Sky City 1000 artistic renderingSky City 1000 is a concept for an artificial city rising 1000 meters above the ground and covering an area of 800 hectares (2000 acres). Incorporating functions for a medium-sized city (housing, retailing, education, recreation), this 21st century vertical community would be a synergistic fusion of transportation, communications and energy aimed at helping put an end to major congestion and lack of green space in the Tokyo, Japan ward area.

Sky City 1000 overall schematicThe plan consists of a building 1,000 meters (3,280.8 feet) tall and 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide at the base, and a total floor area of 8 km² (3.1 mi² or 1976.8 acres). The design, proposed in 1989 by Takenaka Corporation, provides for 35,000 full-time residents and 100,000 workers. It comprises 14 concave dish-shaped "Space Plateaus" stacked one upon the other. The building would include residences, offices, commercial facilities, schools, theaters and other modern amenities.

Sky City 1000 ground anchor schematicSky City 1000 fire schematicSince its announcement it has garnered much attention among the world's architectural establishment. Many hope that within a decade or so it will be fully realized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Japan's largest corporations. Apparently, the project is taken very seriously and Tokyo's only fire helicopter has been used in simulation tests to see what the danger would be if a fire were to break out in one of the buildings. Also, triple decker high speed elevators which would be used in the building and would contain up to 70 people are being designed in experimental labs outside Tokyo.

Four pictures of different models of the Sky City 1000Although this project has gained more serious attention than many of its alternatives, it can be considered similar to projects such as X-Seed 4000 and Sir Norman Foster's Millennium Tower and, in ultra-high density, mixed use concept, to theories like Paolo Soleri's Arcology and Le Corbusier's Radiant City.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

Photograph of the Shimizu TRY 2004 in the rising sunThe Shimizu TRY 2004 Mega-City Pyramid is a project proposed by the Shimizu Corporation of a massive pyramid over Tokyo Bay in Japan. The structure would be 12 times higher than the Great Pyramid at Giza, and would house 750,000 people. If built, it will be the largest man-made structure on Earth. The structure would be 2,004 m (6,575 ft) high and would answer Tokyo's increasing lack of space.

Diagrams and schematics of sections of the Shimizu TRY 2004Founded in 1804, Shimizu Corporation is a leading architectural, engineering and general contracting firm and is one of the 5 largest contracting firms in Japan with annual sales of $14 billion USD. The structure proposed by Shimizu is so large that it cannot be built with currently available materials, due to their weight. The design relies on the future availability of super-strong lightweight materials based on carbon nanotubes.

Scale model of the Shimizu TRY 2004 infrastructureThe pyramid's foundation would be formed by 36 piers made of special concrete. The perimeter of the foundation above ground would be 2,000 m (6,562 ft). The area of the foundation is 8 km². Infrastructure would consist of an area of approximately 25 km². The complete gross building area wold be about 88 km².

Because the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire cuts right through Japan, the external structure of the pyramid would be an open network of mega trusses, with supporting struts made from carbon nanotubes to allow the pyramid to stand against (or let through) high winds, and survive earthquakes and tsunamis.

The trusses would be coated with photo voltaic film to convert sunlight into electricity and help power the city.

Schematic drawing of the Shimizu TRY 2004 infrastructureScale model of an example of Binistar technologyLarge robots would assemble the truss structure, and air bladders would be used to elevate trusses above the first layer using a construction system proposed by Italian architect Dante Bini. This pneumatic process is partially based on the Binistar general technology. Spheroid nodes at the connections between trusses would provide structural support and serve as transfer points for travelers.

Transportation within the city would be provided by accelerating walkways, inclined elevators, and a personal rapid transit system where individual driver-less pods would travel within the trusses.

Pencil drawing of a section of the Shimizu TRY 2004Housing and office space would be provided by 30-story high skyscrapers suspended from above and below, and attached to the pyramid's supporting structure with nanotube cables.

In terms of layers:

  • Layers 1 to 4: residential, offices, etc.
  • Layers 5 to 8: research, leisure, etc.

