today archinect pointed me to a fascinating press release by hyder consulting in which they claim to be designing a 1600m tall building…that’s one mile high. of course immediately i’m reminded of the infamous frank lloyd wright design for the illinois, a mile high building itself (below).
the current world’s tallest, though not yet completed is the burj dubai in dubai, uae slated to rise some 800m, or half as tall as this recent proposal (below).
bldgblog whipped up the comparative picture at the top of the post; additionally though, a recent bldgblog post has even more significance with the announcement of a mile-high structure. tapei 101, the world’s tallest structure prior to the burj dubai, has actually caused the land around it to become tectonically unstable (it was previously 100% safe), ie. prone to earthquakes. the massive weight of the building itself is essentially causing earthquakes. i can only imagine what kind of forces a mile high structure would impose upon the earth. but the bigger issue here is not environmental effects or even architectural articulation of such structure, but the sociological implications they bring with them. are supertall, supermassive, buildings ideal for living in? isn’t there a serious concern with scale, at a point these buildings are no longer in line with any human scale. furthermore, are these building even applicable to the way we live? in a world of global transience, impermanence, and instant everything we no longer live like we used to (see the thesis category). i can’t help but wonder if it’s even worth designing such a tower regardless of whether or not we can practically build it.
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