5 Fast Facts of the Eiffel Tower not many people know.


Today marks the 126th anniversary of the official opening of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The tower is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world. Nobody in this planet would not know of its existence, popularity and glamour. And I’m very glad that I have visited the tower once, back in 2013. I was in awe and immediately took pictures of the tower in whatever spots I can find during that trip. The tower is beautiful in any angles. A magnificent addition to the beautiful city of Paris.

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It has been 126 years since Eiffel Tower first opened to the public for sightseeing, and the Google Doodle (pictured above) today is designed in conjunction with the anniversary. Many of you knew about the tower, but do you actually know the history behind this structure which was once the tallest in the world? This tower is meant to be only a temporary structure; to be demolished after a period of time. But fortunately, it didn’t. And we are all glad that the tower still stands amazingly today. Here, I’m about to share with you five fast facts regarding the Eiffel Tower (original source: http://heavy.com/news/2015/03/when-did-the-eiffel-tower-open-to-the-public-facts-date-photos-google-doodle/)

1. Elevators weren’t ready for the tower’s opening celebration.

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The tower, which is 324 meters (984 feet) tall, was designed by French entrepreneur Gustave Eiffel (pictured above) and engineers Maurice Koechlin and Stephen Sauvestre. According to History.com, the tower’s elevators were not ready when the Eiffel Tower opened to the public March 31, 1889. The Eiffel Tower’s website says Eiffel climbed the 1,710 steps of the tower to plant the French flag at the top. He was joined on the climb by members of the city council of Paris and reporters. A 21-cannon salute marked the occasion. According to the tower’s website, Eiffel inscribed in a woman’s fan “the French flag is the only one with a 300 meter pole.”

A celebration with council members, other dignitaries and about 200 workers who helped build the tower was held at its base. The elevators were a significant technological challenge for the tower’s engineers and they were considered a great achievement, according to the tower’s website. Hydraulic lifts were used to bring guests up and down the tower. Visitors to the tower began using elevators by the end of May 1889 and continue to do so today, in newer, more modern lift systems.

2. The idea for the tower was born out of a competition.

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The tower was commissioned as part of a competition by the Journal Officiel to “study the possibility of erecting an iron tower on the Champs-de-Mars,” according to the tower’s website. The proposal by Eiffel, Koechlin and Sauvestre was selected out of 107 entries. Construction began in January 1887 and took five months for the foundation to be built. About 100 workers in a workshop and 132 on site used 5,300 drawings from engineers to build the tower, which has more than 18,000 parts. The tower was completed in two years and opened to the public in 1889.

3. The tower was a controversial project.

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According to History.com, the idea of the tower was met by many critics, who either saw it as structurally unsound, or as an eyesore in the middle of the city. The tower’s website says artists from around Paris sent a letter to a newspaper protesting the tower’s construction before it opened to the public. They wrote:

We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects, passionate lovers of the beauty, until now intact, of Paris, hereby protest with all our might, with all our indignation, in the name of French taste gone unrecognized, in the name of French art and history under threat, against the construction, in the very heart of our capital,
of the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower, that public spite, often marked by good sense and a spirit of justice, has already baptized the Tower of Babel.

Without becoming hotheaded or chauvinistic, we have the right to loudly proclaim that Paris is a city without rival in the world. On its streets, its widened boulevards, the length of its admirable embankments, along its magnificent walks there will suddenly appear the most noble monuments ever fashioned by human genius. The soul of France, creator of masterpieces, shines from this majestic flowering of stones. Italy, Germany, Flanders, so justly proud of their artistic heritage, possess nothing comparable to ours, and in every corner of the universe Paris calls forth curiosity and admiration. Are we to let all that be debased?

Eiffel fought off the protesters. He responded in a letter of his own:

I will tell you all that I think, and all that I hope. For my part, I believe that the Tower will have its own beauty. Do people think that because we are engineers, beauty plays no part in what we build, that if we aim for the solid and lasting, that we don’t at the same time do our utmost to achieve elegance? Are actual conditions of strength not always compatible with the hidden conditions of harmony? The first principle of architectural aesthetics is that the essential lines of a monument should be determined by it fitting perfectly into a setting. But what condition did I need to address in the case of the tower? Resistance to wind. Well, I maintain that the curves of the four groin vaults of the monument, based on calculations, starting with the enormous and unused footing at the base, are going to taper up to the summit, will give a great impression of strength and beauty, because they will convey to the eyes the boldness of the conception in its totality.

As the tower’s website says, “time alone always proves the final judge.”

