Tall Tale

Tall Tale

THE SOURCE: “Lust for Height” by Philip Nobel, at American.com, Jan.–Feb. 2007.

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The height of the Burj Dubai, the Persian Gulf mega-skyscraper slated for completion in 2009, is a closely guarded secret, but it is rumored that the structure will soar more than 160 stories, to around 2,600 feet. So much for fears that the World Trade Center attacks doomed tall-building construction. Freedom Tower, to be built at Ground Zero, will stand a symbolic 1,776 feet tall—408 feet more than the original towers. Even a mile-high building—proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s—no longer seems preposterous. According to Philip Nobel, author of Sixteen Acres: Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero (2004), “The technologies are waiting for the money and the willing client.”

Today’s tallest building—a 101-story tower in Taipei standing 1,666 feet—will be eclipsed next year by the Lotte World II Tower in Busan, South Korea, which “will edge seven feet higher,” Nobel reports. The Dubai tower will then claim the title, almost guaranteeing that another future building in nearby Doha “will likely make little news: At 1,460 feet it is a baby—only 10 feet taller than the Sears Tower.”

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