Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Easy as 123 (stories)

123 floors, you say? Dubai is showing the classic signs of an Edifice Complex, where countries awash in new money build huge skyscrapers to claim their place on the world stage. At left, Dubai's planned Burj Dubai, at a cost of $900 million, is intended to be the world's tallest building, structure, or tower - by a wide margin - when it is finished in 2008. The developers say it will be "dozens of stories taller" than current record-holders in Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Chicago. They plan to keep the exact height and number of floors secret during the construction to flummox potential competitors.

Taipei 101 (below), finished in 2004, is currently the world's tallest building - at 1,670 feet it is nearly 200 feet higher than the 1,489-foot Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the 1,450-foot Sears Tower in Chicago. Here's the ranking of world's tallest buildings, from Info Please.

New York's fourth-tallest building, by the way, since 2001, is the 861-foot 72-story Trump World Tower near the UN. Trump broke a longstanding 'gentleman's agreement' among NYC developers not to eclipse the UN building with anything taller in its vicinity. For three years it was the world's tallest residential tower, recently eclipsed by the 883-foot 21st Century Tower in - you got it, Dubai...

In 2002, my Mom and I were in the world's fourth tallest building (counting the Petronas twins as one thing), the Jin Mao tower in Shanghai, 88 stories and 1,381 feet. It has a beautiful pagoda-like form (as does Taipei 101) and a spectacular view from the top.

Shanghai felt like the futuristic dreamscape stretching as far as the eye could see... There's really only one stretch of old buildings in the whole city, the "Bund" on the waterfront, built by the British.


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