Monday, October 20, 2008

The World's Tallest Buildings

Enjoy this compendium of 20 of the world's tallest buildings under construction or planned for completion over the next few years.

My favorites are these:

(1) The Burj Dubai. At half a mile in height, it bears an uncanny resemblance to Frank Lloyd Wright's "The Illinois" proposal for a mile-high skyscraper. I have a print of Frank Lloyd Wright's superb drawing for this never-built skyscraper hanging in my study.

(2) Chicago's The Spire. I heard that work on this 2,000 foot tall residential skyscraper has been temporarily suspended due to the weakened economy. I can accept that setback, but not the regulatory one that nearly knocked this building out. I look forward to the resumption of economic growth eventually propelling the Spire skyward over Chicago.

(3) This is my favorite building, Marina 101. It evokes the rugged, honest skyscrapers of Louis Sullivan in my favorite city of skyscrapers, Chicago. Bracketed by the tall buildings around it and the warmth of the ocean and marina in front of it, it stands as a tall sentinel protecting its surroundings.

The two ugliest buildings are appropriately located in Moscow and Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

In the classic shape of an ancient mausoleum, or a pedestal for human sacrifices, this new Moscow pyramid promises to rise in the capital of the new Soviet state which, in its old and new incarnation, has caused the deaths of so many people.

In the spiritual heart of the land of nihilistic belief will rise this concoction, which could only have been inspired by that great fictional architecture firm of Francon & Keating in the novel The Fountainhead.

Although some of the grandest buildings are rising in the Middle East, the semi-capitalist leaders of the world economy including America, Hong Kong, South Korea (and arguably China) are also building some of the world's tallest new buildings. I cheer them higher!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how Dubai has become such an architectural wonderland. Its an Islamic country. What is making this possible? Oil money? Does Dubai have greater economic freedom than America? If it does, how far we have fallen.

BD

Galileo Blogs said...

Oil money powers the Middle East. There is a lot of it, and it will pay for many monuments in the form of tall buildings.

It is the economic freedom of the civilized world (to the extent it exists) that pays for these monuments in the Middle East by buying its oil.

Chris Sandvick said...

Dubai is kind of a Middle Eastern Hong Kong with oil revenue substituting for Chinese manufacturing. Anecdotally, it is more free than other Arab states and is pro-US. I doubt it is as free as Hong Kong is/was. Dubai itself has little oil but is the finance capital for the entire region. It'll be interesting to see how the current crises is impacting it.