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Saudi Arabia Constructing World's Tallest Building

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the perhaps-to-house-a-language-institute dept.

Technology 225

kkleiner writes "1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet. That's two-thirds of a mile. When the Kingdom Tower is built on the outskirts of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia it will not only become the tallest building in the world, it will shatter the old record. The total cost for the tower is approximately $1.2 billion. It features a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, luxury condominiums, top class office space and the world's highest observatory."

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225 comments

prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988656)

Comments about someone flying a plane into it, coming in 3... 2... 1....

Re:prediction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988722)

This one will be built by the bin Laden group, nice

soo... (-1)

buanzo (542591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988658)

1000 meters = 1 kilometer so.. ~ 10 blocks nice. 3280. sounds ugly. 2/3 mile. ROFL. first post?

Pumping (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988678)

The next time you go at the pump, think about that !

Re:Pumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989068)

Why? Are they planning on moving the building to Calgary after they build it?

Re:Pumping (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989074)

The next time you go at the pump, think about that !

The consolation is that a US firm was paid to design it for them.

observatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988682)

isn't the middle of a city a bad place for an observatory with all the light pollution and whatnot?

Re:observatory (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988892)

TFA says its being built on the outskirts of Jeddah, so depending on how far out they mean by "outskirts", the light pollution may be manageable.

The bigger issue, I think, is that this is basically a giant vanity project that will probably end up like the Burj Khalifa: Deep in debt with rapidly falling rents and tons of empty space. Jeddah is right next to Mecca, so they probably won't have a lot of trouble filling it with rich foreign Muslims during the Hajj, but it seems like it would be a bit of a challenge during other parts of the year. I guess the Saudis have enough money to burn on crap like this, but it seems they could find a more intelligent way to invest in their own country other than building giant luxury hotels.

Re:observatory (4, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989004)

The most prominent ruin-to-be from the height of the empire, the days of peak oil. Give it 50 years and the few rag-clad scavengers populating the lower levels will wonder what the fuck anyone thought when they built this....

Re:observatory (5, Insightful)

LoP_XTC (312463) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989104)

The most prominent ruin-to-be from the height of the empire, the days of peak oil. Give it 50 years and the few rag-clad scavengers populating the lower levels will wonder what the fuck anyone thought when they built this....

Brings to mind the Aztechnology building from Shadowrun. C*O's and filthy rich at the top, and the just plain filthy at the bottom.

Re:observatory (0)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989480)

That appears to be the master plan, seeing the spread between filthy rich and just plain filthy getting bigger and bigger as of late. Also, I need to find me a Shadowrun game again... ;)

Re:observatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989404)

Then again, comparing the Saudi economy to the American economy, and their national debts, maybe they don't need any advice from the US.

Re:observatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989574)

this is basically a giant vanity project

More to the point, it's a giant penis. Yes those arabs are in love with the phallus. Now if only they could find a goat big enough...

Re:observatory (3, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989096)

isn't the middle of a city a bad place for an observatory with all the light pollution and whatnot?

I think they mean observatory as in "a place to look out and observe". Not an astronomical observatory.

Re:observatory (2, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989412)

I don't think they mean an astronomical observatory. I believe it's just a deck where people can view the surrounding land. An astronomical observatory wouldn't be very useful on top of a building even a quarter of that height. Not only do you have to contend with light pollution, and regular pollution, but those buildings sway so much that you couldn't possibly get an exposure of any significant duration.

Not two thirds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988686)

3280 feet / 5280 ft*mile^-1 != 2/3

Re:Not two thirds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988850)

3280 / 5280 = .62... Which is close enough to 2/3 to satisfy me.

Of course, I'm perfectly happy estimating a meter as 3 feet. (or calling 45 minutes a half hour, for that matter)

Re:Not two thirds (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988960)

It's not too far from 2/3. (1.86)/3 is more accurate, if you want to stick with thirds.

5/8 is the fraction I would have used, seeing as anyone who runs track in the U.S. knows that 1600m is about 1 mile.