4. The tower was the centerpiece of the Paris World’s Fair in May 1889.

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The tower was commissioned to coincide with the opening of the Paris World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle), a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The exposition opened in May, with the Eiffel Tower serving as the entrance to the fairgrounds. The elevators were completed by the end of the May, but more than 30,000 visitors took the trek up 1,710 steps in the days after the tower officially opened to the public. Millions of people visited Paris during the World’s Fair.

5. The tower was going to be destroyed after 20 years, but was saved by science.

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According to History.com, the 20-year lease on the land by the exposition expired in 1909, but the tower was saved because of its usefulness as an antenna for radio transmission. Eiffel encouraged scientific experiments using the tower, and that spared it from destruction.

The tower, which was once the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building opened in 1930, welcomes more than 7 million tourists each year, with 75 percent coming from foreign countries, according to its website. Two levels of the tower now include restaurants. In addition to being one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, the Eiffel Tower remains important to the world of science and technology. Radio and television stations still use the tower to broadcast their signals. Also, two new wind turbines were recently installed in the Eiffel Tower, 400 feet off the ground, according to The Verge. The turbines provide enough electricity to power the tower’s first floor commercial areas and serve as a symbol for local efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

(Images and information in this post are from this original source: http://heavy.com/news/2015/03/when-did-the-eiffel-tower-open-to-the-public-facts-date-photos-google-doodle/)

 

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10 Interesting Facts About Kingdom Tower, The Soon-to-be Tallest Building In The World


When I’m free, I always love to check out articles on tall buildings. My huge interest on skyscrapers started way back when I was still studying in secondary school. Till now, that particular interest never fades eventhough I have never been involved in any highrise projects yet in my architectural profession. The highest I have ever involved in is only about 30+ storeys. Well, I’m still at a very junior stage in my career. Long way to go, and I hope in near future, I can design impressive skyscrapers in any parts of the world.

Before that imagination or dream taking me too far away (haha), let’s get back to the skyscraper I’m going to describe a bit or two today. I believed I have mentioned Kingdom Tower before in my past blog posts. This tower is something that no one can take their eyes off. It is a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When completed (expected in year 2020), Kingdom Tower would be the tallest building (man-made structure too) in the world with height of over 1 000 metres (Yes…that’s over 1 kilometre). The final exact height of the tower isn’t disclosed yet similarly to that when Burj Khalifa (the current tallest) is opened several years ago only to reveal that its height is 828 m. But Kingdom Tower is sure to go beyond 1-km mark. Originally, it is planned to be over 1.6 km tall and was nicknamed A Mile-High Tower. But its height has to be slightly reduced as the geology of the site isn’t suitable for that height. But still with over 1-km tall, the tower easily surpasses the others for the world’s tallest title. It’s designed by Adrian Smith, the person who designed Burj Khalifa and many other skyscrapers too across the world.

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Recently, I have read an article from Architizer.com about 10 interesting facts of Kingdom Tower, and I would like to share it here:

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1. The tower will be home to the world’s highest observatory. It will also have a separate, 98-foot-diameter outdoor balcony, which was originally intended to be a helipad.

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2. The building is so big they are unable to show it realistically in one rendering. Only elevations and birds-eye views can contain the entire project. Imagine those construction drawings…

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3. The foundation piles are about as large as a small room at 10 feet in diameter, and can reach up to 360 feet in length.

4. Its shape is functional. The narrowing silhouette has to fight wind as well as gravity, so the three-sided shard is designed to be aerodynamic. The taper also helps maximize usable/rentable area. It offsets the large core size on the lower floors by widening the base, while the shape also narrows the core overall, making it less space-consuming at the top.

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5. Its form is interesting for a tower of its size. The “three petal” plan allows separate extrusions to nudge against one another, while the profile is inspired by folded fronds of young desert plant growth. Gill-like indentations add another scale of visual intrigue.

6. It’s on a plinth! But joking aside, the building does meet the ground in a nuanced, thoughtful way. Transportation routes crisscross around it, and the plinth melds it with its urban surroundings.

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7. It has 59 elevators and 12 escalators, and five of these elevators will be double decker. The lifts will not reach the speeds of normal elevators, as the change in air pressure at those altitudes would cause nausea. Three sky lobbies will prevent any one elevator from having to go all the way to the top, eliminating the need for excessively huge cables.

8. It has high-tech features. A high-performance exterior wall system, including low-conductivity glass, will minimize energy consumption by reducing thermal loads.

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9. There are super-cool patios all along its three sides. Each side features a series of shaded notches where outdoor terraces offer extreme views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.

