Supertall skyscrapers aren't necessarily built to fit as many people inside as possible--sometimes they're just aiming to be, well, really tall. Large portions of these buildings are designed to increase height, but remain unoccupied. Wasteful!
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a not-for-profit organization that tracks the world's skyscrapers, just released some data on that subject. Surprise! Some really tall buildings don't need to be so tall.
The CTBUH uses the term "vanity spires" to describe tops of buildings where a ton of extra height is added, even though that space isn't used for people. By unused height, here are the 10 buildings with the most ridiculous spires:
So the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at nearly 830 meters, has 244 meters of unoccupied space. To put that in context, as the CTBUH does, if that 244 meters were itself a building, it would be the 11th tallest in Europe.
Here, meanwhile, are those buildings broken down geographically:
Pretty crazy, right? But it's also not new. Think about classic skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, which were similarly designed with big spires. You might notice that the skyscrapers with the largest vanity spires were all built fairly recently--the oldest is from 1999--but there are also just more supertall buildings being erected. It would take a little more math to say buildings like this are on the rise, so to speak.
It's also not clear how these spires change the buildings' environmental footprints, although we know at least one of them listed above, the Bank of America Tower in New York, has some pretty serious efficiency issues.
One of the study's authors, CTBUH's Daniel Safarik, wrote in an email to PopularScience.com that "we did not explicitly look at how vanity height affects environmental footprint for this study, but that is clearly one of the most vital issues implied by the findings." Just having the title of "tallest" is a draw for a building, he says--it matters less what all that space is used for. So what to do? "If [a tallest building] criteria were based on 'highest occupied floor,' in theory, there would be less of an incentive to have the 'vanity height,'" Safarik writes.
Until that changes, more buildings may add vanity height just to top other structures. Or maybe we can keep things the way they are, and just have a skyscraper where you can't go above the lobby.
You can check out more data from CTBUH here.
So, do they actually not allow anyone to occupy the upper floors or are you taking the "unoccupied space" and arbitrarily assigning it to the upper floors for your graphic? Maybe it is the middle floors that are unoccupied? Your story is unclear or at least implies that the elevators essentially never run to the upper floors...
It looks odd that you have scaled your graphic so it visually appears as if all the buildings are "occupied" to the same height when, according to your numerics, they are not.
The buildings are on the same ground. He moved the buildings around so that his line is the same height every building.
If you look at Buraj Al Arab and Emirates tower one. It looks like Buraj Al Arab is taller, but if you look at the data: 321m vs 355 it becomes clear that the graph is made to order the magnitude of the "cheating".
Are not on the same ground*
If you change the criteria to tallest occupied floor, they will just add a single, commercially available, 6'x6' cubicle at the top of the spire. Bam! Tallest building in the world!
So I could theoretically build a one-story house with a 1000-meter spire and have the world's tallest building.
The link in the article "www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-07/greenest-skyscraper-nyc-actually-least-green" pulls up an 'Access Denied' page.
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It's not just wasted height, they put cell and radio towers on the top of most. And pop sci sceen the coments to stop all this spam. Really?
I am sure they also have mechanical rooms up there. not to mention anti swaying devices.Also it seems most have roughly the same amount of "wasted?" space. Also they just say unoccupied space, what about buildings not actually tall, how much unoccupied space do they have?
It's easy to forget the number of subterranean floors lie under these buildings.
Then too, the last I heard, the Burj Khalifa was basically unoccupied, and not hooked up to a sewage treatment facility either. You couldn't get an occupancy permit for it around here, but it sure works as sculpture.
Come on people! You remember the "Who has the tallest......" competition when the Chrysler building was being built, Right? Walter Chrysler was determined to have the tallest building. His bitter enemy, H. Craig Severance was constructing the Bank of Manhattan building at the same time. Both men determined to have the tallest building. When the Height of the Bank building was announced, Chrysler instructed his engineers to design a spire surreptitiously within the top of the building. On the same day (or within a few days) that the Bank Building raised it's spire, Chrysler then raised his 185 foot spire through the roof creating a finished height of 1,048 feet, 121 feet taller than his downtown rival. It's a great story of one upmanship!
what exactly is in these spaces
Tony Ruiz What is going unsaid here is the the stupid Dubai high-rise towers have no sewer connections and massive truck loads must transport the loads of crap and urine to a mutual dumpsite, creating a virtually never-ending line of the tankers from 'downtown' to the dump site. And these people are so egotistical when in fact their whole system is full of crap.
Perhaps a definition for highest useful building such as: "The distance in meters of a straight path parallel to the local gravity vector and going from the highest grade point on the building's perimeter to the highest point in the building wherein said path always remains in the building and always transits space which is serviced by elevator, water feed, and sewage service and either essential to building maintenance or available for occupancy which includes human participation ."
Thanks for sticking to the Metric SI, and not converting and dumming down the numbers. Its time to only use one system in America (Metric SI), not two!