Which is the better way to measure a building’s height?

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) which is considered the foremost authority on tall buildings has made it clear that it has four ways of measuring a building’s height. Out of the four, height to the architectural top is officially used to determine the list of world’s tallest building. Architectural top here includes unoccupied spires/pinnacles/parapets that are permanent and critical to the overall design while disregards antennae, signage, flagpole or other ‘functional technical equipment’.

This is the reason why the Petronas Twin Towers won over Sears Tower (now renamed Willis Tower) to become the tallest buildings in the world back in 1997. The twin towers reach the height of 452 metres including their architectural spires while Willis Tower goes up to 527 metres including its antennae. However, antenna is not included and hence the official height of Willis Tower is just 442 metres.

The other three methods on measuring a building’s height that can be seen as alternatives or extensions of the main measuring method are height to top of roof, height to highest occupied floor, and height to highest point (tip). The latter method is the one that counts everything from a building from its base to its very top including those ‘functional technical equipment’. Once Taipei 101 was built in 2003,  the skyscraper cools down the controversy by topping the world’s tallest ranking in three out of the four methods. Then, Burj Khalifa came in 2009 to take all the top spots including the world’s tallest man-made structure and it is still holding the title now. The current list of world’s top ten tallest buildings is shown below which is measured in height to architectural top: (click on the image for larger version)

Besides than these four methods, other professional industries in this field of tall buildings such as the Emporis has its own set of methods too. But not to confuse anyone further, we will just stick to the more precise ones by CTBUH at this point.

There are still many parties who are not happy with these methods. They each has its flaws. The height to tip method rewards vanity height of all stripes, which could allow designers or developers seeking a height accolade to cheaply take the top spot using any poorly designed, extraneous addition to the roof. On the other hand, height to highest occupied floor does not acknowledge the impact that a building has on the experience of the urban environment – for example, the Burj Khalifa does not appear 584 meters tall but 828 meters, and as most of us will never be lucky enough to visit its topmost floor, it seems only sensible to judge its height based on its impact on the city’s appearance.

How about height to top of roof? In the variety of design of skyscraper nowadays, it’s very hard to judge the actual roof of a particular building. Is it just the roof over the highest occupied floor or roof covering the very highest portion of the building although the floor below it is not habitable.  The Burj Khalifa has 244 meters of vanity height, but where exactly is the roof over its top floor? The tapered design of this building does not allow for such simple definitions. The definition provided also repeats the flaw of the “height to top floor” method, in that many skyscraper designs have significant architectural additions above this, which impact how they are perceived by those on the ground.

Hence, which of the four methods are the best? Of can you define what’s the ‘best’ or the ‘better’ here? Louis Sullivan, an architect who is always known as the father of skyscrapers, says “It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line”.  If we take this to be true then it is clear that measuring the height to the tip, including – and rewarding – any and all of the clutter that often adorns the tops of skyscrapers is a move against design quality.

By contrast CTBUH’s official measurement tool, at the very least, holds designers accountable for ensuring that the way a building’s height is expressed is also a factor in establishing its quoted height. As architects, shouldn’t we support any tool which encourages tall buildings to be expressed elegantly? Recently, once the 1 World Trade Center in New York City is completed, another heated argument surfaces. Some claims that it is US tallest building but some said it’s Willis Tower. Many don’t see the antennae-like, awkward-designed and out-of-proportion spire on top of 1WTC as the key architectural element of the building. I too stand in that opinion. However, CTBUH has approved to have the spire as part of its architectural component in measuring its building height to the architectural top.

Increasing a building’s height with poor design is a big NO for me. Putting in a huge spire that is not proportionate to the overall building is a bad decision too. On the other hand, I do think it is necessary to have vanity height (non-usable height) to ‘complete’ a skyscraper especially when it is a tapering design on certain occasions. This issue actually leaves up a lot of questions and is open for multiple discussions.

Nevertheless, what’s important is that ‘the architects shouldn’t be arguing over which building is taller, but rather which building is better.’ 

Reference:

http://www.archdaily.com/548829/in-defense-of-rewarding-vanity-height

http://www.archdaily.com/881090/the-10-different-ways-to-measure-a-skyscrapers-height

(Images in this post are from the two sources listed above)

 

 

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TVB 50th anniversary celebration begins with the usual lighting ceremony

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2017 by vincentloy

This year, Hong Kong’s biggest television station TVB is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In conjunction with this significant and historic golden jubilee, the station has released many big-production series this year that includes many artists that we have not seen for a long time (although the overall quality is still questionable). So far, I have watched over 12 TVB dramas this year and I’m expected to watch few more before the end of the year. This makes 2017 the year with highest number of dramas that I have watched.