Prediction of epSos.de (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988700)

Before somebody asks.
Yes, It will run Crisis !!!

HOOOOLY SHIT (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988704)

That's nearly twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa according to the graphic in TFA 8-(

Re:HOOOOLY SHIT (2)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988792)

That's nearly twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa according to the graphic in TFA 8-(

Nah, only about 500 feet (or 20%) taller.

Re:HOOOOLY SHIT (3, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988862)

Ah I see. Looks like they did their graphic wrong.

I was searching to double-check the height and it was originally planned to be 1 mile tall but they had to scale back, so I guess the graphic was based on the original height.

Re:HOOOOLY SHIT (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988868)

There doesn't seem to be much agreement on exactly how tall it will be. Google results vary between 1 kilometer, 1 mile, and "1000-meter-plus ... a closely guarded secret".

Guess we'll just have to wait and find out.

Re:HOOOOLY SHIT (5, Insightful)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989474)

Yes. It's a closely guarded secret, lest someone else design and construct another tower from scratch, in less time than it takes them to construct, and makes it one foot taller, stealing their thunder. That should eliminate any doubt as to whether this is anything more than a giant architectural penis.

Re:HOOOOLY SHIT (3, Informative)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988886)

Look at the graphic again. It clearly lists the Burj Khalifa as 512m.

GameboyRMH's statement is purely accurate. According to the "graphic", it is nearly twice as tall.

Of course, the next next to the graphic lists the Burj Khalifa as 828m, which is the correct value.

The whole article is badly written, IMO.

Re:HOOOOLY SHIT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989206)

I think the only conclusion we can safely draw is that Faisal has a tiny weenie.

Re:HOOOOLY SHIT (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988814)

The graphic is showing the new tower at 1 mile, not one km. In that case it would be twice as tall.

Our Engineers and Architects (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989526)

In my opinion, there is something wrong when the west's best engineers and architects are designing structures in countries that train very few of their own engineers and architects. It seems to me an economic distortion that is a result of our oversized reliance on foreign oil. Our best and our brightest are often not working on building our own society. I am skeptical of the long term economic wisdom of our current system.

Compensating for something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988708)

n/t

Re:Compensating for something? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988970)

Yes. A total lack of concern for the welfare of the people of the world, whom they're reaming on energy prices and threatening to enslave with their idiot religion.

Re:Compensating for something? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989166)

You should check out what they are doing to their own subjects, makes their relationship to the rest of the world look downright friendly.

Re:Compensating for something? (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989626)

Take heart - there's a theory about skyscrapers [wikipedia.org] that states that when a society starts building really big ones it's only a dozen or so years away from bankruptcy.

Man I thought that said "Klingon" Tower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988714)

/disappointed

Interesting (4, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988716)

I assume they're building it on the site of the old Tower of Babel, as a memorial to those who lost their lives there some 6000 years ago...

Re:Interesting (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988956)

I wonder if it's a bit of architect's humor that the Burj Khalifa's sections hint at a conical tower with a spiralled path on the outside like the traditional depictions of the Tower of Babel.

Re:Interesting (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989048)

Well, that is the classic Ziggurath design that inspired the whole Tower of Babel story. Mostly useless, ritualistic mega-structures, the only use being the observatory post on top to watch the stars and determine the seasons - which could have been done with much less crap around it. I don't think the architect aimed at the Tower story as such, but rather cited the Ziggurath as classical structure of the region.

Re:Interesting (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989288)

Ziggurats usually have terraced sides and a set of stairs (if anything) to get to the top, not the same thing as a spiral path, although they have kind of a similar look. The sections of the Burj Khalifa have offset heights like parts of a spiral path, and I can't think of any historical structure with a spiral path winding to the top.

Re:Interesting (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989440)

Absolutely true about the details - but I was rather thinking of the impression. The same thing that made the GP think of Tower of Babel made me immediately think of Zigguraths, and I rather believe that this was what the architect wanted to evoke. But, in the end, that's only speculation - haven't heard any statement from him. Just seems more natural as source for an architectural citation.

