domingo, 15 de julio de 2012


 Empire State Building, New York, United States

The building that united a country.
Height: 437 meters
Cost to build: US$41 million
Completion date: May 1, 1931
Fast fact: The Empire State Building took only one year and 45 days to build, or 7 million man-hours, a record to this day for a skyscraper of its height.
"With the passing of the World Trade Center, it became even more entrenched in the hearts and souls of New Yorkers and the rest of the world.” -- Michael Greene.
JAY-Z didn’t pick his song names out of nowhere. The 443-meter Empire State Building is the icon of New York, where “dreams are made” and King Kong went berserk.
Built during the Great Depression, this gigantic building has been an American symbol for 70 years, providing a solid anchor through the ebbs and flows of its economy. It is also the longest holder of the “World’s Tallest Building” title, from 1931 to 1972.
The building, whose exterior lighting changes regularly to promote charitable causes and mark significant events, is one of the few skyscrapers that offers wedding packages at its observatory. 

China Central Television Headquarters, Beijing, China

Cutting through the Chinese smog.Height: 234 meters
Cost to build: US$600 million
Completion date: January 2008 
Fast fact: A building in the complex was badly damaged during a fire that was ignited by fireworks.
Reportedly nicknamed "big boxer shorts" by a Beijing taxi driver, the CCTV headquarters look like no other building. 
Comprising a continuous loop of six horizontal and vertical sections, the design represents a running stream of “qi” in the building. 
Given China’s monumental economic ambitions, the 234-meter-high structure is considered on the short side for a skyscraper. 
But its light gray curtain of glass blends in perfectly with the notoriously misty skyline of Beijing, earning this one-of-a-kind skyscraper two awards at the annual Cityscape World Architecture Congress in Dubai.

Commerzbank Headquarters, Frankfurt, Germany

The world’s first ecological office tower.Height: 300.1 meters
Cost to build:  US$414 million
Completion date: 1997 
Fast factThere is no observatory or open area on top. The public can only get as far as the plaza level.
With the aid of a 50-meter mast, the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt soars past the 300-meter mark by a whopping 10 centimeters. The building is the tallest in Germany and second-tallest in Europe, for now. It will be surpassed by the Shard London Bridge in 2012.
Swimming against the tide marks it out for this list.
The Commerzbank Headquarters was the world's first so-called ecological skyscraper, making use of natural systems of lighting and ventilation and reducing energy consumption as early as 1997.
In contrast to Europe's conspicuous lack of grand skyscrapers, this building celebrates its rise above low-rise offices, making it not just a symbol of Frankfurt's economy, but of Germany's attempts to pioneer eco-architectural design. 

Elephant Tower, Bangkok, Thailand

10,000 times bigger than a real elephant, and 10,000 times uglier too.
Height: 102 meters
Cost to build: NA
Completion date: 1997 
Fast fact: The building contains a swimming pool.
If there’s one thing besides a smile that can represent Thai people, it's elephants.
From pretty much anywhere in this dusty district in northern Bangkok, you can catch a glimpse of this 102-meter-high jumbo building, with its eyes and tusks towering above a busy junction.
As well as highlighting the importance of elephants in Thai culture and history, the building also nods toward Thailand's coming-of-age, with high-tech offices, a shopping plaza and a floor of luxury residential suites. 
This would never make a list of the most beautiful skyscrapers, but there's no denying Elephant Tower's place in local hearts. Plus, you just can’t keep your eyes off it.

 Bitexco Financial Tower, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Helicopters welcome, rich residents even more so.                          Height: 262 meters
                          Cost to build: US$220 million
                          Completion date: October 2010

The Bitexco Financial Tower may no longer be the tallest building in Vietnam, but it still defines Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline.
Designed to represent Vietnam’s national flower, the lotus, this 262-meter skyscraper is meant to characterize the beauty and growth of the city below.
It's ambitious, and it's in your face, much like its host city. 
There's an observation deck on the 47th floor, where visitors get a 360-degree view of HCMC, and a helipad on the 50th level, creating one of the structures most salient features. 