The anniversary celebration started with a lighting ceremony held last weekend. It is attended by Liza Wang, Carol Cheng, Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Michelle Yim, Moses Chan, Kristal Tin, Kenneth Ma, Bosco Wong, Vincent Wong, Maggie Shiu, Elena Kong, Sharon Chan, etc. It is the standard practice by the station to have this lighting ceremony to mark the start of many anniversary events to follow and also to introduce the anniversary dramas and programmes. Before this ceremony, there has been many speculations that there would be 7 anniversary dramas this year, rather than the typical 3 or 4. To allow all these dramas to finish airing and compete for this year’s awards, there has been rumour that TVB is pushing its annual TVB Anniversary Awards to early next year rather than in their usual mid-December slot.

The lighting ceremony has squashed all the rumours. There is only 4 anniversary dramas and they are ‘Heart and Greed’, ‘Oh My Grad’, ‘My Ages Apart’ and ‘The Exorcist’s Meter’. ‘Oh My Grad’ which is the third series in ‘Inbound Troubles’ franchise headed by Wong Cho Lam is currently airing and I am watching it too. Wong Cho Lam only has a very minor role in here and the result is there is not much fun and humor to be enjoyed from this series as expected earlier. The other series currently airing that I’m also watching is ‘Line Walker: The Pelude’ which is a prequel to the successful 2014’s Line Walker series. It is not bad but not up to the intensity and drama we have seen from its predecessor. I’m surprised that it is not selected as one of the anniversary dramas. On the other hand, I’m surprised that a supernatural drama (The Exorcist’s Meter) is one of the anniversary dramas. This genre usually doesn’t appeal to most audiences and are usually delivering mediocre result and yet is picked as one of the highlight of the station’s 50th anniversary. Hmmm…

I’m now only excited for the release of ‘Heart and Greed’, the third entry of the famous ‘Heart of Greed’ franchise about family feuds. The first two are classic and I hope this one could live up to that but I doubt it. I’m happy that the veteran cast are all back (Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Michelle Yim and Susanna Kwan) but I don’t like the junior line-up. It would be awesome if the previous cast (Moses Chan, Raymond Lam, Tavia Yeung, Fala Chen, Linda Chung, etc) all return but that would be impossible since most of them has gone their own way and left TVB.

So now this means that the ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’ (sequel to ‘Beyond the Realm of Conscience’) and a series starring Dicky Cheung (forgot the title) are not anniversary dramas and will only be released early next year. Media have been reporting on them since early this year and everyone is hyped but now they are pushed to next year. I can understand that since the station is not able to fit in all these dramas before the end of the year which is now fast approaching. So I guess these dramas will not be competing for this year’s TVB Anniversary Awards too. The awards will be held on end of December most probably, a week before Christmas. Before that, there will be the Anniversary Gala to be held on mid of November. There would be a special party next month to celebrate 50th anniversary of Liza Wang in the station too.

(Image in this post is from TVB’s Facebook page)

It’s October and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Posted in Miscellaneous on October 3, 2017 by vincentloy

It’s now October. The semester has flown so fast. This is my second last month of my postgraduate study. It is as though I have just started this course only a few months ago. It has been a great and stressful two years. Or to be exact, one and a half month to go and yet there are so many incomplete tasks. I have only joined one outdoor gathering with my housemates this semester. I am so sorry that I have to reject all the plans made by them as I am seriously filled up with my works. Do you think I don’t want to hang out with you guys and go outside for some fun? If I do that, I’m not going to do well in my study. I have to sacrifice one thing for another. That’s life. There is no such thing as balance of life and work for architecture students.

Haha…been not catching up to new movies for long period of time already.

For other courses, I must say ‘yes’. All they have to do is read some books, write some reports, do some lab testing or maths calculation, and sit for examinations. For architecture students, we didn’t do much on those things, but we have much more of other things to do (do sketches, do research and analysis, build 3D and physical models, produce and edit drawings, treat presentation panels graphically, etc). And these tasks are so time consuming. Allow me to complain of my workload and get jealous of my housemates who always loudly said that they have many assignments to complete and then went to pool and poker, go out to mall and movies, watch live matches, organize parties, etc. How can they have so many time for all those things? To be honest with you, I have only switched on the television in my student accommodation for only once in my almost two years of staying here. You will really feel how busy I am. I have just finished my interim presentation for my thesis project today. Things are going fine and I do hope that I do well at the crucial final submission and presentation next month.

