Asia Becomes World's Super-Tall Skyscraper Hub

      January 05, 2010 11:21

      Asia is quickly emerging as the hub of the world's highest skyscrapers. Until the mid-20th century the U.S. used to have most of the world's tallest buildings, including New York City's 381-meter-high Empire State Building built in 1931. With the rapidly growing economic power of Asian countries and soaring land prices resulting from high population density, Asia has become the center of super-tall skyscrapers.

      A number of super-tall skyscrapers have been built in Asia in recent years: the 492-meter-tall Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia finished in 1998, the 492-meter-tall Shanghai World Financial Center in China completed in 2008, and the 508-meter-high Taipei 101 built in Taiwan in 2004. Each of these buildings cost at least W1 trillion for construction alone.

      With several more super-tall skyscrapers planned or under construction, Asia is soon to be the capital of the world's highest buildings. Shanghai is expected to see the 632-meter-high Shanghai Tower completed by 2014, and the 597-meter-tall China 117 Tower in Tianjin is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed by 2012.

      In Korea, construction of the 640-meter tall DMC Landmark Tower, which is to be the world's second tallest building after the newly opened Burj Khalifa (previously called the Burj Dubai), is underway and expected to be finished by 2015 in Sangam-dong, northwestern Seoul. The 620-meter-high Seoul Dream Tower will be built in Yongsan, central Seoul, by 2016.

      Construction of super-tall skyscrapers requires technology that allows the high-rise buildings to endure their own tremendous weight. Builders must also use GPS measuring techniques to ensure the buildings stand up straight, as well as ultra-fast elevators to carry people several hundred meters up. The downsides of super-tall skyscrapers are that they cost two to three times more to build than normal buildings, and a great deal of interior space must be allotted to elevators.

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