Skyscrapers have long been a contest, an ultra-expensive game. Owners are frequently secretive about the actual height of their buildings, so that others do not eclipse them before their time as tallest has come.
The tricks that designers use to inflate the heights of their buildings are impressive, too. Spires and decorative elements are often used to get those last few precious feet.
But inside these super-modern and beautiful giants is a trick: a recent study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) showed that big volumes of useless space are hidden at the top of many of the world’s skyscrapers in order to inflate their height. In fact, as much as one-third of a building’s height can be empty, also known as “vanity space.” Consider this space as decoration. A very, very expensive decoration.
But the game isn’t over yet.
Remember Tom Cruise’s terrifying stunt on the side of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building that exists today? BTW, he actually did it all by himself!
Unfortunately for this building, it is not going to remain the tallest for too long since the next, even taller building−the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia− will be built soon. And, when completed, it will look like this:
I don’t think that even Tom Cruise will want to scale this 3,280-feet-tall building. The Kingdom Tower will cost an estimated $1.23 billion to build, and is set to be completed in 2017.
However, there is a dark side to this “skyscraper world championship.” According to Barclays Capital, countries that start this type of construction are typically close to a major economic crisis, as this represents a silly waste of money and can be what is driving the so-called “skyscraper index”…