Architects are taking more risks than before with building designs, but some just border on the ridiculous. Over the years, it is not only the risks that have doubled but also the heights and costs of building these skyscrapers.
Today, we look at 11 structures that really make us wonder: how and why?
1. The Antilia, Mumbai
Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey private residence is believed to be valued at $1 billion, just under the value of Buckingham Palace. The home was named after a mythical island in the Atlantic and has more floor space than the Palace of Versailles. The building has three helipads, parking space to house 160 cars, and a staff of 600 employees.
2. Elephant Building, Bangkok
To the rest of us, this building may seem an oddity but for the natives, it’s a tribute to their national animal. The structure has 32 office spaces, shops, and luxury apartments. The ears of the building are multi-storey balconies while the tusks are the humble abode of its management company.
3. Umeda Sky Building, Osaka
The 173-meter-tall Umeda Sky Building comprises two towers that are connected with each other by the “Floating Garden Observatory” situated on the 39th floor. While offices occupy most other floors, the basement houses a restaurant floor that replicates a town of the early Showa Period.
4. Kingdom Centre, Riyadh
The 99-storey skyscraper is the fifth-largest in Saudi Arabia, which cost an estimated $1 billion to build. The second floor is home to a shopping mall, bank, and mosque that is reserved only for women. The skyscraper has been designed by Minnesota-based firm Ellerbe Necket. The Centre also houses a hotel, offices, apartments, and a 184-foot skybridge.
5. The Shard, London
Also known as the Shard of Glass, this 95-storey skyscraper designed by the Italian architect Renzo Pianois the tallest building in the United Kingdom. The 802-foot-tall glass pyramidal tower consists of 72 habitable floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck located on the 72nd floor.
6. Aqua, Chicago
Not many know this but Chicago’s 82-storey Aqua tower happens to be the tallest building in the world designed by a woman named Jeanne Gang. This peculiar skyscraper stands out for its balconies that jut out into the sky, lending the tower a wobbly effect. In that sense, it is by no means a traditional Chicago tower. The eighty-story tower is topped by a terrace with gardens, gazebos, pools, hot tubs, a running track and a fire pit.
7. AlDar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi
The United Arab Emirates boasts some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers but not many know that it also houses the world’s first circular building as well. Also known as the coin building, the revolutionary ‘stacked dinner plate’ prototype structure was designed by UAE-based MZ Architects.
8. Taipei 101, Taipei
Stretching to 101 storeys, the Taipei 101 building hovers over Taiwan and costs $1.8 billion. While the ground floor features a giant sphere painted gold, the other floors contain offices, shops, and a restaurant. It used to house the fastest elevator in the world, traveling at a speed of 60.6 km per hour and transporting passengers from the 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds, before the title went to the Shanghai Tower in China.
9. Lippo Centre, Hong Kong
Because some believe that the building’s facade resembles koala bears climbing trees, the Lippo Centre is nicknamed the Koala Buildings. It was designed by American architect Paul Rudolph. The Centre comprises of two towers with the first one comprising of 46 office floors and the second one consisting of 42 storeys.
10. Porsche Design Tower, Miami
It is a residential skyscraper designed by Porsche Design Studio, which stretches up to 641 feet with 60 storeys. The tower’s unique design comes from its inclusion of a robotic parking garage that has a parking space for 284 cars. There are three drive-in elevators that take cars right inside their owners’ living rooms.
11. Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
Consisting of two high-rise towers – the Boulevard Tower and the Chelsea Tower – this $3.9 billion skyscraper set stands tall at 603 feet. The luxury resort and casino hotel consists of 3,027 hotel rooms, many of which house their own private terrace, casino, restaurant space, spa and fitness facility, a theater, and convention space.
From bizarre designs to heights that virtually touch the sky, these skyscrapers have redefined the term word ‘buildings’. And how!
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