The height of each layer is 250.5 m (for 8 layers, the pyramid would be 2,004 m tall).

The pyramid structure would be composed of 55 smaller pyramids stacked five high. Each of these smaller pyramids would be about the size of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas.

Painting of a completed Shimizu TRY 2004 with a rainbow insideThe building would be zoned into residential, commercial and leisure areas. 50 km² will be given over to some 240,000 housing units, enough for 750,000 people. Each building would have its own energy resources (sun and wind). 24 km² will be assigned to offices and commercial facilities intended to employ 800,000 people. The remaining 14 km² would be used for research and leisure purposes.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

A recent article reported that a new Legoland theme park is slated to open in Iskandar, Malaysia by 2013. Another is rumored to be built in Dubai as early as 2011.

Legoland logo
This news comes as a bit of a surprise. Legoland Deutschland (in Germany), which opened in 2002, was the most recent Legoland park built. Since that time, all 4 Legoland parks world-wide have struggled financially.

The other 3 existing parks are in Windsor (England), Carlsbad (California), and Billund (Denmark).

Painting of the Russia TowerThe Russia Tower(Башня Россия) is a supertall skyscraper currently under construction in the Moscow International Business Center of Moscow, Russia. The architect is Foster & Partners . Construction began in September 18, 2007, and is planned to be completed in 2012. Upon reaching its final height of 612.2 m (2,009 ft), it will be the tallest building in Europe and the second tallest in the world, after the Burj Dubai which is scheduled to open in 2009 at an estimated height of 818 m (2,684 ft).

Drawing of the Russia TowerOriginally, The Russia Tower was proposed for plots 2 and 3 of the Moscow International Business Center in 1994 as the world's tallest building; a 648 m (2,126 ft), 125-story tower. It was designed by Chicago-based architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. It was soon moved to plot 14. In the middle of 2003 an updated 648 m (2,126 ft), 134-story, design had been moved to plots 17 and 18. In January 2004, the Moscow Development Company (STT Group) was appointed as the main investor and developer of the $2-billion project.

3D rendering of the Russia TowerThe total area of the structure will cover 520,000 m² (5,597,233.4 ft²), of which 38% (200,000 m² (2,152,782.1 ft²)) will be located underground. The top floor will be 500 m (1,640 ft) above the ground. The tower will contain 118 floors, 101 elevators, and underground parking to accommodate 3,680 automobiles. Commercial retail shops will be located at the base of the building. The maximum capacity of the building is projected to be around 30,000.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

The Kostabi World Trade Center is an envisioned building in New York City, United States. If built, it will have 160 floors and will be 2,000 feet (609 m) high. It was one of the many ideas that was presented for the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 terrorist attacks destroyed the original World Trade Center Twin Towers.

Photograph of Mark Kostabi

Mark Kostabi has proposed a monumental building devoted entirely to art, a mixed-use structure comprising art studios, galleries, museums, apartments, printing workshops, sculpture foundries, schools, offices for creative firms, hotels, libraries, bookstores, theaters, and restaurants: a self-sufficient vertical art city.

The structure has been designed by world-renowned architect Eli Attia and will emerge from a park designed by San Diego-based environmental artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison.

Eli Attia(of Eli Attia Architects), who had successful involvement in the construction of the Millenium Hilton Hotel (1992) and the 101 Park Avenue (1982), both in New York, has developed plans for a majestic spire tapering from a 4.64 acre footprint and rising towards an unprecedented 2,000 foot height. The building will be a highly versatile structural cage equivalent to 160 stories. The tower will taper upward from the ground at an accelerating rate providing a wide range of floor sizes: from 202,000 square feet at the base to 10,000 square feet at the top. The total floor area will be over two million square feet.

Map of Brooklyn, New York

Current plans call for the building to rise from a 30 acre site in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Mindful of the ecological significance of constructing the world's tallest building, artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison were hired to create the park from which the skyscraper will rise. The Harrisons, known internationally for environmental reconstruction, have a particular interest in the relationship of the site to the East River. On it they intend to establish an ecosystem, "part wetland and brook, part forest and meadow that reflects the ecosystem once present and the probable ecosystem that will emerge as global warming takes place".

