient.
“While Mitsubishi Electric's cutting-edge technologies drastically increase the speed, the elevator also delivers enhanced safety, top-level riding comfort, silence and power saving,” Mitsubishi said in a statement.
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