Well, let’s not complaining anymore and I shall keep a very positive mindset in completing the remaining tasks in these two months. Once they are done, I’m really off for celebrations! By the time I am free of everything and is more than ready to join gatherings, my housemates would be busy preparing for examinations. Hmm…opps, no opportunity for bonding with housemates. I still have not buy the flight ticket back home but I guess it will be around end of November. I will leave some time for me to relax and enjoy in Perth before heading back to Kuala Lumpur. Then, it will allow me to remember the time in Perth as not only being stressful all the time, but also is truly enjoyable too. I love this city; small, peaceful, close to nature and nice weather!

By the way, tomorrow is the Mid-Autumn Festival! It is an important celebration particularly for the Chinese on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. It is celebrated on this day every year during full moon when the moon is big and round. I am in Australia now but I still get the chance to eat some mooncakes. Asian grocery shops do sell them but at a very high price. I still bought them (two boxes) as I really love to eat mooncakes (the original one; lotus seed paste with egg yolk). And too bad, I can only eat them once in a year. It costs AUS$ 50 per box (a box contains 4 mooncakes). I can buy three boxes of the same price in Malaysia. On the other hand, the kids in this generation are no longer having the fun like we do as children back years ago who like to light the candles and lanterns, play firecrackers and burn some little things in the process with siblings, friends or neighbours. What a great time back then! Now, kids just love iPad more than anything else. Anyway, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Today marks the 9th anniversary of my blog!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2017 by vincentloy

My blog is celebrating its 9th birthday today! It is now 9 years old. Wonderful!

28th September 2008 was the day I first created my blog here under WordPress platform and I wrote my first ever post in a very informal and brief delivery. Now, I have over 1900 posts containing multiple informative articles, critical news and analysis, content reviews, or just a personal diary of what I have been going through from time to time. At first, I didn’t expect that my passion in blogging would come to this far, and not to mention that I have produced over 1900 posts to date. I have to be very excited and proud of myself for that!

Actually, in these few months, I do have a lot more in my mind to write in my blog here. However, I don’t have the time for it as I’m currently being overwhelmed with my thesis work. I promised that I will get back to my blog here actively right after I finish my thesis. And that would be end of this November. Two more months to go and I’m free to return to my hobbies (blogging included).

One more year to go and my blog will be reaching the one decade anniversary’s milestone. And for now, Happy 9th birthday to my blog again and wishing for me and my blog to have another awesome 9 years ahead!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Back to update my blog quickly. It’s almost end of September!

Posted in Interesting Encounters on September 23, 2017 by vincentloy

Hey, I’m back to update the blog after some time. I have been stressed by my thesis work lately and so I didn’t have the mood to concentrate on something else in this recent weeks. I have been doing a decent amount of work every week and shown in to the supervisor, and still, there is more work to be done. There are now less than 2 weeks to the interim presentation and 6 more weeks to the most crucial final submission and presentation. This is the most significant part of my study and hence I could not be updating my blog as frequently as I did in the past. 24 hours a day is already not enough for me (applies to all architecture students too).

If someone wish to study architecture, I would not recommend unless he or she really has a very high passion on it. It will takes up a lot of effort (variety of tasks), a lot of money (very costly fees and expenses for needed materials), a lot of time (expect many sleepless nights to work on the assignments), etc. It will also sacrifice your leisure time for hobby or entertainment and it will sacrifice your social life. My housemates have been asking me to join them for some outings, games or events, but I rejected most of them since I seriously do not have the time for it although I do need some relaxation. But architecture doesn’t allow me to do that. Now, my housemates no longer invites me for stuff and I’m left alone in the dark. I’m really getting very jealous of them and the courses they are taking because they are so free all the time. I’m getting over it and I hope that architecture will really rewards me a lot in the future, looking from all the sacrifices and effort I have placed in it.