Re:Interesting (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989384)

If you're referring to the Biblical account, nobody lost their lives. They just all started speaking different languages.

Short-Sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988718)

Paying foreigners to build gigantic monuments isn't a great long-term strategy. When the oil dries up how is this stuff all going to be maintained in the middle of a desert wasteland. But I guess the current kleptocracy will be dead by then and don't really care. Just seems like they could spend money employing foreigners to teach their own citizens about engineering or whatever. But when you look at Dubai and how they have to import incredible amounts of water for their fake islands... you can only imagine when there's no more oil how it's going to be totally destroyed and the dolphins will be eaten for food by roaming nomads.

Re:Short-Sighted (4, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988798)

When the oil dries up it's going to become a playground for the hyper-rich, at least that's their plan.

If that fails, well it'll make an awesome post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Re:Short-Sighted (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988936)

If that fails, well it'll make an awesome post-apocalyptic wasteland.

True, but who is going to want to climb that many flights of stairs to have their climactic last-stand against the zombie hordes on the observatory deck?

Re:Short-Sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989012)

Sign me in!

Re:Short-Sighted (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989044)

"Who the hell... puts an evac station... up three hundred flights of goddamn stairs?" - Coach, Left 4 Dead 2

Re:Short-Sighted (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989184)

Zombie hordes? Come on, there needs to be some kind of big bad guy at the top. I'm thinking a cross between the Maledict and DMC4's lightning demon. Players will shit their pants.

Re:Short-Sighted (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989026)

For the most part, the rich don't like shitty backwater Arab countries. Just ask Bahrain... They might be rich, but the vast majority of the civilized world still finds them and their horribly repressive culture fucking disgusting.

Die Hardest (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988744)

Too bad Gruber bit it in the first movie. A building this tall would surely keep him and McClane pretty busy for a sequel.

Re:Die Hardest (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989042)

no problem, Gruber can come from a large family..I think it's time for a hot Gruber sister to step up to face McClane as a vengeful-thief-pretending-to-be-terrorist.

Re:Die Hardest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989660)

Never understood why Snape didn't simply put an avedakedavra curse on Bruce Willis.

Winning is everything! (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988772)

Stopped reading TFA after:

At least 173 meters (568 feet) taller, sight-seers on the tower’s observation deck could see how long it takes for their spit to hit the top of Burj Khalifa (this is, if they weren’t hundreds of miles apart).

Yes. We got it. Its taller.

Large buildings in small cities (2)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988804)

Is it just me or do these super high skyscrapers look out of place when the surrounding buildings are so small? It seems they are more concerned about the record than the overall skyline. I also wonder if western tourist would be well received there.

Re:Large buildings in small cities (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988848)

Four Seasons isn't counting on western tourists too much anymore; they're increasingly serving Chinese patrons.

In mekka? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988944)

Parts are restricted to non-muslims. Presumably not the parts westerners buy oil but Mekka is not a city known for its openness to visitors.

Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (4, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988806)

When I first read that my first thought was that they would have telescopes up there. But all they mean is an observation deck. How disappointing.

More seriously, TFA discusses how this is part of the attempt by Saudi Arabia to move away from having an economy run off of oil. So this will have hotels and offices inside. I'm not sure that this is the best thing to do to get off of such things given how many basic problems Saudi Arabia has and how many fairly cheap things could be done to improve the education and general productivity of most of the population.

One thing that will be an obvious issue for such a large building is the exact layout and behavior of the elevator system. Some modern tall buildings have elevators that don't have simple up and down buttons but rather have a keypad where one punches in what floor one wants to go to and then the system optimizes which elevator to send to you rather than simply sending the next available elevator in that direction. This also allows elevators to travel at faster than the amount they can deaccelerate in a single floor. There's some non-trivial math involved in making such systems, and even making them slightly more efficient can have large scale payoffs simply due to the sheer number of people. As real-estate becomes more expensive and scarce throughout the planet, we're going to need to look more and more at how pre-existing very large buildings have handled these sorts of issues. So I'm happy that we have people like the Saudis doing this now long before we really need it.

