Design News

Whose One is the Longest? We’re Talking about Skyscrapers, of Course!

December 30, 2013
Taller skyscrapers may soon be in construction

Let’s keep talking about cool things that makes us go WOW: Skyscrapers, how awesome are they?!

Originally meant to address population growth problem, revolutionizing urban centers development , skyscrapers are now becoming a way for states to simply…show off, in light of the evergreen “whose one’s the l ongest”logic.

It all started in 1930, when the Chrysler skyscraper was born in New York. United States and the mother Russia (which responded a few years later with the Hotel Ukraine, Moscow) have just started a worldwide competition that doesn’t seem to be slowing, with new, incredibly tall buildings popping up every year, especially in China and the UAE. That’s incredibly cool stuff, no doubts, but the ultimate question is: how much of these colossal buildings is actual usable space?

Tallest skyscrapers

Tallest skyscrapers

The CTBUH: The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), who recently named the Best Tall Buildings for 2013, has published an article tackling the concept of Vanity Height, or “the distance between a skyscraper’s highest occupiable floor and its architectural top.” The results demonstrate that many super-skyscrapers have surprisingly uneven ratios between habitable and non-occupiable space.

Supertall and Megatall: The CTBUH Height Criteria defines a building as supertall if its height to the ‘architectural top’ is above 300m (984ft). To give some context, the Empire State Building is measured at 373m (1224ft), whereas buildings such as Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which is measured at 828m (2717ft), are leading the way into the Era of the Megatall. According to the CTBUH, as of July 2013, there are only 73 supertall and 2 megatall buildings in existence.

Layout of a skyscraped

Layout of a skyscraped

Dubai Rules: Dubai’s two tallest buildings both offer interesting statistics. The Burj Khalifa’s total vanity height is 244m which, on its own, would stand as Europe’s 11th tallest skyscraper. With a vanity height of nearly 124 meters within its architectural height of 321 meters, the Burj Al-Arab has the highest non-occupiable-to-occupiable height ratio among completed supertalls: 39% of its height is non-occupiable. The average vanity height in the UAE is 19%, making it the nation with “vainest” supertall buildings. In the USA, the Bank of America tower in New York has an occupied floor height of 235m, leaving 131m (or 36%) non-occupiable.

What about New York? According to the CTBUH statistics, now that the One World Trade Centre is complete, New York City is the home to three of the world’s top ten vanity heights.

Taller skyscrapers may soon be in construction

Taller skyscrapers may soon be in construction

Under Construction: Although we’re yet to see a building hit the 1000m mark, Emporis have compiled a list of the top ten tallest skyscrapers currently under construction. Three of the tallest in the collection are being built in China, whilst two others (including the Kingdom Tower which is set to hit the 1000m mark, and the Makkah Clock Royal Tower) are in Saudi Arabia.

Keep your heads up people! Upper! Upper! 🙂

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