Sara Clemence of Forbes.com writes,
Seventy-five years after it opened its doors, the Empire State Building looms large — and not just on the Manhattan skyline. In many minds, it remains the ultimate skyscraper, though it has been more than three decades since the art deco tower ceded its title of tallest in the world.
Today, the Empire State is the ninth-tallest building (not counting communications or observation towers) and soon will be bumped down even further by new projects. Financing extremely tall towers can be complicated — even transporting people up and down can be difficult. But construction technology doesn’t limit the heights of our skyscrapers, according to experts. And since humans remain ambitious and nations ever-desirous of flaunting their wealth and know-how, buildings are getting loftier by the year.
“We’re seeing a tremendous amount of activity overseas, whether it’s in Asia or the Middle East,” says Ron Klemencic, chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and president of Seattle-based structural engineering firm Magnusson Klemencic Associates. “For countries that are emerging on the economic scene, very tall buildings are symbols of their economic strength.”
The tallest building in the world, Taipei 101, was completed in 2004. It is a national symbol for Taiwan, as are the Petronas Towers for Malaysia. A government plan to bring Malaysia into the developed world by 2020, Klemencic points out, included a scheme to garner attention with very tall buildings.
Building technology is easily able to keep up with development demands, says Leslie Robertson, head of Leslie E. Robertson and Associates and the structural engineer for the World Trade Center. So where are the limits?
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