From the Tower of Babel to the pyramids of Egypt, high rises have always captured the human imagination. Whether in a bid to reach the gods, or to ensure immortality, men have been building skyscrapers that stretch higher than ever into the heavens. Cut to present day and we follow this obsession around the world, circling the globe in tribute to the world's most majestic skyscrapers.
Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi
Innovative in every sense, the 29-storey Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi feature a remarkable façade that opens and closes in response to the sun’s rotation, reducing solar gain by over 50 percent. The façade was derived from the traditional Islamic “mashrabiya”: a popular form of wooden lattice screen used for privacy and to reduce glare and solar gain.
1 Bligh Street, Sydney
Sydney’s first Six Star Green Star high-rise building located at 1 Bligh St is an elliptical tower boasting stellar views to Sydney Harbour. Sustainability credentials include the high performance double skin façade and a solar cooling system which feeds into the tri-generation system – the first of its kind in a commercial office tower in Australia. The system reduces the strain on the CBD grid infrastructure by a further 25 percent and provides free cooling for the building. The 30-storey atrium was named Best Tall Building in Asia & Australia by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) on June 13, 2012.
Photo By REUTERS
Overlooking the waters of the Gulf, Qatar’s Doha Tower is a staggering 49-storey structure that is cylindrical in shape, capped by a dome and topped by a lightning conductor. Designed by French Architect Jean Nouvel, Doha Tower is innovative and unique, with an inner layer made of aluminium curtain walling with glass built to reflect the sun’s harmful rays. Each floor offers panoramic views over the city and out to the Gulf. Doha Tower was named Best Tall Building in Middle East & Africa by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) on June 13, 2012.
Photo By REUTERS
The Palazzo Lombardia
The Palazzo Lombardia in Milan, Italy, is a 39-storey skyscraper that seats the government of Lombardy. Utilising green design and operating practices, the Palazzo Lombardia features green roofs and active climate walls, and a unique heating and cooling system whereby the energy required is supplied by a geothermal heat pump system tapping the heat exchange potential of a nearby underground river. The building has won a string of prestigious design awards including the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Best Tall Building Europe in 2012.
Absolute World makes up a residential twin tower complex among the five-tower Absolute City Centre development in Mississiauga, Ontario. The two towers come in at 50 and 56 storeys, and are nicknamed the Marilyn Monroe Towers because of their curvaceous, hourglass figures.
Another pair of skyscrapers, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, are the tallest twin buildings ever built. The impressive 88-storey towers were designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli and Filipino-Malaysian Engineer Deejay Cerico, and feature the world’s highest double decker skybridge on the on the 41st and 44nd floors connecting the two towers.
Jin Mao Tower /Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Soaring 88-storeys high, Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower (Golden Prosperity Building) is a modern day masterpiece drawing on traditional Chinese architecture and resolve around the number eight which the Chinese associate with prosperity. The Shanghai Grand Hyatt occupies floors 53 to 87, and the Hyatt’s incredible barrel-vaulted atrium, one of the tallest in the world, extends from the 56th floor to the 87th.
International Commerce Centre/Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Nesting high above Hong Kong’s Kowloon Station, the International Commerce Centre in Union Square is a 118-floor skyscraper housing The Ritz-Carlton from floors 108 to 118. Guests can enjoy the world’s highest swimming pool and the Ozone bar on the 118th floor, and those with some extra cash can rent out the Presidential suite located on the 117th floor for 100,000HKD per night.
Proudly standing as the tallest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, known as Burj Dubai, is a tremendous manmade structure designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Derived from patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, the Burj Khalifa has a Y-shaped and flower-inspired plan, maximising views of the Dubai and the Persian Gulf. Armani Hotel Dubai occupies the concourse level to the eighth floor and levels 38 to 39, and features the world’s first in-hotel Armani/Spa.
The Taipei 101 building held status as the world’s tallest building until Dubai’s Burj Khalifa came along in 2004. Comprising 101 floors, the similarly named skyscraper is owned by the Taipei Financial Center Corporation and was designed to withstand typhoon winds and earthquakes common in the region. One of the most stable buildings ever built, Taipei 101 has a 660 tonne steel pendulum suspended from the 92nd to 87th floors that sways to compensate for movements in the building caused by wind gusts or earthquake tremors.