Archive for tallest

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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Top 10 Tallest Buildings in the World (as of April 2017)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by vincentloy

The two cities that witness the birth of skyscrapers are Chicago and New York City in United States. That was over a hundred years ago after the introduction of steel framed construction and passenger elevator that enables buildings to be built much taller. Now in 2017, only one building in United States that is placed within the top 10 tallest buildings in the world currently. The other 9 are generally all located in Asia. Here below is the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world as of April 2017. The list only includes completed buildings and does not include television towers, observation towers, masts, antennas or buildings with very little percentage of habitable floors.

  1. Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

2. Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 128 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

4. Ping An Finance Center, 599 metres, 115 floors, Shenzhen, China (completed in 2017).

5. Lotte World Tower, 555 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (completed in 2017).

6. One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States (completed in 2014).

7. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

8. Taipei 101, 508 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

9. Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

10. International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 108 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

This list will change drastically from year to year due to rapid increase of construction of supertall skyscrapers in the world in recent decade. More and more new buildings are reaching further to the sky. Out of the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world, half of them are in China (this doesn’t even include Taipei 101 in Taiwan). 8 of them soar above 500 metres in height respectively too. Also noted is that every buildings in this top 10 tallest list has over 100 floors respectively. The tallest in the world, Burj Khalifa has been on the top of the list for over 7 years now. By 2020, it is expected to be defeated by Kingdom Tower, a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That tower is projected to soar above 1000 metres (1 km!) when completed in 2020.

The oldest supertall in this list is Taipei 101 which is only 13 years old by now as it is built in 2004. More and more new buildings are joining the list with two newcomers this year; Ping An Finance Center and Lotte World Tower at No.4 and No.5 placing respectively. Former world’s tallest buildings and still the current world’s tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers are kicked out of the top 10 list this year as they are now placed at No.11 (and 12) with height of 452 metres. Too bad…my home coutry’s famous twin towers are now out of the ranking. Anyway, in few years to come, Malaysia will have another new supertall; PNB 118 Tower that will certainly join this top 10 list with a height of over 600 metres.

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

World’s 10 Tallest Buildings in 2016.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2016 by vincentloy

It’s been quite some time since I last compiled a list of the world’s top ten tallest buildings. I think the last time I worked on that was about a year or two ago and I’m very sure that the data in that particular post would be inaccurate as of now due to the world’s high interest on building supertall skyscrapers in recent years. So, if you are looking for the latest and the most accurate list of world’s top 10 tallest buildings as of June 2016, this is the right place to be.

The list only includes buildings (structures that contain mostly habitable or functional floors) and excludes tv masts, telecommunication or observation towers, antennas, etc. This list also includes the buildings that are still under construction but have already topped out (reached final height).

< 1 > Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

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< 2 > Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 121 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

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< 3 > Makkah Clock Royal Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Makkah, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

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< 4 > Ping An International Finance Center, 599 metres, 116 floors, Shenzhen, China (topped out, to be completed in 2016).

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< 5 > Lotte World Tower, 556 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (topped out, to be completed in 2016).

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< 6 > One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States of America (completed in 2014).

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< 7 > CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 116 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

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< 8 > Taipei 101, 509 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

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< 9 > Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

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< 10 > International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 118 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

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Burj Khalifa remains as the world’s tallest building, holding on to the title for the 6th year. It is also still the world’s tallest man-made structure and is likely to remain at the top of the list for another few years before being taken over by Kingdom Tower (now under construction in Jeddah) in 2020. Half of the 10 buildings in this list above are in China, further displaying the country’s massive economic boom and interest on constructing tall buildings. Also discovered from the list above is that for the next newly completed building to be able to be ranked in the world’s 10 tallest, it has to be at least 500 metres high. 500 metres (above 100 floors as well) is now the minimum mark to get into top 10 tallest’s ranking. Back in 10 years, 400 metres is the mark. Now, an extra 100 for that.

My beloved Petronas Twin Towers are out of the list since they are only 452 metres tall. They are now placed at 11th (and 12th) tallest. Goldin Finance 117, a tower planned for completion this year and nears topping out in Tianjin, China is currently on-hold and is awaiting funding. Its completion date is now pushed to end of year 2017. The tower is expected to reach final height of 597 metres (117 floors) and will be the 5th tallest once topped out either by end of the year or early next year.

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

KL crossed a milestone by having 20 buildings in the city each exceeding 200 metres high.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2016 by vincentloy

Not many cities in this world could have over 20 buildings that are each at least 200 metres high respectively. To make it into that list, I can only think of some mega cities like New York, Hong Kong, Chicago, Shanghai, Dubai, Tokyo, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing. And by 2016, my home-city, Kuala Lumpur will become the 10th city in the world to join the list with exactly 20 buildings that are each over 200 metres high in the capital of Malaysia.

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Yes, till 2016, only 10 cities crossed over this milestone and I’m quite excited that KL is part of it. We also love to build tall here in Kuala Lumpur, a trend that is particularly popular in rising cities in China as well as in Dubai nowadays. Having a lot of tall buildings in the city helps to create more city landmarks as well as enhancing the overall skyline. This also provides an ideal solution to short amount of land for development especially in dense urban areas.