This building will be finished in the Twentieth Century and will reassert the glory of its predecessors - but it will open and lead into the Twenty-First Century with its inspiring design and state-of-the-art structural engineering. Thus it will reflect something of both centuries for a single purpose - the support and recognition of art as a significant part of our human existence.

After the Freedom Tower project was chosen to replace the WTC Twin Towers, the plans for the Kostabi WTC were dropped. However, there still remains the possibility that the Kostabi WTC might be built in another location in the future.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

The X-Seed 4000 is the tallest building ever fully envisioned, meaning that the designs for construction have been completed.

The X-Seed 4000 "was never meant to be built," says Georges Binder, managing director of Buildings & Data, a firm which compiles data banks on buildings worldwide. "The purpose of the plan was to earn some recognition for the firm, and it worked."

Its proposed 4 kilometer (13,123 foot) height, 6 kilometer wide sea-base, and 800 floor capacity could accommodate five hundred thousand to one million inhabitants.

It was designed for Tokyo, Japan by the Taisei Corporation in 1995 as a futuristic environment combining ultra-modern living and interaction with nature.

Unlike conventional skyscrapers, the X-Seed 4000 would be required to actively protect its occupants from considerable air pressure gradations and weather fluctuations along its massive elevation. Designed as an “intelligent building,” the futuristically-named X-Seed 4000 would maintain light, temperature, and air pressure in response to changing external weather conditions. Its design calls for the use of solar power to maintain internal environmental conditions.

A sea-based location and a Mount Fuji shape are some of this building's other major design features — the real Mount Fuji is land-based and is 3.8 kilometers in height, nearly 213 m (700 feet) shorter than X-Seed 4000.

Some estimate that the cost to construct the X-Seed 4000 structure may be somewhere between US$300-900 billion, in current dollars.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

Sketch of the Dubai Towers - Doha, viewed from its left sideDubai Towers - Doha is a supertall skyscraper with a roof height of 400 meters (Spire height 445 meters) under construction in Doha, Qatar. It began construction June 18, 2007.

The 94-story tower is being developed for mixed use by the Sama Dubai company, formerly known as Dubai International Properties, part of the Dubai Holding group. The Contractor is a Joint Venture between Al-Habtoor and Al Jaber, the Architects and Engineering Consultants are Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall (RMJM), and the Cost Consultants are Hanscomb Consultants Inc. Construction began in 2005 and when completed in 2009, the tower will be Doha's tallest building and will be taller than several other proposed skyscrapers in the city.

Construction work in 2007 included advanced enabling works and tower piling. Podium piles have already been installed, while the main structure building works were scheduled to commence in the first half of 2007.

Sketch of the Dubai Towers - Doha, viewed from its right side with the ocean in the background

The orientation and geometry of the tower will offer magnificent views of the sea. The bold sloping roofs and angular glass facades will glow and sparkle as they capture the changing sunlight at different times of the day, and transform into illuminations of quiet elegance with shimmering reflections in the water as dusk descends.

The tower will include a 70,000 m² retail area, as well as 60 floors of serviced and unserviced apartments, 20 floors of office space, and a 235-room 5 star hotel. The tower is located in the West Bay district of Doha, next to the Doha Corniche. Estimated construction costs of Dubai Towers Doha is 2.3 billion Qatari riyal (631.9 million USD).

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

From the creative mind of French production house "One Plus One", comes Recycle Bein'.

Visualization of the Crystal Tower with the Moscow Skyline in the bottom left cornerIn early 2008, Moscow's Public and Architectural Council granted preliminary planning permission for Crystal Island, a proposed development on the metropolis's Nagatino Peninsula. Once constructed, Crystal Island in Moscow will be 450m high, cover an area of almost half a million square meters and contain a total floor area of 2.5 million square meters. The $4 billion project is scheduled to be built within the next 5 years. The designer of both Russia Tower and Crystal Island is U.K. architectural firm Foster & Partners, which designed the new Wembley Stadium in London and a terminal for Beijing's airport.