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988976)

Another big problem is the shear amount of space these mega sky scrapers make available. This single building will probably represent a 25% increase in the amount of lease-able business space in the downtown area, and it will of course come with a premium price point so that you can say you have offices in the tallest building in the world.

Take a look at what happened to the Burj Khalifa, and how many of their spaces are sitting empty today because of a slump in their economy.

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988980)

When I first read that my first thought was that they would have telescopes up there. But all they mean is an observation deck. How disappointing.

Yeah that didn't make much sense to me... It wouldn't even be close to the highest observatory, because those usually go on mountains which still beat the pants off our structures. And they also go as far from civilization as possible because of light pollution.

Oh well. I still see no reason they couldn't put a reasonably big telescope on it!

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989280)

My knowledge of astronomy is very limited, but as far as I know Saudi Arabia is at sea level, basically the tower will be 1000 m above the sea, isn't a mountain side observatory much better? I mean there are plenty mountains well over 1km high with none of that light pollution, and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989414)

The sway that you get at the top of a skyscraper would make telescopes impractical, they'd have to constantly compensate for variation in sway due to wind.

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36988990)

Building this will have a lot of spin-off jobs in the area. Why not build it in Saudi? They can increase their mechanical engineering chops and then create an economy around that.

1.2 Billion sound like a steal, for a project of this magnitude. Hopefully they don't go too far over budget.

My concern is: Are they going to fill it to occupancy once they build it?

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989088)

How does building a tower full of hotels and offices help you move away from an oil economy? When their oil is gone, what would people use that hotel and offices for?

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (2)

pz (113803) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989132)

An office-mate of mine in graduate school had worked on a predictive elevator algorithm that is found in some larger office buildings. It tracks the temporal pattern of elevator calls and tried to optimize empty car direction (up, down) and idle placement, among other things. So, for example, at 9am, the optimal action for an empty car without a pending call is to go to the ground floor since it's highly likely the next call will come from people entering the building to head to their offices. Similarly, at noon, the optimal action is to head to the middle of the building since the next call is more likely to come from someone wanting to head down to go out for lunch. Given a few minutes' worth of thought, I'm sure nearly anyone on Slashdot could come up with some very good ideas on optimizing not only empty direction and idle placement for a single car, but multiple cars as well.

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989666)

Given a few minutes' worth of thought, I'm sure nearly anyone on Slashdot could come up with some very good ideas on optimizing not only empty direction and idle placement for a single car, but multiple cars as well.

Shit, we can do it better. We can always do it better. That's why we're here.

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989134)

I'm not sure that this is the best thing to do to get off of such things given how many basic problems Saudi Arabia has and how many fairly cheap things could be done to improve the education and general productivity of most of the population.

The last thing the Saudis want is an educated populace. This is about the super rich blowing their money for fun, they do not care about the general population one iota.

Re:Observatory doesn't mean what I thought (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989268)

The best way to get off an oil driven economy is to build things that are completely dependent upon an oil driven economy. Brilliant.

lot's of Tall sky building have sky lobbies where (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989274)

You take a express elevator that stops only at the sky lobby's and then switch over to a local one (some of them have local stacked on top of each other so they don't need lot's of space for all the elevators) other places have banks of elevators that only go to one set of floors.

The keypad system may be better for places where most of the elevators stop on all floors.

We don't need a spec (3, Interesting)

Whatsisname (891214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988832)

From TFA:

The final details of Kingdom Tower’s design are yet to be worked out, but construction is to begin immediately.

We all know how well that impacts budgets and schedules for software projects!

Re:We don't need a spec (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989032)

You know that it's going to need one hell of a foundation, regardless of what the finials on the tippy top look like.