Here below is the list of the current top 20 tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that includes the architecturally topped-out buildings, but not including television or sightseeing towers. You can see the building in the 20th place hit the 200-metres mark precisely to help push the city to join the 10-city club as mentioned above.

1 & 2 – Petronas Twin Towers (452 metres, 88 floors each, built in 1998, former world’s tallest buildings and current world’s tallest twin buildings)

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3 – Telekom Tower (310 metres, 55 floors, built in 2001)

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4 – Ilham Baru Tower (274 metres, 60 floors, built in 2015)

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5 – Petronas Tower 3 (267 metres, 60 floors, built in 2012)

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6 – Maybank Tower (244 metres, 50 floors, built in 1988, former city’s tallest building)

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7 – Banyan Tree Signatures (240 metres, 55 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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8 – Vista Tower (238 metres, 60 floors, built in 1994)

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9 – Vortex Tower (235 metres, 58 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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10 – Felda Tower (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2012)

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11 – Naza Tower 1 (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2015)

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12 – Maxis Tower (212 metres, 49 floors, built in 1998)

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13 – AmBank Tower (210 metres, 50 floors, built in 1998)

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14 – St. Regis Hotel & Residences (205 metres, 48 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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15 – The Troika Tower 3 (204 metres, 50 floors, built in 2010, tallest city’s full residential building)

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16 & 17 – Berjaya Times Square Tower A & B (203 metres, 48 floors each, built in 2003)

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18 – K Residence (202 metres, 52 floors, built in 2008)

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19 – Lot G Office Towers (200 metres, 45 floors, built in 2013)

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20 – Le Nouvel Tower 1 (200 metres, 49 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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There are actually several high-rise buildings completed recently along KL Sentral region of which their height would be around 190 metres to 200 metres respectively. However, there isn’t a formal database to confirm on this. Some also speculated that the Le Nouvel Tower 1 (the 20th tallest) is actually 199 metres tall, and not 200 metres. Well, there is only a 1 metre difference..so let’s just get over it. In few more years, there would be several more much taller buildings to be constructed in the city, particularly the city’s next tallest building, the PNB 118 Tower that will go beyond 600-metres mark once built.

(Information above is correct as of April 2016. Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

More updated details for KL118 Tower.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2016 by vincentloy

Finally, after months and months of speculation and secrecy surrounding Malaysia’s plan for the next tallest building of the country, more details had been revealed recently from the officiating ceremony. What is the project that I’m talking about? It’s the KL118 development. Now, it is renamed to PNB118 since PNB is the name of the owner’s company for this project. Well, I prefer KL118 more as it has more international appeal than ‘PNB’. Nobody knows (not only foreigners but also locals) what does PNB stands for.

Also known as ‘Warisan Merdeka’ (Heritage Independence), this development is located on a site just adjacent to the historic Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara. It is also located nearby to some very old buildings like Victoria Institution, Methodist Boys School (my former secondary school), Chin Woo Stadium, and Petaling Street (Chinatown). The project has been receiving heavy criticism due to its location on low-lying area which is also full of historical buildings and that this new modern supertall would not fit into this site context. I agreed. This project also receiving strong objection as the money put into this can be more beneficial for other purposes as the city does not need another supertall yet.

The iconic feature of this development would be the construction of an 118-storey tower, now named PNB 118 Tower. The final height of this skyscraper is still not confirmed but it is now fixed to be between 600 metres to 650 metres. Some sources said 610 metres or 630 metres while some even said it would be 644 metres tall which would make it even taller than the Shanghai Tower, the current world’s second tallest building. No matter what the final height is, this PNB118 Tower would still easily be the country’s new tallest building as well as one of top five world’s tallest buildings once it is completed. And it is announced recently that it is expected to be completed in 2024. Years ago, it is planned for completion by 2020 to coincide with Wawasan 2020 (Vision 2020) when the country would become a developed nation by year 2020. However, the project faced delay and it’s getting back on track now. It is now officially under construction.

The tower is designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects, an architecture office based in Melbourne, Australia which is previously famous for designing Eureka Tower in Melbourne. The design is also not that well received as many people commented that it is too simple, too glassy and do not possess timeless elegance like what Petronas Twin Towers achieved. I agreed to these opinions too. However, after its official rendering and an animation clip of the tower are out recently, some changed their mind and started to like the design. I’m one of them, but I still think that the design needs further improvement especially on its treatment to the top where it meets the spire. The spire is also a bit too long and out of proportion in comparison to the building form and volume. I knew it is just there to increase a substantial height for the building just to have it to be placed higher in the list of world’s tallest buildings later on.

So, here below are some new (latest) renderings, plan view and models’ images of the PNB118 Tower and also an animation clip for it by RSP Architects, the local design consultant for this project.

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Looking forward to see this new skyscraper dominating the skyline of Kuala Lumpur as soon as possible. Hmm…I suddenly changed my mind and think that KL needs a new supertall now since Petronas Twin Towers have been here for almost two decades already. However, it is undeniable that the twin towers are still elegant and remain as icon of the country forever.

