By: Jan Karlsbjerg, Ph.D – Vancouver Techie
A new record-breaking building is being built in Dubai: An 800m tall building called Durj Dubai. In terms of surrealism, it doesn’t quite beat another Dubai project (palm shaped island city for the obscenely rich), but it’s close.The article says that the building will be “300 meters taller than the tallest floored building in the world today, the Taipei Tower in Taiwan”. It also leaves the Canadian CN Tower in the dust (553m). The CN Tower has the claim (which every Canadian can recite from memory) of being “the world’s tallest free-standing structure”. The term “free-standing structure” always seemed quite odd to me, and I suspected it was a disclaimer that would somehow distinguish the CN Tower from other (taller) structures that were part of a larger complex of buildings and so couldn’t be said to be “free-standing”. I became even more confused when I found these two, very different lists from the same source: The world’s tallest towers, and the world’s tallest buildings. But the notes on the pages are quite helpful. For example the definition of “tower”.
“A tower differs from a building in that the latter has floors, and is designed for residential, business, or manufacturing use. The structures listed here are principally telecommunications towers, and while they may have observation decks or restaurants, they do not have floors all the way up.“
Thus the CN Tower is a real tower (unlike the Petronas Towers) in that it’s basically a tall antenna. The term “free-standing” is explained too as “not supported by guy-wires”. The record for wire-supported structures was the Warszawa Radio Mast at 646m (it collapsed in during renovation work in 1991), so the new Durj Dubai will even surpass this infinitely lighter construction type by 150m. Amazing.