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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:20 PM   #1
citizenzen
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Does size matter?

I've apparently been out of the loop. Yesterday I saw a segment on TV that mentioned the Petronas Towers and decided to check out the world's tallest buildings.

First off I was amazed that I hadn't heard of Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. At 2,717 ft it's over 700 feet taller than the second tallest building, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower (1,972 feet) in Makkh. By comparison the Petronas Towers are cute little buildings.

It's striking to note that most seem to be located in the Mideast, China and Hong Kong.

So, is this another indication of the changing economic/power structure in the world? Should America (and Europe) look to the east with building envy? And can we continue to imagine the Mideast is a backwards culture when they are the ones erecting these incredible buildings? [see below]

A list of the world's 200 tallest buildings can be found here: http://www.emporis.com/statistics/worlds-tallest-buildings . Sorry to be so out of touch. I'm sure most of the members here have known about these buildings for a long time.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:49 PM   #2
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I've apparently been out of the loop........ I'm sure most of the members here have known about these buildings for a long time.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:50 PM   #3
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Dubai is a trainwreck and it's due to their desire to build everything bigger, taller, faster, fancier, etc...in many ways, exactly like western ideals. The name of the Burj Khalifa is because the project defaulted and Khalifa provided the money needed to finish the project. Last I heard, a quarter of houses and business offices set vacant in Dubai and that of the 1/4 of the world's cranes that reside in Dubai, half are idle due to economic reasons. I imagine when a country formally looked at as 'developing' goes to 'developed' that building surges are common, but Dubai has taken it to an extreme.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
I've apparently been out of the loop. Yesterday I saw a segment on TV that mentioned the Petronas Towers and decided to check out the world's tallest buildings.

First off I was amazed that I hadn't heard of Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. At 2,717 ft it's over 700 feet taller than the second tallest building, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower (1,972 feet) in Makkh. By comparison the Petronas Towers are cute little buildings.

It's striking to note that most seem to be located in the Mideast, China and Hong Kong.

So, is this another indication of the changing economic/power structure in the world? Should America (and Europe) look to the east with building envy? And can we continue to imagine the Mideast is a backwards culture when they are the ones erecting these incredible buildings? [see below]

A list of the world's 200 tallest buildings can be found here: http://www.emporis.com/statistics/worlds-tallest-buildings . Sorry to be so out of touch. I'm sure most of the members here have known about these buildings for a long time.
Europe's never really been into the size game, unless you consider that cretin in Romania although I believe Russia is erecting a monster or two.

I don't know what the occupancy rate of Petronas is but I believe the Burj Khalifa was bailed out by a fellow UAE member and that is one of the biggest money pits in Dubai and Dubai has literally hundreds of them.

It's also important to remember that tall buildings are phenomenally expensive to build and that they don't yield all that much more space in comparison to shorter buildings. Elevators and services like water, heating sewage, etc take up a lot of space.

Yeah, they're incredible feats of human invention but should be viewed more as tourist sites than as a serious advance in human attainment.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 06:57 PM   #5
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Yeah, they're incredible feats of human invention but should be viewed more as tourist sites than as a serious advance in human attainment.
Yet as an American I can remember how we've associated these feats as proof of our attainment. And in some ways, we still do. You still here about how we've built the latest-greatest super computer and it's implied to be a testament to American ingenuity. We've just lost bragging rights when it's come to buildings.

But I'm not trying to run the U.S. down. That isn't really the point here, so much as it is my amazement of how far the rest of the world has come in this matter and how much has been achieved.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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Its insane to build towers that high. I work on the 47th floor and its no fun walking down the stairs when there is a fire drill or false alarm. I had to do that twice this year and it takes over 30 minutes because there is always a traffic jam in the stairwell.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:09 PM   #7
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So, is this another indication of the changing economic/power structure in the world? Should America (and Europe) look to the east with building envy? And can we continue to imagine the Mideast is a backwards culture when they are the ones erecting these incredible buildings?
"They" are not erecting squat. Anyone performing actual work in places like Dubai and Saudi Arabia are engineers from the west and slaves... sorry, 'guest workers' from third world countries. They pay for these ridiculous excesses with oil money. Ever heard of an Arabian car brand or an Arabian computer manufacturer? Nah. Once a country has been claimed by Islam, all progress and creativity dies. Look at the Persians and their rich and advanced culture... look at Iran under the shah, when it was a 'westernification experiment'... and then look at them now.
Burj Khalifa is a bit like when Baldrick on Blackadder came across some money and invested in the world's largest turnip.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:10 PM   #8
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And can we continue to imagine the Mideast is a backwards culture when they are the ones erecting these incredible buildings?
Yes. Barbarians are capable of using technology too. Social advancement and technological advancement are two different things. Besides, they're just buildings. Anyone can build them, all it takes is money. It's not like they have some special knowledge that no other countries possess that allow them to build tall buildings.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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The reason they have them is because of globalization. The contractors are from the west for the most part and as has been pointed out, the workers in Dubai are virtual slaves. It's all about money, not native talent.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:50 PM   #10
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Saudi Arabis is planning on having the tallest tower by 2017 I believe, it will be called the kingdom tower

Pretty insane if you ask me
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:50 PM   #11
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The reason they have them is because of globalization. The contractors are from the west for the most part and as has been pointed out, the workers in Dubai are virtual slaves. It's all about money, not native talent.
Why does it have to be about native talent?