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

 

World’s Ten Tallest Cities (as of March 2016)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2016 by vincentloy

It has been a long time since I last posted something about skyscrapers, a topic I’m particularly interested in the field of architecture. Today, I have a desire to compile a list of the world’s ten tallest cities. This list is determined by adding the top ten tallest buildings (not including mast / tower) of each cities and then divide the figure by 10 to get the average height of the ten tallest buildings in that particular city analysed. The ten cities with the highest score will then get into this list.

Well, there are quite a number of similar ranking to check on which cities are ‘taller’ out there by different people with different methodology (like the list of Emporis or Ultrapolis Project). This ranking is hence subjective, but the cities mentioned  are usually within the top too when ranked anywhere else too in terms of ‘tallness’. Now, let’s take a look at my list:

1.Dubai

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  • Country: United Arab Emirates.
  • Score: 411.2.
  • Tallest: Burj Khalifa (828m), Also the tallest in the world.
  • 10th tallest: Rose Tower (333m).

2. Shanghai

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  • Country: China.
  • Score: 356.1.
  • Tallest: Shanghai Tower (632m).
  • 10th tallest: Bocom Financial Towers (265m).

3. Hong Kong

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  • Country: China.
  • Score: 342.6.
  • Tallest: International Commerce Centre (484m).
  • 10th tallest: The Cullinan I (270m).

4. New York City

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  • Country: United States of America.
  • Score: 338.1.
  • Tallest: One World Trade Center (541m).
  • 10th tallest: Citigroup Center (279m).

5. Chicago

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  • Country: United States of America.
  • Score: 324.7.
  • Tallest: Willis Tower (442m).
  • 10th tallest: Aqua Tower (262m).

6. Guangzhou

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  • Country: China.
  • Score: 320.5.
  • Tallest: Guangzhou International Finance Center (438m).
  • 10th tallest: Bank of Guangzhou Tower (268m).

7. Shenzhen

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  • Country: China.
  • Score: 310.7.
  • Tallest: KK 100 Tower (442m).
  • 10th tallest: East Pacific Center Tower B (261m).

8. Abu Dhabi

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  • Country: United Arab Emirates.
  • Score: 300.2.
  • Tallest: Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid (382m).
  • 10th tallest: Regent Emirates Pearl (255m).

9. Kuala Lumpur

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  • Country: Malaysia.
  • Score: 288.1.
  • Tallest: Petronas Tower 1 (452m), with Tower 2, they are the world’s tallest twin buildings.
  • 10th tallest: Maxis Tower (212m).

10. Moscow

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  • Country: Russia.
  • Score: 283.3.
  • Tallest: OKO Apartment Tower (352m).
  • 10th tallest: Zapad Tower (242m).

The data above is correct as of March 2016 and only covered buildings that are completed/built (topped out buildings or the ones still under construction are not included in the calculation).

China conquered the list by having 4 of their cities in this top 10 ranking. That’s nearly half of the list. This list cemented China’s position as a leading nation in building supertall skyscrapers in their multiple mega cities. Dubai, United Arab Emirates topped the list as expected as the city is home to many supertall skyscrapers including the current world’s tallest building as well as man-made structure overall, the mighty Burj Khalifa. It is the only city in the world with all ten of its tallest buildings over 300 metres height respectively. The country’s capital, Abu Dhabi also managed to join Dubai in this list. The other country with two cities in this list is United States; New York City and Chicago (both are the birthplaces of modern skyscrapers). My country, Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur also managed to join the list at 9th position, while Moscow ended the list at 10th place.

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

 

6 skyscrapers (beyond 400m high) that have architecturally topped-out and ready to climb to the ranking of the world’s tallest buildings.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2015 by vincentloy

Many buildings constructed nowadays are mostly very high due to the worldwide interest on building tall as the trend helps to maximize the limited land space available especially in dense and highly-populated cities. However, till now, there are still not many buildings that cross the 400-metres mark in height. Till now, there is only about 18 buildings across the world that managed to cross that milestone. However, by next year, we would see at least 6 additional skyscrapers which would accomplish that too and be part of the official ranking of the world’s tallest completed buildings.

This means that these 6 buildings which are still under construction now have had already topped-out architecturally. Topped out means that the building has reached its final height but are still not completed in construction yet. These are the 6 buildings:

Ping An Finance Center, 599 metres, 115 floors, Shenzhen, China.

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Goldin Finance 117, 596.5 metres, 128 floors, Tianjin, China.

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Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China.

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Wuhan Center Tower, 438 metres, 88 floors, Wuhan, China.

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Marina 101, 426.5 metres, 101 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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432 Park Avenue, 425.5 metres, 85 floors, New York City, United States of America.

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These extremely tall buildings are all nearing completion. Out of the 6 buildings mentioned above, the first four tallest are all in China. China is in full force now not only in their emerging global power in economy but also in constructing supertall buildings. Few years later, the country is definitely going to dominate the world’s tallest list (in fact, now, they already did). China is big and we observed many emerging cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Nanjing and Chongqing building skyscrapers aside from their already popular massive urban centres like Hong Kong and Shanghai.

(Images in this post are from forum webpages in skyscrapercity.com)