At 450 m the scheme is one of the tallest structures enclosing the largest volume, on the planet. It also creates a spectacular new emblem on the Moscow skyline. Conceived as a self-contained city within a city, it contains a rich mix of buildings including museums, theaters, and cinemas, to ensure it becomes a major new destination for the whole of Moscow.

Diagram of the interior of the Crystal Island

Floor area alone will be four times the size of Pentagon in Washington DC., and seven time larger than the completed Burj Dubai. One of the world’s most ambitious building projects, Crystal Island has been granted preliminary planning permission in Moscow. Enclosed within a vast mega structure covering a total floor area of 2.5 million square meters (27 million square feet) – the project’s scale is unprecedented.

Located on the Nagatino Peninsula, edged by the Moscow River, it is located only 7.5 km from the Kremlin, and offers panoramic views over Moscow from a viewing platform at its apex.

Crystal Island will have a range of cultural, exhibition and performance facilities, approximately 3000 hotel rooms and 900 serviced apartments, as well as offices and shops, designed to maintain a dynamic and animated public realm throughout the day. Residents are able to work and live within a densely planned area where every amenity is within easy walking distance, including an international school for 500 students. Mixed-use also presents a strong case for energy balance, with individual components using energy at different times, while reinforcing the breadth of economic and social activity of the area.

A photo of a scale model of the Crystal IslandA 3D rendering of the Crystal Island surrounded by its park and by the rest of MoscowThe building’s spiraling form emerges majestically from a newly landscaped park, rising in converse directions to form a diagonal grid. This distinctive geometry extends throughout the project into the park. Parkland around the building will offer ice-skating and cross-country skiing in winter. The intention is also to create two public viewing platforms. Unusually, more than half of the space will be below ground, including 14,000 parking spaces.

The internal built volumes of over one million square metres (more than 10 million square feet) assume a staggered formation within the triangulated steel mega frame, extending flush against the sloping facetted glazed outer skin. This terracing creates a series of winter gardens, which form a breathable second layer and thermal buffer for the main building, shielding the interior spaces from Moscow’s extreme summer and winter climates. A vertical louvre system sheaths the internal facades to ensure privacy for the individual apartments.

Enclosure panels on a dynamic geometry are slotted into the structural framing to allow daylight to penetrate deep into the heart of the scheme and can be controlled to modify the internal environment – closed in winter for extra warmth and opened in summer to allow natural ventilation. Energy management is at the heart of the design, with additional strategies to include on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation.

Project Area:

  • A picture of the sun rising behnd the iron framework of the Crystal IslandTotal Gross External Area: (Above Ground): 1,100,000m2
  • Site Area: 440,000m2


  • Public 360 degree Top Observation Deck (at 300m level): 3000 m2 gross external area
  • Public 360deg Main Observation Deck(150m ): 6000 m2
  • Serviced apartments – approx. 900 units(80m to 140m): 265,000 m2
  • Hotel – approx. 3000 keys(12m to 80m ): 245,000 m2
  • Offices (40m to 80m): 75,000 m2
  • Retail, Catering, Entertainment (0m to 40m ): 160,000 m2
  • Museum and IMAX (0m to 40m ); 100,000 m2
  • Theatres – 1500, 750, 750 seats (0m to 40m): 95,000 m2
  • School – 500 students (0m to 40m): 4000 m2
  • Covered Public Space: 150,000 m2
  • Sub-Total Above Ground: 1,100,000 m2
(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

Drawing of the Chicago Spire with a few buildings in the backgroundThe Chicago Spire is a supertall skyscraper under construction in Chicago, Illinois. The Spire will surpass Chicago's own Sears Tower, currently at 442 m (1,450 feet) tall, and New York's upcoming Freedom Tower, planned to be 541 m (1,776 feet) tall, to become North America's tallest tower.The current design also will surpass the height of the CN Tower in Toronto to become North America's tallest free-standing structure. The Chicago Spire would also surpass the Q1 in Queensland, the Eureka Tower in Melbourne, and the Princess Tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to become the world's tallest all-residential building. Other world records, though, will by that year likely rest with the Burj Dubai, currently under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.The building was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is being developed by Garrett Kelleher of Shelbourne Development Group, Inc. The Chicago Spire is scheduled to be completed in 2011 with 150 floors.