Well, I would still allocate a short period of time daily for a bit of entertainment to get the pressure out of me. If you knew me well, you would know what action that is. It’s by going online (I love to watch YouTube videos recently and I shall eliminate that habit soon as my thesis deadlines is nearing) and watching movies (I didn’t watch many new films this year) and series. Yup, I’m still on Hong Kong series. After ‘The Unholy Alliance’ ended, I started watching ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’. Now, I’m done with its first 10 episodes. It looks not bad so far but I felt that it couldn’t live up to its successful predecessor (2014’s Line Walker). I will write more about it (and review) after I finished the whole drama somewhere in October. It is one of the six (or seven) anniversary dramas this year for TVB 50th birthday celebration. I do look forward to some of the other upcoming exciting anniversary dramas such as the ‘Heart of Greed 3’ (named ‘Heart and Greed’ now), and ‘Beyond The Realm Of Conscience 2’ (named ‘Deep In The Realm Of Conscience’ now).

Back in Malaysia, my dad recently told me that he got some tickets for the closing ceremony of the ASEAN Para Games 2017. The games is the multi-sport event for the disabled athletes in South East Asia region. It is organized after the end of SEA Games last month. The closing ceremony will be held tonight in Bukit Jalil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is doing quite well in the medal tally although not topping it this time. We still made good result by becoming the second country with highest medal counts. I told my dad not to have high expectation on the closing ceremony as it will features not much of exciting performances but rather boring singing by some Malay artists (that is certainly not diversity!). Well, my dad will be attending mostly because he wants to bring his two grandsons (my two little nephews) to watch big event like this and the fireworks, and that the tickets they got are free. It would be nice if he obtained free tickets for the SEA Games opening ceremony last month. The opening ceremony for that is not bad and worth watching. Even if he got them, I couldn’t attend it as I’m now in Australia…for my thesis (again)!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Review for TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Hmm…I was disappointed. That’s my feeling right after watching the final episode of ‘The Unholy Alliance’ (同盟) just now. It is an action crime-thriller television drama of 28 episodes produced by TVB that revolves on a modern Hong Kong crime family, led by the matriarch Ling Hung. She reunites with his son, Ko Tzi Kit who is sent to Taiwan to avoid any danger linked to the business empire her family is owning. That leads to many dangerous events and Ling Hung’s desire to leave the crime world. This drama is a follow-up production after the successful ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’ drama last year and brings back most of the cast and production crew members.

Why am I disappointed as mentioned earlier? The series started with a ‘bang’! Things are so intense and heart-stopping in every episodes. Yes, every episodes. There are suspenseful and chilling scenes in every episode. The story is fast-paced, the action sequences are awesome, the cast is doing great job (will talk more about it later), and every ending part of each episode had me yearning for more every day. This is a sign of an exciting series.

But then, as its last few episodes near, I sense downfall. The story just went downhill after Elena Kong is revealed to be the ultimate villain. I’m not saying her character is bad but every plots that are surfacing after her character is shown in the drama are terrible. Elena Kong is actually nailing this cool villain role and its definitely not her fault. It’s the storyline after her character appears that is so poorly written and messy. Those very awesome tricks in earlier episodes pulled of by Ling Hung (Nina Paw) are what made this drama intense. However, over usage of them in the last few episodes and with each covering very short span of the drama delivers no intensity. If you watched the drama, you will know what I mean. Short-lived plot twists….

Before the release of the final episode, everyone is guessing that Anthony (portrayed by Jazz Lam) is the ultimate big boss behind Kam Tien (Elena Kong). Even I am guessing the same too ever since the scene when he whispered something very evil to his brother, Ricky (Pierre Ngo) at the airport in earlier episode. There may be something evil behind this quiet kid. Yes, he is doing something wicked in the end but his character is immediately wiped out as he is not the main focus (the ultimate big boss). That role is revealed to be a group of four unknown wealthy men. This definitely puts me off. The last few episodes are messing the whole series up. It is this TVB’s recent pattern when they usually couldn’t finish a good series nicely.