10. The massive structure will contain 80,000 tons of steel. Parts of the core will contain concrete that is several meters thick.

Cool, isn’t it? It’s still a long way to go before the tower is completely built (its construction now is still at base level), but the anticipation to see it is already rising day by day, just like how the tower will steadily rise up soon to its final height of over 1-km mark. That’s a crazy height. Burj Khalifa’s 828 metres is already breathtaking. Over 1 km! Speechless. Besides than its height, I’m actually also quite like its futuristic-looking design, mostly coming from its appealing tapering form that ends sharply to the top. Impressive!

(Information and images in this post are from the original source at this link: http://architizer.com/blog/kingdom-tower-10-facts/. You can read more of the article by going to that link.)

Countdown: 10 days left to 30th Olympiad, London 2012


It’s now only 10 days left to the 30th Summer Olympic Games, London 2012. I believe the city of London currently is well ready to greet the opening of the games and to welcome over a billion audiences around the world. Many athletes from participating nations have had arrived the amazing city of London for their competition soon in sports contested in the games, which is known as the world biggest sporting event.

The athletes are ready to do their best, and if not, they are going to wait for another four years. The organisers have completed the lengthy preparation works for the games, and now they must be very excited for the day to come when the games open. The performers must be very anxious as their day would arrives in ten days when they would be finally performing to the world on the opening ceremony of the games, after going through so many stages of rehearsals.

Along with this post, I would be providing some interesting facts regarding the Olympic Games.

(a) London becomes the city of highest number of hosting to the Olympic Games, having hosted it twice and is going to host it ten days later. (1908, 1948, 2012)

(b) Olympic Games had been cancelled three times before, in 1916 (Berlin), 1940 (Tokyo then Helsinki) and 1940 (London) due to World War I and II.

(c) In the  bidding for 2012 games in final round, London won over Paris by a small margin of 4 votes, taking a total of 54 votes.

(d) Athens, Greece is the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games as well as the host city for the inaugural modern Olympic Games back in 1896, 116 years ago.

(e) The iconic Olympic ring used as the symbol of the games consisting of 5 interlocking rings represents the five continents in the world involved on this global-scale games.

That’s all for today. I’m not giving extremely long facts over here. If you wish to know more about the history of background of the games, you can search yourself. There are many information provided out there which some that I have read is quite interesting. 10 days more and I would be staying up till the middle of the night to watch the opening ceremony of London 2012 live. Ahh…the day I am waiting for is much nearer from now on. Looking forward to the opening ceremony of the games.

20 Interesting Facts on Supertall Skyscrapers


1. “Skyscraper” originally was a nautical term referring to a small triangular sail set above the skysail on a sailing ship. It is first applied to buildings of steel frame construction in late 19th century where building highrises began.

2. Supertall skyscraper is defined as a functional and habitable building with height over 300 m, as the number of buildings exceeding such height is considered very low around the world. The change to the height from 300 m to a number much higher (like 400 m) to be placed in ‘supertall’ category would be suggested in near future when more and more supertall skyscrapers are being built.

3. Burj Khalifa which is the current world tallest completed building stands at a height of 828m, which is almost double of the minimum height for a specific building to be placed into top 10 world tallest buildings’ list. (current 10th place goes to Trump International Hotel and Tower at a height of 423m)

4. Despite Burj Khalifa is the tallest building, Shanghai World Financial Center still hold the record of world tallest observation deck at a height of over 470m at 100th floor. Burj Khalifa just took the title of world tallest OUTDOOR observation deck at a height of 452m at 124th floor.

5. Petronas Twin Towers at the height of 452m are still the current world tallest twin buildings despite losing the title of world’s tallest building over 8 years ago to Taipei 101.

6. Taipei 101 stands at a height of 508m, is the first building in the world to reach over 500m, half a kilometre mark, which also becomes the world tallest building from 2003 till 2009, being overtaken by Burj Khalifa.

7. Ten years ago, there are only 4 buildings in the world that measure over 400m. Currently, including the topped out buildings, there is a total of 12 buildings exceeding that height. So, probably ten years later, the number could easily be over 30.

8. Empire State Building took only 410 days (less than 14 months) to build, back over 80 years ago, in 1930s as the world tallest building at a height of 381m. That is the fastest record of construction for a building with such a height and in that particular time when technology and height are the major resistances.

9. Ten years ago, there are only 26 skyscrapers known to be supertall (exceeding 300m). Now, the number is even more than double; 54 with mainly new buildings coming up from Asia (China and Dubai particularly). ‘Rise of the East’.

10. There are only 4 cities in the world with more than 5 buildings exceeding 300m (supertall skyscrapers). The cities are Dubai, Hong Kong, Chicago and New York City.

