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Korea's Race to Build Supertalls

clock03-10-2010, 08:27 PM
Yorum: #1
Koreans gain in race to build 'supertalls'

Skyscrapers match rising ambitions

28 May 2007

International Herald Tribune

On a stretch of reclaimed land, near where General Douglas MacArthur's forces came ashore during the Korean War, this city will build a towering monument to its rising ambitions: twin skyscrapers reaching 610 meters into the sky, higher than the tallest building in the world today.

Developers in neighboring Seoul responded to the Songdo Incheon Towers plan, which was announced early last year, by increasing the height of a skyscraper they were planning to build in the central neighborhood of Yongsan by 20 meters, or 66 feet, to make a 620- meter-high building.

And last December, the chief of a Seoul ward announced an even more grandiose plan to erect a 220-story building that, at almost 960 meters, would be twice as high as the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Incheon and Seoul are part of one of the biggest booms in tall- building construction since the skyscraper appeared more than a century ago, a rush spreading from established tower magnets like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and Hong Kong to lesser-known cities across fast-rising East Asia.

Awash with cash, Incheon and Seoul are being joined in the building rush by Busan, which also plans two skyscrapers of more than 100 stories. In the Middle East, Mecca and Doha are building soaring new towers. So are a half dozen lesser-known cities in China, including Tianjin, Guangzhou and Wenzhou. Experts say the next wave of skyscraper proposals could come from India, currently in the throes of an economic boom.

"We have entered an unprecedented era of skyscraper construction," said Daniel Kieckhefer, a senior editor at Emporis, a German research firm that tracks building projects worldwide.

"Chinese cities that I've never heard of are building skylines that rival New York's."

According to Emporis, 42 skyscrapers are in the planning stages or under construction around the world that are more than 303 meters, or 2,000 feet, a height widely regarded as "supertall." At least 33 supertall buildings have been completed in the past 80 or so years, including the current tallest, the 508-meter Taipei 101 in Taiwan, built in 2004.

Of the planned buildings, only five will be in the United States.

Many of the world's new supertall buildings are rising in overcrowded cities where land is scarce and an emerging middle class is clamoring for modern office and living space. But experts say the drive to go tall also reflects the aspiration of Asian and Gulf countries to join the ranks of the developed world and to assert that their long-awaited moment in history has finally come.

For now, the busiest builder remains Dubai, as the bustling port in the United Arab Emirates grows into the Gulf's financial center. The city has poured billions of its oil and banking dollars into dozens of gleaming high-rises that have sprung out of what was until recently empty desert.

According to Emporis, 15 of the supertalls planned or under way are located there, including the Burj Dubai, a $1 billion, 161- story tower scheduled for completion next year that will be - at least for a while - the world's tallest man-made structure, besting the 628-meter KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota.

The Burj's Dubai-based owners hope that by not revealing its height until the final spire is fitted, they will frustrate rivals' plans to immediately outdo them. Most speculation puts the Burj's height at just above 800 meters.

Such heights are possible because of new high-performance concretes and composite materials and advances in engineering. One of the Burj's chief structural engineers, Ahmad Abdelrazaq, said that computer simulations allowed for increasingly innovative designs.

"Tall buildings are all about the technologies available," said Abdelrazaq, an executive director at Samsung Engineering & Construction, one of the main contractors building the Burj. "Humans have always aspired to go to the highest point they can reach, and the technologies determine how high that is."

Abdelrazaq said wind is one of the biggest challenges for supertall buildings. The Burj has a series of platforms along its height that form a spiraling helix shape, forcing air currents harmlessly upward and preventing the formation of deadly whirlwind- like vortexes, he said.

The Taipei 101 overcomes the forces of wind and earthquakes by using a different technology, called a tuned mass damper - essentially, a 600-ton ball suspended by cables inside the building's top.

The damper acts as a huge pendulum, steadying the building when it starts to sway.

Just as the invention of the elevator made early skyscrapers feasible, faster, better elevators are crucial now. The Taipei 101's aerodynamic, bullet-shaped elevators rise to the building's 89th- floor observation deck in 37 seconds. Experts say in the future, tall buildings could use elevators that move on magnets instead of cables, allowing them to move sideways and diagonally.

In South Korea, the burst of economic and nationalist passion has borne proposals for a dozen supertall buildings. Some, experts say, may never break ground, but others seem certain.

The $3 billion Songdo Incheon Towers will be the centerpiece of a 5,260-hectare, or 13,000-acre, urban development, called Songdo International City.

Estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars, the project is the product of this gritty port city's ambition to transform itself into a transportation and high-technology research hub.

Incheon officials hope the towers will replace General MacArthur's epic landing as a symbol for the city.
clock07-07-2012, 06:17 PM
Yorum: #2
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