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Height Engineering: Conceiving Of Limits To Skyscrapers

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Everyone knows money, practicality, and common sense thwart developments on a regular basis. This is especially true for those developers engaged in the incessant race to build the world's next tallest skyscraper. A worldwide boom is giving us a new tallest structure just about every year. While the getting is good, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat posed this question to architect Adrian Smith, structural engineer William Baker, and others: "What do you think is the single biggest limiting factor that would prevent humanity creating a mile-high tower or higher?" The answers tended toward the pragmatic. But physically speaking, limits to elevator technology and the width of the base required for ever-higher buildings would probably hold towers to a mile's height or less. But Baker can conceive of something eventually topping Mt. Everest with new 'buttressed core' designs, as long as you keep spreading the base. Yeah, 6-mile-high towers would sure be something. Something of questionable intelligence. Atlantic Cities breaks it down some more. [Atlantic Cities, rendering: Kingdom Tower]