Turning Torso, Malmo, Sweden

The only building that likes yoga.
Height: 190 meters
Cost to build: US$80 million
Completion date: 2005
Fast fact: Tourists are not allowed in the building because it houses apartments and offices.
Designer Santiago Calatrava wanted to recreate the natural movements of animals and humans in this building.
By crossing the boundaries of strict geometry and modern technologies in architecture, he came up with a masterpiece that has more than a twist in its tail. 
The spine-like skyscraper turns a full 90 degrees from top to bottom. In order to follow the rotation, the windows are leaning either inwards or outward zero to seven degrees.
No other skyscraper has achieved anything as extreme.
In line with Sweden’s low-emission promise, this tallest residential building in the country is also supplied with 100 percent locally produced renewable energy -- a true symbol of modern Sweden.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

File:The Burj.jpg
Tall, elegant, skinny. Sure it wasn't inspired by Naomi Campbell?
Height: 828 meters
Cost to build: US$1.5 billion
Completion date: January 2009
Fast fact: Not only is this the world’s tallest building, it is also home of the world’s highest mosque, on the 158th floor. The tower is more than twice the height of the Empire State Building in New York.
Size isn't everything -- that's what the little guys always say.
Standing 828 meters high and weighing half a million tons, Burj Khalifa towers above its city like a giant redwood in a field of daisies.
It has been been the world's tallest building since 2010. 
Gigantic doesn’t begin to describe it.
This “desert flower” stands out comfortably among other skyscrapers and has become the symbol of Dubai’s bling, which often goes hand-in-hand with figures of per capita carbon footprints –- which Dubai also tops.

Tokyo Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Tokyo, Japan

Designed like a cocoon for Tokyo's students to learn and grow.
Height: 204 meters
Cost to build: NA
Completion date: October 2008 
Fast factIt's the second-tallest educational building in the world, next to the M.V. Lomonosov State University building in Moscow.
The tower is one of the few educational skyscrapers in the world, hosting schools of fashion, computer science and medicine.
As its name suggests, its exterior resembles the silky home of various larvae.
Students are educated inside the 50-level tower and metaphorically transformed into something bigger and more beautiful, culminating in generations of Tokyoites prepared to give this sprawling city, and its country, focus. 
The Cocoon Tower is also a symbol of innovation -- soaring above its older and shorter neighboring buildings not just literally, but figuratively.

Kingdom Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

If this is a shovel, we'd like to see the hole it dug.
Height: 302 meters
Cost to build: US$458 million
Completion date: 2002
Fast fact: Ladies Kingdom claims to have "almost every thing a female would need" -- even a ladies’ bank and a ladies' mosque.
Some observers have drawn a connection between the Kingdom Center and a shovel stuck in the sand; a somewhat misplaced comparison for the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. 
But get this: Riyadh building code forbids any building with more than 30 usable floors, but doesn’t impose height restrictions. So, thanks to the big void in the new Saudi Arabian icon, only 30 floors are used for normal purposes. 
It features an area offering a refreshing break from usual social norms in the region, with a shopping mall that includes a female-only "Ladies Kingdom," an entire floor designated for women to shop freely without needing to be covered. 

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronas TowersThrowing the gauntlet down to Hong Kong as a financial capital.Height: 452 meters
Cost to build: US$1.6 billion
Completion date: June 1996
Fast fact: National poet laureate A. Samad Said was commissioned to write a poem for the towers, which can be read here:"These towers changed the skyline of Kuala Lumpur, and jumped the existing scale there dramatically. Petronas was also an attempt to relate a tall building to a country’s culture and history, and to make a statement about its power and desire to replace Hong Kong as a financial capital.” -- A. Eugene Kohn.
Employing the repetitive geometric principle of Muslim architecture and Islamic arabesques, architect César Pelli wanted the Petronas Twin Towers to exude Malaysian culture and heritage; and he succeeded.
Although nothing in Kuala Lumpur is nearly as colossal, the world’s tallest twin towers somehow feel at home amid the capital’s otherwise unassuming cityscape.
Completed in 1996, the sky bridge that connects the two towers symbolizes “a gateway to the future” and Malaysia’s sky-high ambition entering the millennium. Since completion, this 451-meter skyscraper has become Malaysia’s unmistakable icon.

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