11. Dubai, United Arab Emirates is currently the city with the most supertall skyscrapers with minimum of 10 buildings in the category. The record would be remained for a long time due to rapid construction activities in Dubai.

12. The first building in history that exceeds 300m (to be called as supertall skyscraper) is Chrysler Building which stands at a height of 319m and is built in 1930, over 80 years ago.

13. The current world tallest concrete building is Trump International Hotel and Tower at Chicago which stands at a height of 423m including its spire, defeating the previous title holder, CITIC Plaza at Guangzhou which is only at 391m.

14. There are currently less than 10 completed buildings around the world with over 100 floors. (To be exact, only 9).

15. The official list in measuring building’s height is based on the measurement to the highest architectural detail that includes spire but not antenna. This is why Petronas Twin Towers obtained the title of world tallest buildings from Sears Tower (now renamed Willis Tower) back in 1997. Willis Tower at that time is still the tallest to top of roof, tallest to top of antenna, and tallest to highest occupied floor.

16. Burj Khalifa does not only hold the record of world tallest building, but also several many others especially the world tallest man made structure.

17. The Western world had hold the record of world tallest building for over a century (since the introduction of steel frame construction that enable highrises), until it is being taken by Asia beginning 1998, and until 2009 by Middle East.

18. The Shard is currently an under-construction building which will be the tallest in European Union with a height of only 310m, the first one in the region to be called as ‘supertall skyscraper’.

19. There are a total of 7 all-hotel buildings which exceed 300m, of which the top 6 tallest are all in Dubai, with the last one at a height of 304m, located at Bangkok, Thailand called as Baiyoke Tower 2.

20. The first building in history that has over 100 floors is Empire State Building, which has a total of 102 floors, built in 1931.

(All the information above may and will vary/change as time progresses…but as of July 2011, the data is correct).

16th Asian Games, 16 interesting facts


1. Guangzhou 2010 would be the biggest Asian Games ever held in history with 476 events in 42 sports, since new rules have been implemented in restricting Asian Games beginning 2014 in Incheon.

2. Guangzhou is the second city of China to have play host to Asian Games, first is Beijing in 1990, exactly two decades ago.

3. The total cost of organizing the games is ¥122.6 billion ($17 billion), with ¥109 billion spent on infrastructure, ¥6.3 billion on the venues and some ¥7.3 billion spent on Games’ operation ,even more costly than Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

4. This is the first time that the opening ceremony of Asian Games would be held not in a stadium, but on an island which is Haixinsha Island along the Pearl River, Guangzhou.

5.  This is the first time that the performances for the opening ceremony of Asian Games would be not only on the land but also on the sea (the Pearl River).

6. The beautiful city of Guangzhou will becomes the natural backdrop of the opening and closing ceremonies, with highlights on the iconic Guangzhou TV Tower (tallest telecommunication tower in the world with height of 610m), Guangzhou Opera House (engineering-breakthrough design by famous architect, Zaha Hadid), Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou International Finance Centre (tallest building in Guangzhou standing over 440m), etc.

7. The city and the area along the river will be dazzled with LED and other lighting display alongside with fountain, music and fireworks performances, making it the biggest in the world compared to Beijing 2008 Olympics and Shanghai 2010 World Expo to celebrate the games on the opening and closing ceremonies.

8. For better security, those local residents living within one kilometre from the venue of opening ceremony are ordered to leave their homes tomorrow’s afternoon, granted with stay in luxury hotel or given 45 US dollar, given three free movies to watch or being taken to nearby plaza to watch the ceremony live through giant screen set up at various places in Guangzhou.

9. The famous starlet, Zhang Ziyi will perform during the opening ceremony, alongside with some other famous Asian performers.

10. The opening ceremony will features around 6000 to 7000 performers, all chosen with similar height and with their hair cut similarly for a better and more staggering effects.

11. An interesting part of the opening ceremony will be the flotilla of 45 boats representing the 45 participating Asian nations, by famous replicas of landmarks, etc and ferrying the athletes.

12. The opening ceremony will be attended by China’s premier, Wen Jiabao, Pakistan’s President, Thai’s Prime Minister, Chief Secretary of Administration of Hong Kong.

13. This Asian Games, featuring 42 sports, have 14 more sports in competition than the world largest sporting event, the Summer Olympic Games.

14. Barbeque stalls are banned in 11 cities of China, particularly nearing Guangzhou to improve the air quality. Local residents are also ordered to use public transportation or car pooling to reduce the number of cars on road to reduce air and sound pollution.

