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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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First time to the Premium Outlet in Genting Highlands.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2017 by vincentloy

The Genting Highlands Premium Outlet has opened its door for a month and yesterday is the first time I paid a visit to the outlet. With only about a month staying in Malaysia before flying back to Australia, I pick last weekend as the time for me to go up to Genting for at least once. I treat it as a short getaway to catch the colder air on the resort up on the hills.

The last time I went to Genting was in the past January. That was just 6 months ago. When I went up this time, I’m lost in direction. The whole First World Plaza is now closed and is replaced with the new Sky Avenue Mall. The mall is partially open when I visit in the last January. Some areas in the mall now are still empty and unfinished. The former casino in the First World Hotel’s building has also moved to a much more grand setting in the Sky Avenue Mall. It is now re-branded as ‘Sky Casino’.

That is the place where I lost RM500 on the roulette game on last Saturday’s evening. That was after a not-so-good meal in Madam Kwan’s Restaurant. The food served there are too sweet (the chef love to pour a lot of sugar into the dishes), the quantity are small and the price are unreasonable. Me and my parents moved to the other casino in the Genting Hotel on midnight to try our luck but we lost again. Another RM300 gone from my wallet. Hmm…I will take it as a charity donation to Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay to further develop the resort. View from the hotel room below:

So, we ended up not going into the casino anymore on Sunday on fear of losing more money. We instead had an awesome lunch at Din Tai Fung Restaurant. The food is delicious, the service is excellent, the price is reasonable, and the quality of every aspects are magnificent. Everything is great. Highly recommended place to have a nice meal. After the lunch, we took the new Awana Skyway (RM8 for a person) cable car ride down to the Premium Outlet as mentioned earlier. From there, we get to see some amazing views of the surrounding (the resort, the Chin Swee Temple, Awana Resorts, Gohtong Jaya, the Premium Outlet, and the hills).

From the ride, we also noticed that the construction of the 20th Century Fox World Outdoor Theme Park is super slow. There are still a lot to be done and I think it is highly likely that the opening for the theme park will be delayed again to possibly end of 2018.  Okay…back to the premium outlet. It is the second outlet of its kind in Malaysia (first one is in Johor). It is just an outdoor mall with famous branded stores selling slightly cheaper stuff. There are a lot of people there because it is still new. I won’t go there often if I have been there once.

On our way back home, we stopped by at the Chin Swee Temple for a short visit. The last time I visited the temple was way back many years ago when I was still a teenager. There are many new stuff (new plaza with Genting founder Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong’s statue, new sculptures depicting Chinese legends or beliefs, new vegetarian restaurant and observation tower building, etc) or things to visit and discover in the temple complex now. It also manages to attract a lot of foreign tourists. I’m tired during the visit and so I didn’t climb the pagoda tower. I always climb the tower every time I visit the temple in the past. Not this time.

That’s the end of our short trip up at Genting. Very ‘costly’ (due to gambling…haha) but rewarding in other sense that I got to visit new places this time. In the past, it is always the same for every corners in this mountain resort that has been here for like 50 years. It’s good news that the resort is now evolving to stay relevant and to continuously attract more visitors.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post.)

Top 10 Landmarks in the World on 2017 by TripAdvisor

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2017 by vincentloy

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel website company that provides reviews of travel-related content and also includes interactive travel forums. The website has been here since year 2000 and has claimed to have more than 315 million members and over 500 million reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other travel-related businesses. Recently, the website released a ranking of the top 10 landmarks in the world on 2017 as reviewed by its online members. Besides than posting the 10 landmarks below, I will also delighted to share to you which one I have personally visited too.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. *

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy. *

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. *

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, Russia.

Great Wall at Mutianyu, Beijing, China. *

Machu Picchu, Peru.

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain.

Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy. *

An asterisk at the end of the landmarks’ names indicate that I have personally visited the place. Out of the 10, I have visited 5 of them. Not bad. I enjoy travelling (who doesn’t?) and my family has this habit of travelling oversea at least once in a year and it usually takes place during our lengthy Chinese New Year break annually. We just went to Hanoi, Vietnam early this year (awesome to see the beauty of Halong Bay as the main attraction of Hanoi) and we will go to Bangkok, Thailand next month during the Hari Raya holiday. That’s the time when I’m already back to Malaysia for my mid-year break.

