Sympathetic Stupid

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sky City, Tokyo

This is an amazing plan. Sky City, here and here.

Another plan for the tallest building in the world, this time in Tokyo. (Anyone willing to bet that these schemes are always thought up by men? It's all a big pissing contest, really.) But this one is slightly different.

The idea is to build three identical towers in a triangle. There'd be a stadium between them on the ground. And they'd be connected at the top, with a huge suspended, um, platform? with a central 'core' descending fifty floors or so.

I can't imagine the scale of this project. 1000 metres is three times the height of the Eiffel Tower. Nope, that doesn't really help. Covers 800 hectares. Weighing six million tons. That's no better. Housing 35k residents and 100k workers daily. So big that no factory can fabricate girders, so they'll be forged on site in a factory that is lifted as the tower grows.

I can feel it in my testosterone.

It's got some interesting credentials. To mitigate high winds, it's rounded and shaped in lumps, with big gaps between every group of floors. And because it's vaguely pyramidal, it should be earthquake/tsunami tolerant. They're talking up the saving in ground-based construction; which 'could free areas of a city like Tokyo for greenery, perhaps lowering temperatures and reducing pollution'. That I'll believe when I see a developer or three selling their land back to the public for use as a park.

I like this: 'Even a rounded building will sway, and Sky City engineers would have to design massive counterweights ... or active dampers on a scale never attempted'. Sounds like a minor technical problem.

It's an awesome plan. I like having the boundaries pushed; this should lead to advances in construction and engineering technology. Though I can't help but think that possibly nanotech could make all of this a lot easier. But who knows how far away that is?