15. 12 new competition venues were built and 58 existing venues are renovated and upgraded to international standard for top class sporting quality to be achieved in Asian Games 2010. This scale is large, similarly to Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

16. Instead of Asian Games Village built by previous hosts of Asian Games for the athletes and medias, Guangzhou built a giant Asian Games Town covering over 590 000 square metres, and a total of 49 apartment buildings which will be reused as a new living town for Guangzhou residents after the games is over.

———20 more hours to go before the opening ceremony of Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games!!!————

Shanghai World Expo 2010 ended with historical success!


Few days ago before the closing, Shanghai World Expo 2010 had broken the record of expo with highest number of visitors, exceeding over 70 million visitors (previous record by Osaka 1970 Expo), which is also the target set by the organizers.

              

(The official logo of the expo, to be remembered forever despite it is over)

Besides that, the Shanghai 2010 expo also had set a single-day record of having over 1.03 million visitors entering the expo on October 16, 2010. The expo had the largest number of countries participating, largest world’s fair site at 5.28 square kilometres, most expensive expo in history of world fairs. Finally, and of course, it is the most successful expo in history, first held in a developing country.

(The flags of participating nations for the expo, too much isn’t it?! Can you spot your country’s flag?)

Now, it has came to an end, 31st October 2010 was the last day of the great expo. The six-months long global event that covers uncountable aspects from social, cultural to infrastructures had to bring its curtain down. All the targets had been achieved, and only some important structures like the China Pavilion, and the Expo Center will remain on the site. Other pavilions will be dismantled. However, there are some unconfirmed news that some pavilions will be relocated to another region, while some will be maintained at the site.

(The expo axis, place where people gather and of course, take beautiful photographs)

The official number of visitors visited the expo is 73, 084, 400. See how many digits are there? Incredible. Malaysia Pavilion is not one of the pavilions in the list of hot favourites, but I think that our nation had its best achievement so far in number of visitors visitting the pavilion, probably around few millions. Too bad, Malaysia Pavilion did not win any awards, leaving the awarding ceremony empty-handed. Expected, because the design is very bad!

(Flashback: The grand opening ceremony six months ago…now the expo ended with simple closing)

Once this global event ended in October, another one will begin in November, this time a sporting event, second largest sporting event in the world (behind Summer Olympic), Asian Games to be held at Guangzhou, China from November 12. Notice the blog header for the month of November? Yeah…that’s it! Go Shanghai! Go Guangzhou! Go China! Go Malaysia! (Malaysia should follow such progressive pace for developed status by 2020!)

(Shanghai, one of the great cosmopolitan cities in the world after the expo 2010)

Taipei 101 plans for the largest new year fireworks in history


The current world tallest completed building, Taipei 101, will have fireworks display to celebrate new year again, which has become a tradition for the megastructure. This new year 2010, Taipei 101 plans for the largest, grandest and most spectacular new year fireworks in its history.

               

Taipei 101 is completed in 2004, and has its’ first opening and new year fireworks on new year 2005. Same goes to 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, which fireworks are seen better than the previous years with more styles, more colours and more creativity, eventhough still in duration of 188 seconds.

            

Little descriptions of the planned fireworks display to celebrate the new year 2010 at Taipei 101:

  • 22 000 number of fireworks, largest in history, increase of 6 600 over last year.
  • 1 700 number of fireworks will go off simultaneously, never attempted before, truly spectacular sight.
  • first time firing of fireworks at various angles of 180, 90, 45 and 30 degrees from the tower.
  • two fireworks layers to cover the diverse angles.
  • 3-inch barrel fireworks allows further range and a larger scale.
  • brand new moving fireworks, combination fireworks and new dazzling colours, utilized for fire wheel fireworks, drifting star fireworks and bouquet shower fireworks, challenging limit of low altitude combination fireworks.
  • First layer: Pili Flashing Fireworks.
  • Second layer: Parade Bouquet – flying fireworks, visual effects of moving, running and dancing.
  • New design: Bouquet Fireworks, ignited horizontally at 180 degree to create feeling that the building is blossoming in brilliant colours.
  • combination of candle lights and fire wheels will be used for the first time, form fiery network of flames, with the rotating fire wheel shuttling in between.
  • Taipei 101 will be given a fiery golden crown.
  • large bore fireworks installed on the upper and lower deck platform of observatory, so the visitors can experience the power of the fireworks.

     

Great after knowing all these facts on the upcoming fireworks show of Taipei 101, let’s wait and check out the fireworks on new year eve night. Expected to be great, awesome, amazing, fantastic and marvelous!