Out of the 5 places I have visited and mentioned above, the ones that fascinated me the most are Angkor Wat, St. Peter’s Basilica and Taj Mahal. I noticed most of the 10 listed landmarks are religious buildings. I think people are more friendly towards religion-sensitive sites when putting their reviews. Whatever they are, they are all impressive man-made structures. Of the remaining 5 that I have not visited, I would love to visit Machu Picchu and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I’m also surprised that no landmarks in North America made it into this Top 10 list. On the other hand, if there is a chance that one of Malaysian landmarks get to contest in this top rankings, I think it must be our iconic Petronas Twin Towers which now still stand tall as the world’s tallest twin buildings.

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

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)

New Year 2017 Fireworks!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by vincentloy

Didn’t get to watch any new year fireworks live yesterday in KL since I’m at home with family on 12am last night. Well, I do not have the urge to watch the fireworks here in Malaysia eventhough I enjoy doing so because the displays here are simply too plain and boring every year.

So, I have to look up on new year fireworks display from other major cities across the world that were much more exciting to watch! YouTube is the best place for me to do so today after all cities across the globe has already celebrated the occasion from one time zone to another.

The best fireworks display goes to Sydney, Australia as usual. It is one of the largest new year’s fireworks display and its 12-minutes show was really overwhelming and beautiful. View of the massive fireworks shooting up from the Sydney Harbour and the iconic Harbour Bridge impressed me every year.

Here below are the other new year 2017 fireworks display in other cities that look great too:

London, UK – from the London Eye ferris wheel. Amazing and is always the second best.

Hong Kong, China – I like the idea of fireworks shooting from some buildings in the city but that only happened in the 10-seconds countdown to 2017 and not in the entire show which would make it much better.

Dubai, UAE – from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa and its surrounding. I’m impressed by the LED projection screen all over the facade of Burj Khalifa during the fireworks show.

Taipei, Taiwan – from Taipei 101, former world’s tallest building. Taipei 101 is the only stand-alone tall building in the city and so shooting fireworks from the tower itself in all angles is possible. And that is what makes their fireworks show every year spectacular. The inclusion of dramatic play of light of the building during the show is also great.

These fireworks shows above are way much better than our pyrotechnic show in KLCC. We couldn’t deliver intense and interesting display every year. It’s always the same one spot and same one style. It would be much better if our city presents a unified show by shooting fireworks from some major buildings in the city with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower as the main highlights.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – from the KLCC Park with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers as the backdrop.

That’s it. Happy New Year 2017 to everyone once again! Have a great year ahead!

(All videos in this post are from YouTube)

Contradicting early predictions, Donald Trump won the US Election 2016 to become the next President

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2016 by vincentloy

I kept refreshing news website today to check on the updated results of the election for the United States presidency as live updates keep rolling in. Eventhough the election is supposed to be none of my business since I’m not an American, but we have to certainly admit the impact this election may have to the world’s economy and politics from some major political decisions in future.

The two candidates running for the top post are Hillary Clinton of Democratic Party and Donald Trump of Republican Party. The current President, Barack Obama is of course supporting Clinton since they are in the same party. Before the elections, there were many early polls and predictions going on and most of them were expecting Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, to win this election. Then, as the final days before the election arrive, people are predicting a much tighter race as Trump zooms ahead in popularity.

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And then, election came and the result is now made known. Donald Trump won the election and will become the 45th President of the United States of America from January 2017 onward. He had won over 270 seats required while Clinton has nothing to do besides than accepting this shocking defeat. She could not make history by becoming the first female president of the country unfortunately.

I don’t really like both of them as the candidates for this top post. I don’t think both are capable for this job. Electing either one of them is considered a joke for me. Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman who suddenly ventured into politics and made a lot of harsh and racist remarks. Hillary Clinton, a former president’s wife who is physically weak and couldn’t propose something really good for the country. But if you let me to vote, I’ll pick Clinton.

But right now in reality, Donald Trump won. He better think before he act from now on because he now has a real huge responsibility as his actions will not only impact his country but also may affect the whole world. He immediately promised he will go a great job (we will see) after election result confirmed that he will be heading successfully to the White House.

(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).

台北101, 台灣台北 (Taipei 101 and skyline, Taipei, Taiwan)

< 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)