Photograph of crane parts being set up for constructionCrane parts and construction equipment arrived at the site on June 25, 2007. In preparation for construction, 34 concrete and steel caissons will be drilled 120 feet (37 m) into bedrock underlying the Earth's surface.A cofferdam with a 104 foot (31 m) diameter and 78 foot (24 m) depth will be installed to create a work environment and will later act as a foundation for the building's core. The underground portion of the construction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2008.

Drawing of the Chicago Spire along with some of the skylineOriginally proposed as "Fordham Spire" in July of 2005, the design called for 115 stories. The building was planned to include a hotel and condominiums and also featured a tall broadcast antenna mast. However the original Chicago developer Christopher T. Carley of the Fordham Company ran into financial problems. As a result, the project was taken over by the Irish developer Garrett Kelleher who changed the design to make the building solely residential and removed the above-ground parking lot, incorporating underground parking into the spire itself.

Drawing of the Chicago Spire along with Navy PierThe skyscraper is being constructed along Chicago's lake front west of Navy Pier, located northeast of Chicago's Loop, in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area. The construction site is at the junction of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. The site is bordered by the Ogden Slip of the Chicago River to the north, North Lake Shore Drive to the east, the Chicago River to the south, and existing residential property to the west. The site was originally zoned for two 35- to 50-story buildings.

Photo of a foam model of the Chicago SpireChicago's buildings are known for innovative designs. The Chicago Spire aims to complement this pattern, and standing at 2,000 feet (610 m), will further transform the already changing Chicago skyline. Plans for the tower include 1,193 condominiums with each of the building's 150 stories rotating exactly 2.44 degrees from the one below for a total 360 degree rotation. For supplemental structural support, each floor would be surrounded by cantilevered corners and four concave sides.

Drawing of the Chicago Spire looking from the bottom up towards the top

Similar to the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center skydecks, the Chicago Spire will house a community room at the top floor offering residents a view of four states. The soaring four story lobby of the skyscraper will have translucent glass walls and be framed by arching, steel reinforced concrete vaults.The building has been labeled as a giant "drill bit" by the public and others in the media have likened it to a "tall twisting tree" and a "blade of grass".

The curved design, may provide two major benefits to the structure of the building. First, curved designs have a tendency of adding to the strength of a structure. A similar principle has been applied in the past when building curved stadium roofs.

Drawing of the Chicago Spire baseIn addition to structural support, the curved face of the exterior will minimize wind forces. In rectangular buildings, a fluid wind flow puts pressure on the windward face of the building, while as air moves around it, a suction is applied to the leeward face. This often causes a sway in tall buildings which can be counteracted, at least partially, by stiffening the structure or by using a dynamic wind damper. Although the curved design of the Chicago Spire will not completely negate wind forces, a tapering concrete core and twelve shear walls emanating from it are installed to counteract these forces instead.

Additionally, the Chicago Spire will incorporate world-class sustainable engineering practices to meet the Gold standard of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Sustainable features include recycled rainwater, river water used for cooling, ornithologically-sensitive glass to protect migratory birds, intelligent building and management systems, waste storage and recycling management, and a monitored outdoor air delivery.

Drawing of the Chicago Spire in reference to the Chicago skylineBut no matter what concerns there might be regarding its affect on the environment, virtually all agree that the Chicago Spire will certainly make a noticeable impression on the Windy City's skyline.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

Antikythera... what? A video has recently emerged on YouTube that shows the reconstruction of a 2000-year-old computer. It was rebuilt by Michael Wright, a museum curator in London.

The fascinating astronomical device is called the "Antikythera Mechanism". For more information see National Geographic's article.


Official Google Blog: Gingerbread architecture for all

Google Sketchup is marketing to the public again, but this time with a twist. Rather than using Sketchup to build a traditional home, the objective is to build a Gingerbread house.

