Thursday, May 24

Tokyo Sky Tree now open with old and new design

Japan now boasts the second highest building in the world with their Tokyo Sky Tree. The tower was finished after almost four years of work and reached 2,080 ft. in March of this year. The building was just opened to the public days ago on May 22, 2012.

The $806 million structure is a broadcasting, restaurant and observation tower in Sumida, Tokyo. It's design encompasses three main concepts including:
  • Fusion of futuristic design and traditional beauty of Japan,
  • Catalyst for revitalization of the city,
  • Contribution to disaster prevention "Safety and Security" (source).

From triangle to circle (photo)
The design is actually quite crazy. To optimize the plot of land at ground level, the base is triangular, but floor by floor the tower slowly molds into a cylindrical shape reaching a full circle at 1,050 ft. Also, with earthquakes a major factor in building such a tall tower, the structural design mixes the best of ancient and modern architecture. Mimicking ancient Japanese pagodas, there is a thick center shaft that runs up through the whole structure. Apparently, none of Japan's pagodas have ever been toppled by the centuries of earthquakes (source).

The modern spin-off is that this center shaft is relatively unconnected to the outside steel frame of the building reducing swaying high up. Also, the foundation of the tower, rather than straight poles, is more like roots that dig deep and fan out. Simulation tests suggest that the Sky Tree would suffer almost no damage even in the event of a major 7.9 magnitude quake (source).

OK. Able to withstand a 7.9 on the Richter scale. But wait, 15 of those can happen a year anyway. Let's rewind a year to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. That was a 9.0. On average, an earthquake equal to or greater than 9.0 happens ever year in the world (source). And lets remember that the Richter scale isn't linear. It's exponential. That means this tower is built to withstand 10 to 15 megatons of seismic energy, but may encounter 480 megatons of energy. I guess the March 2011 earthquake changed a lot of perspectives (and plans). Add this "earthquake safe" monstrosity to the list.

The tower is so high up that from the top observation tower you can see not only the entire Tokyo region, but also the curvature of the earth (source).

Apparently, the admission to reach the observation towers are just as sky-high as the structure itself. Also, merchandise and food at the observatories will be equally as expensive. Prices are not stopping the lines of eager tourists, though; tickets are sold out through mid-July, leaving visitors keen to ride up the capital's newest landmark in a very long queue (source).

As the second highest structure in the world, the Tokyo Sky Tree is outdone only by the height of Burj Khalifa in Dubai at a whopping 2,723 ft. which was opened in January 2010.

Burj Khalifa - figures that the tallest building in the world is in an oil-rich country

1 comment:

  1. Just to see the curvature of the earth, I would pay an exorbitant price. That would be amazing to me.


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