Re:We don't need a spec (4, Interesting)

pz (113803) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989344)

That and there's going to be hectares upon hectares of land that need to be cleared, barracks and sundry support systems for the thousands of construction workers that need to be built along with access roads and materials staging areas. If the weight budget has been finalized, the geological surveys for the foundation and maybe even the excavation can begin.

Re:We don't need a spec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989076)

Well the bin Ladens are constructing it so they don't have to worry about a plane being flown in to it.

Re:We don't need a spec (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989484)

From TFA:

The final details of Kingdom Tower's design are yet to be worked out, but construction is to begin immediately.

We all know how well that impacts budgets and schedules for software projects!

budgets, schedules and outcome

I wonder what it looks like when a building segfaults?

How many hungry people could be fed instead? (1, Funny)

morikahnx (1323841) | more than 2 years ago | (#36988982)

Wonder how many people $1.2 billion could feed. Think they'll be able to see Somalia from on top of that tall building. Could someone do the math on that?

Re:How many hungry people could be fed instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989186)

what does it matter, our country is spending nearly that much shotting legos in space

Re:How many hungry people could be fed instead? (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989300)

Even at 1000 meters, you'd only be able to see about 120 km. The distance you can see over the horizon is roughly proportional to the square root of your height above the surface. To see Somalia from Jeddah, you'd have to build a 100km tall tower. If they built it to 3000m, you might be able to see northern Sudan from the peak.

As to feeding Somalis, assuming about 1 USD / day to feed a person, you could feed all of Somalia for 4 months

Re:How many hungry people could be fed instead? (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989376)

Protip:

The causes of famine are politics first, logistics second, and lack of actual food last. It's been this way for a long time. If you have warlords refusing NGOs like UNICEF, then the problem isn't spending money on a building a thousand miles away. There is plenty of food to go around. The problem is getting it there.

--
BMO

Re:How many hungry people could be fed instead? (1)

kgeiger (1339271) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989700)

Wonder how many people $1.2 billion could feed. Think they'll be able to see Somalia from on top of that tall building. Could someone do the math on that?

Quite a few, especially architects, engineers, construction laborers, logistics companies, and materials suppliers. After construction, a tourist industry and thousands of support staff, maintenance technicians, office managers, and other occupants, and a large supply chain for power, water, sewer, building services, decorators, etc.

Car Parking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989064)

So the penthouses will probably sell for lots of millions of {insert currency here} value

but.....

I bet they don't say that you will need to park your {insert name of expensive car here} up to 1km away from your front door

A white elephant (1)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989328)

So will anyone go there? If you like a drink, are female or gay, Christian or atheist is there any way you would go there unless you were forced to do so on business?

And once the oil does run out the reasons for doing so become even more remote.

Re:A white elephant (2)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989530)

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of drinking goes on in the hotel, since it's supposed to be posh. I'm told that in countries with strict laws about alcohol, the uber-rich drink a lot in "private," as a way of flaunting their wealth.

Waste of money (1)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989334)

Building a non-oil-based economy would require social and educational development, which in turn requires leadership, or in other words, insight and hard work by the ruling elites.

However building the tallest phallic symbol just requires throwing money at immigrant workers, and in the long run will accomplish nothing much except an impressive symbol of wasted wealth. But it leaves more playtime for the rulers, and a clear sense of accomplishment ("look at that!")... as opposed to actually empowering their people, which would probably be counter-productive to the rulers anyway, diluting their grip on the region.

Burj Kalafia - space available (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36989418)

If you want an apartment in Dubai, the Burj Kalafia has space available. Rates start at about $20K/year for a hotel-room sized apartment.

Re:Burj Kalafia - space available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989608)

I pay more right here in NY

love the innovative needle design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989464)

To be fair, I guess these structures are pushing the strength of materials, and a boxy type structure is probably out of the question.

skyscraperpage.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989532)

http://skyscraperpage.com/ is THE site on the web if your interested in these kinds of things.

American War relief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36989566)

they should thank america for blowing thier own economy on a war so they can build this tower....

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