Read the full article from the Google Sketchup blog.

Google Sketchup is a fully-functional, 3D modeling tool. The latest version can be downloaded here.

Sketch of the Center of India Tower from a front-on perspectiveCenter of India Tower, also known as World Centre for Vedic Learning, was an envisioned supertall skyscraper that would have been built 50 kilometers Northeast of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, in Brahmasthan, or the exact center point of India. If it had been built, the tower would have been the the tallest building in India, more than 700 ft taller than the Petronas Towers, and the second tallest in the world behind Burj Dubai.

Besides being among the tallest structures, the building would have been the largest structure in the world by mass; its estimated width was 339 m(1,111 ft ). The building's construction would have been financed by Hindu spiritual leader, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

In his televised press conference of November 16, 2005, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said he believes it is vital for everyone in the world to live and work in buildings constructed according to Sthapatya Veda or Vastu architecture.

Photograph of a live audience surrounding a scale model of the Center of India TowerA house built according to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda takes into account three major factors: the orientation of the house, room placement, and the proper proportion of the rooms. These primary principles of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda are established in large part based on the position of the sun, considered to be the most powerful natural influence on our planet. Aligned with the rising sun, an east-facing house would be considered most auspicious for the building’s inhabitants. North is also acceptable. South and West are considered to be least auspicious.

The building's design was greatly influenced by Hindu temple architecture. If it had been built, the World Centre for Vedic Learning would have been completed in 2007.

Sketch of the Center of India Tower from an angled perspective

Some structural facts include:

  • Structural height 677.3 m (2,222 ft) (est.)
  • Height to tip 677.3 m (2,222 ft) (est.)
  • Height to roof 677.3 m (2,222 ft) (est.)
  • Gross floor area 30 million sq. feet (2.8 million sq. m)
  • Number of individual floors
(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

Arial view of a conceptual sketchThe Aeropolis 2001 is a proposed project for construction of a massive 500-story high-rise building over Tokyo Bay in Japan.

If built, the mammoth structure would be approximately five times as high as the World Trade Center was in New York.

Envisioned by Obayashi Gumi Corporation, Aeropolis 2001 is proposed to be a two-kilometer high building with 500 floors that would accommodate over 300,000 inhabitants. It's structural height would be 2,001 m (6,565 ft).

Blue and white conceptual sketchThe structure is expected to be mixed-use, including restaurants, offices, flats, cinemas, schools, hospitals, and post offices. Elevators are expected to travel from top to bottom in 15 minutes. The proposed tower would be fully sustainable and air conditioned.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)

Proposed Burj Dubai sketch surrounded by proposed downtownThe Burj Dubai (Arabic: برج دبي "Dubai Tower") is a supertall skyscraper currently under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. When Burj Dubai is completed in late 2008, it is predicted to be the tallest man-made structure in the world. Scheduled for occupancy in September 2009, the building is part of a 2 km² (0.8 sq mi) development called 'Downtown Dubai' and is located at the "First Interchange" along Sheikh Zayed Road at Doha Street.

Construction began on September 21, 2004. The total budget for the Burj Dubai project is about $4.1 billion US and for the entire new 'Downtown Dubai', $20 billion US.

As of 27 December 2007, Burj Dubai has reached a height of 598.5 m (1,964 ft), with 158 completed floors.

Actual construction photographOn September 12, 2007 Burj Dubai became the world's tallest freestanding structure at 555.3 m (1,822 ft), surpassing the CN Tower in Toronto.

Currently it holds the unofficial records for:

  • Tallest freestanding structure: 598.5 meters (1,964 ft) (previously CN Tower - 553.3 m (1,815 ft))
  • Building with most floors: 158 (previously Sears Tower / World Trade Center - 110)
  • Vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 601.0 m (1,972 ft) (previously Taipei 101 - 449.2 m (1,474 ft))
  • Vertical concrete pumping (for any construction): 601.0 m (1,972 ft) (previously Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Plant - 532 m (1,745 ft)

Burj Dubai's last two milestones will be to surpass the 628.8 m (2,063 ft) height of the KVLY-TV Mast in North Dakota, United States to become the world's tallest structure and to pass the Warsaw radio mast in Gąbin, Poland (646.4 m (2,121 ft) until it collapsed in 1991) to become the world's tallest structure of any type ever built.

