March 18, 2007

A simple task

So, what's the tallest building in the world?

No, it's not the Sears Tower. If you answered that, you really haven't been paying attention for a while now...c'mon.

If you said the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, you're getting warmer - and you probably saw that awful film Entrapment.

Nope, the tallest building in the world is - and has been since 2004 - the Taipei 101. To the top of the roof, Taipei 101 is 448 m tall. To the top of its spire, it's 508 m.

The Sears Tower, on the other hand, tops out at 442.3 m to its roof. Of course its spire is actually taller at 527.3 m. So maybe it's the tallest building in the world.

Or maybe it's the the CN Tower in Toronto. After all, its spire tops out at 552.3 m - even though its technical roof is only 457.2 m high.

Or maybe it's the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota. The transmission tower tops out at 628.8 m, but it's supported by guy wires.

Turns out that answering the question of which is the tallest building in the world is a bit of a tricky subject depending on whether you want to count distance to the roof or the spire, flagpole or antenna, and whether the building has to be self-supported or cable-stayed. Some people even try to include height from top to bottom of oil platforms, but those people aren't right.

Generally, the current winner is accepted to be Taipei 101, but not for long.

Two structures in Dubai (I think I've mentioned the place before, eh?) look to be competing for the title of world's tallest, and neither one will announce a final height for their tower. The Burj Dubai is going to top out somewhere between 808 m and 1011 m, and it's down the road competitor - the Al Burj looks to be somewhere above 700 m tall.

It's interesting to watch the funny humans try to top themselves a few feet at a time as they strive to reach the heavens.

We're funny folks...

Oh, and thanks to the Skyscraper Page for their help with research.

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