For years in America it was about money ... about size ... about height.

Now other countries are leading in this area.

Not just Dubai. China and Hong Kong also dominate the list of the world's tallest buildings.

Does this say nothing about the changing power structure/economic dynamic in the world?
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:05 PM   #12
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Why does it have to be about native talent?

For years in America it was about money ... about size ... about height.

Now other countries are leading in this area.

Not just Dubai. China and Hong Kong also dominate the list of the world's tallest buildings.

Does this say nothing about the changing power structure/economic dynamic in the world?
I think you're grasping at straws. /shrug

As has been pointed out, once you take into account globalization and the economic effects, it's not as powerful a statement as it use to be.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:17 PM   #13
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This is as recent as I could find.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:18 PM   #14
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Why does it have to be about native talent?
Because that's the point of an international pissing contest is it not? Whether it's tall buildings or Olympic medals the point is national pride and there's little national pride envolved if you have to import all/the majority of the talent to get the job done.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:45 PM   #15
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Kingdom tower in saudi arabia. I think its going in construction any day now. Going to be over 3280ft (1000m)
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:47 PM   #16
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Kingdom tower in saudi arabia. I think its going in construction any day now. Going to be a mile high, over 3280ft
A mile is 5280ft, sounds more like a kilometer.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:01 PM   #17
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I spent some time in the ME not too long ago - it was really an eye-opener.

Where there's oil (or gas) money, there's a desire to spend it, and make monuments. In this day and age, those monuments are skyscrapers.

Where there isn't oil (or gas) money, there's a desire to spend someone else's money to create non-oil and gas economies - this is what's been going on in Dubai specifically.

But here's the thing - for both of these situations, they're building houses of cards. One key is that there's very little indigenous population in these cities now - guest workers make up somewhere between 70-85% of the population.

What are those guest workers doing? Building the skyscrapers - or supporting the people that are doing so.

Once the building stops - and it will - then there will be nothing for people to work on there. Again, these building aren't being built because there's a pent-up demand for space, no, they're monuments. Once those people aren't needed, then the whole thing will come tumbling down.

As it is, many parts of Dubai are basically empty during the day. It's eerie to walk amidst 75-story buildings with no one around. At lunchtime. On a workday. Or the fact that I stayed in a 4 bedroom (4 baths, 2 living rooms) luxury apartment on the 45th floor for about $200 a night.

These are modern-day potemkin cities. All show, no go. Cool to visit, to be sure. The Burj is truly an awesome sight. But when 3 (or more) people out of 4 are there as guest workers, it's not a formula for lasting success.

I would not be surprised at all if 50 years from now these are ghost cities.

Nothing against the people there, let's be clear about that. But I just can't see the economics working over time.

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Thumb resize.


This is as recent as I could find.
That has a lot of cancelled projects on it; Chicago Spire was junked a few years ago.

For anyone interested in this sort of thing - plus other big infrastructure projects - I highly recommend: http://www.skyscrapercity.com
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:09 AM   #18
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A mile is 5280ft, sounds more like a kilometer.
Yup they were going for a mile but couldnt do it because of foundation.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:45 AM   #19
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Its insane to build towers that high. I work on the 47th floor and its no fun walking down the stairs when there is a fire drill or false alarm. I had to do that twice this year and it takes over 30 minutes because there is always a traffic jam in the stairwell.
My father used to work in one of the Twin Towers and one of his secretaries had to quit because she got seasick from all the swaying.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:24 AM   #20
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Who cares.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:36 AM   #21
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My father used to work in one of the Twin Towers and one of his secretaries had to quit because she got seasick from all the swaying.
I can feel the tower swinging time to time, but it's not too bad and I get motion sickness pretty easily. Others in the office say they feel it very often.

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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:56 AM   #22
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I can feel the tower swinging time to time, but it's not too bad and I get motion sickness pretty easily. Others in the office say they feel it very often.
Do doors in your building open and close on their own, too?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 07:59 AM   #23
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To a large degree, many of these tall buildings are no more impressive to me than writing your name in the sand - even if itís a kilometer tall and two miles wide.



Expensive and labor intensive, yes, and a testament to their wealth in both currency and human toil. But it's not indicative of a changing global power structure, and in fact I'd say it's evidence to support the "backwater" label - evidence of a few select fantastically wealthy individuals exercising their egos, rather than a healthy culture of prosperous, industrious individuals.

Regarding US achievements... We've had, and continue to have, our chest-thumping projects. But I surmise many of those projects have brought (e.g., Apollo) or will bring (e.g., the new supercomputer) lasting positive benefits for humanity. It's too bad the SSC didn't get completed...
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:25 AM   #24
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Who cares.
Craven idols.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:34 AM   #25
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I think you're grasping at straws. /shrug
I may very well be.

But ...

Many have pointed out that this is essentially a house of cards in the Mideast, and that may very well be true. Is it likewise a house of cards in China and Hong Kong?

A number have pointed out that these buildings were erected using non-native talent, but I don't quite see the point. When you have money you get to hire whatever talent you like. And if these buildings are anything more than futile grasps at greatness, then they indicate who has and will have money for years to come.

The United States was partially built upon slave labor brought in from Africa. Can we not attribute some of America's early development to non-native talent?
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