The projected final height of Burj Dubai is officially being kept a secret due to competition from other buildings under construction or proposed; however, figures released by a contractor on the project have suggested a height of around 818 m (2,684 ft). Based on this height, the total number of habitable floors is expected to be around 160. However, when pressed for a more precise figure, the project manager merely repeated that he was able only to guarantee that the final height would be higher than 700 m (2,297 ft).

Drawing of Burj Dubai as the centerpiece of downtown DubaiBurj Dubai has been designed to be the centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development that will include 30,000 homes, nine hotels such as the Burj Dubai Lake Hotel & Serviced Apartments, 0.03 km² (0.01 sq mi) of parkland, at least 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 0.12 km² (0.05 sq mi) man-made Burj Dubai Lake. Burj Dubai will cost US$ 800 million to build and the entire 2 km² (0.77 sq mi) development will cost around US$ 20 billion.

The silvery glass-sheathed concrete building will give the title of Earth's tallest free-standing structure to the Middle East — a title not held by the region since 1311 AD when Lincoln Cathedral in England surpassed the height of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which had held the title for almost four millennia.

Sketch of Burj Dubai and its reflecting poolThe tower is being constructed by a South Korean company, Samsung Engineering & Construction which also built the Petronas Twin Towers and the Taipei 101. The tower is designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, who also designed the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Freedom Tower in New York City, among numerous other famous high-rises. The building resembles the bundled tube form of the Sears Tower, but is not a tube structure. The design of Burj Dubai is reminiscent of the Frank Lloyd Wright vision for The Illinois, a mile high skyscraper designed for Chicago, Illinois. Burj Dubai is expected to rise to 150% of the height of the Sears Tower. Emaar has also engaged GHD, an international multidisciplinary consulting firm, to assist with the design, review and assessment involved in the construction process.

Engineers rotated the building 120 degrees from its original layout to reduce stress from prevailing winds. Over 45,000 m³ (58,900 cu yd) of concrete, weighing more than 110,000 tonnes (121,000 ST/108,000 LT) were used to construct the concrete and steel foundation, which features 192 piles buried more than 50 m (164 ft) deep.

Pictorial comparison of the World Trade Centers, Sears Tower, Taipei 101, and Burj Dubai floor plansThe design of Burj Dubai is ostensibly derived from the patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, with the triple-lobed footprint of the building based on an abstracted version of the desert flower hymenocallis native to the region. The tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. As the tower rises from the flat desert base, setbacks occur at each element in an upward spiralling pattern, decreasing the cross section of the tower as it reaches toward the sky. At the top, the central core emerges and is sculpted to form a finishing spire. A Y-shaped floor plan maximizes views of the Persian Gulf. Viewed from above or from the base, the form also evokes the onion domes of Islamic architecture.

An Armani Hotel (the first of its kind) will occupy the lower 37 floors. Floors 45 through 108 will have 700 private apartments on 64 floors (which, according to the developer, sold out within eight hours of going on sale). Corporate offices and suites will fill most of the remaining floors, except for a 123rd floor lobby and 124th floor (about 440 metres (1,444 ft)) indoor/outdoor observation deck. The spire will also hold communications equipment. An outdoor zero-entry swimming pool will be located on the 78th floor of the tower.

Current construction photo

It will also feature the world's fastest elevator, rising and descending at 18 m/s (40 mph). The world's current fastest elevator (in the Taipei 101) travels at 16.83 m/s (37.6 mph). Engineers had considered installing the world's first triple-decker elevators, but the final design calls for double-deck elevators. A total of 56 elevators will be installed that can carry 42 people at a time. It is scheduled for occupancy by September 2009.

(Information comes courtesy of the Wikipedia amongst other sources.)