How about the cast? Nina Paw did a good job taking on the role of Ling Hung. This is the first time I’m seeing her on television drama as she only works in film industry and has been crowned Film Queen before (won Best Actress in Hong Kong Film Awards). A great veteran actress. However, I find that her way of presenting her dialogue has been very rigid and being too similar (voice control and facial expression). The other two leads, Ruco Chan and Nancy Wu won both best actor and actress last year for their wonderful performances in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’. Can their winning continues to this year with their role in this sister production? Definitely no. They have no challenging roles here and their characters are too ordinary. Ruco’s sudden transition from a very naive innocent guy to an immoral and manipulative man (not considered evil but still cunning) in the last few episodes (you will notice even his clothing style changes) is too unbelievable. Many people are praising Mr Yik (portrayed by Jimmy Au) but I personally felt he is just fine. A tough guy with cool stunts delivered….nothing more. On the other hand, I have to say Joel Chan and Elaine Yiu did well. I’m supporting them for the best supporting actor and actress awards end of this year for their roles here. They are doing great. Joel is a very talented actor and his character is very likable (I thought his character would turn evil in the end, but he is a nice guy all the way to the end). Elaine nailed her role too which is very demanding as it requires a lot of emotional scenes as her character is stuck between her family (who are plotting to kill Ling Hung) and Ling Hung’s family.

So…the series is very impressive on its first three quarters. It then goes downhill to a poor, rushed and unnatural script and disappointing conclusion. It would be much better if the production team placed more effort and thinking into the script for the plot’s ending and extends the drama to a little over 30 episodes. The drama should be fine (or even much better) with few more episodes. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Unholy Alliance’ a total of 7.8. If it does well on its ending part, I could have easily given this drama over 8. By the way, there are too much sexual innuendos going on between Ruco and Nancy. I knew this pairing is very much hyped now, but in real life, they are just friends. The producers made a bad decision to put in a lot of awkward sexual-related scenes for them in this drama. It felt distasteful and very unnecessary.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

16th anniversary of 911 and new iPhone X release!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Two days ago, 11th September 2017 marks the 16th anniversary of the tragic 911 terrorist attacks in the United States. A news that had the world stunned and in shock. The image of the World Trade Center twin towers collapsing after being hit by passenger planes still haunts the minds of millions of people especially the Americans. 16 years have passed, and all shall move on. There is a small tribute ceremony held to mark this particular anniversary on the Ground Zero site, now redeveloped into a Memorial Park with the finished new 1 WTC tower. Some have commented to only organize such memorial ceremony once in every five years, rather than once a year as a sign for people to move on from this sorrow memory.

 

I disagree in my personal opinion. You can have 364 days a year to ‘move on’ but why not just take a single day in a year to look back to the past and remember this tragedy and the lives lost from it. It’s not a big request. A simple tribute ceremony as a gesture of respect once a year is still reasonable. At the end of the day, we do not wish to see any more terrorist attacks happening in this world. Attacks of such proportion in September 2001 on the US is terribly wrong. Every time I re-watch the clips of the news coverage or videos taken by the public during the twin towers’ attack and collapse, I’m deeply saddened. These terrorists are inhuman for doing such nasty things.

And, the day after (yesterday) is also a big day in US. Apple has just announced its latest release of the new iPhone X (and iPhone 8 and 8Plus, Apple Watch Series 3) yesterday to the public in a grand product launch event. It is also the first grand event that is held on the Apple’s new campus that is shaped like a ring (or a huge alien ship) that reportedly costs US$ 5 billion dollar to construct. What an expensive building. I contributed some for it too since I am an iPhone user. I’m a bit excited for its new iPhone X (X means 10 in romans to mark the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone release back in 2007). It has glass on the phone’s back for wireless charging ability, facial-recognition feature to unlock phone, absence of home button, screen filling up the whole front of the phone, latest operating software (IOS 11), better camera technology, etc. All these new features may have been done by the other smartphone brands earlier but hey, now it’s Apple’s turn. Due to its branding, hence all of its products are super expensive.

But I’m still attracted to it somehow. Will I buy? No. My previous iPhone 5 died last year. I can no longer wait for this new phone and so I bought the iPhone 7 in October last year. Now, even my iPhone 7 is considered out-dated even it is just one-year old. If my previous iPhone 5 can survive for another year (last until now), then I will certainly go for this new iPhone X. But it costs a whopping US$ 999 at least. Crazy…On the other hand, nobody really wants to talk much about the other products; iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which is just a slight upgrade from iPhone 7. As for the new Apple Watch Series 3, its new features are the ability to make and receive calls and surf internet. A very small gadget but with multiple advanced functions. Will I buy it? No. I don’t think I need it. Fancy and cool stuff but not necessary. I’m fine with just the smartphone. And on top of that, it’s very costly!

There are more and more great smartphones out there by other brands. Hence, I think Apple do really need to further step up their game in their future products. This new iPhone X may looks awesome but still there is nothing really ‘breakthrough’ or very ‘wow’ from it.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)