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Architectural marvels: 13 mind blowing skyscrapers

Last updated on: February 20, 2014 16:31 IST

Architectural marvels: 13 mind blowing skyscrapers

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Skyscrapers represent ambition. When a city wants to show its wealth, status, power, importance, it starts building sky soaring structures.

They immediately turn iconic with the world marvelling at them and tourists go in hordes to see the display of human achievement.

Skyscrapers, however, are hard to build and it’s difficult to make money out of them. They are more expensive to construct and the usable area is lesser than a regular sized building.

Among the spate of skyscrapers constructed every year, there are few that actually come into existence due to urban planning issues (such as lack of space) or have innovative designs to make them environmental friendly.

Emporis, a global provider of building information, awards such buildings every year based on their excellence in design and functionality. Here we features the award winning buildings from Emporis since the year 2000.

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Image: Turning Torso.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Emporis

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Sofitel

Location: New York City, US

Height: 108.63 metres

Floors: 30

Year of winning best building award: 2000

Architect: Brennan Beer Gorman / Architects

The Sofitel is a 400-room boutique hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The hotel is inspired by French traditions in furnishings and theme, and the hotel staff are bilingual in French and English, according to Wikipedia.

The building features a limestone-and-glass tower flanked by two rectangular 20-story wings, according to Emporis. The facade looking onto West 45th Street was inspired by limestone buildings of the Parisian Moderne.

The tower won the award for its highly-striking and yet functional design.

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Photographs: Rob Young/Wikimedia Commons

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One Wall Centre

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Height: 149.80 metres

Floors: 48

Year of winning best building award: 2001

Architect: Busby + Associates Architects

One Wall Centre, also known as the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel, is a narrow 48-story elliptical tower, which is pointed at both ends, and clad, in blue glass with a sloping roof.

It has a hotel with residential condominiums. It won due to the highly-successful combination of its design and functionality.

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Photographs: ItzaFineDay/Wikimedia Commons

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Kingdom Centre

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Height: 302.33 metre

Floors: 32

Year of winning best building award: 2002

Architect: Ellerbe Becket, Inc. and Omrania & Associates

Its unique design makes Kingdom Centre a symbol of the city of Riyadh and is the second tallest skyscraper in the in the country.

Besides the shopping mall, KingdomTower contains the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh and state-of-the-art apartments.

The elliptical tower is crowned by a curved opening and can be seen from almost anywhere in Saudi Arabia's capital, according to Emporis.

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Photographs: King Eliot/Wikimedia Commons
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30 St Mary Axe

Location: London, UK

Height: 179.80 metres

Floors: 41

Year of winning best building award: 2003

Architect: Foster + Partners

30 St Mary Axe, also called as ‘the Gherkin’ is a landmark building in London.

Its unique shape imparts a new character to the financial district in the "City" at the heart of London, says Emporis.

The curving tower stretches 41 stories into the sky. The building won over the jury due to its fascinating facade and its sustainability and energy efficiency.

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Photographs: Paste/Wikimedia Commons

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Taipei 101

Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Height: 509.20 metres

Floors: 48

Year of winning best building award: 2004

Architect: C.Y. Lee & Partners

Taipei 101 was crowned winner of the Emporis Skyscraper Award, convincing the jury on design and functional criteria.

Built according to Feng Shui principles and named for its 101 stories, the shape of the tower was inspired by a bamboo stalk to withstand the extreme loads that can occur in Taiwan, a seismically active zone, says Emporis.

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Photographs: Peellden/Wikimedia Commons
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Turning Torso

Location: Malmo, Sweden

Height: 190 metres

Floors: 57

Year of winning best building award: 2005

Architect: Santiago Calatrava S.A.

HSB Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper in Sweden. At 190 meters and 54 floors, it is a landmark of the city of Malmo.

The jury described the building as "highly adventurous and innovative" and rewarded the architect's willingness to experiment, says Emporis

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Photographs: Mirko Junge/Wikimedia Commons

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Hearst Tower

Location: New York City, US

Height: 181.97 metres

Floors: 46

Year of winning best building award: 2006

Architect: Foster + Partners

The HearstTower is the world headquarters of the Hearst Corporation that publishes magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Marie Claire.

Emporis chose HearstTower for its sustainability and innovative design, among other reasons. The 46-story tower was constructed on top of an existing six-story structure.

The building achieves an appealing contrast between old and new styles of architecture, says Emporis. It adds that the jury was also impressed by the facade's striking triangle pattern.

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Photographs: Alsandro/Wikimedia Commons

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Het Strijkijzer

Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Height: 131.58 metres

Floors: 43

Year of winning best building award: 2007

Architect: AAArchitecten

Het Strijkijzer is a residential and office skyscraper that has 42 floors, making it the city's second tallest building.

Emporis says, “A particular feature of Het Strijkijzer is its structurally expressive folded-triangle shape, which responds well to the small site on which the skyscraper stands.”

The jury chose the building not just for this contextual approach and for its elegant reinterpretation of classic high-rise architecture, but also for its efficient program for accommodating new entrants to the housing market, according to Emporis.

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Photographs: Vincent van Zeijst/Wikimedia Commons

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Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Height: 203.65 metres

Floors: 50

Year of winning best building award: 2008

Architect: Tange Associates

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is a 50-story educational facility located, which is home to three educational institutions including Tokyo Mode Gakuen, HAL Tokyo, and Shuto Iko.

The tower is the second tallest educational building in the world.

According to Emporis, The jury praised the "expressive design" and "remarkable environment" that the tower provides.

Exterior and interior design are integrated in a particularly sophisticated way, thus creating a harmonious learning environment for ModeGakuenCocoonTower's users, says Emporis.

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Photographs: Wiiii/Wikimedia Commons

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Aqua

Location: Chicago, USA

Height: 249.73 metres

Floors: 81

Year of winning best building award: 2009

Architect: Studio Gang Architects

Aqua is an 82-story mixed-use residential skyscraper, the tallest in the world to have a woman as lead architect.

The jury at Emporis chose the innovative Aqua for its “fascinating shape” and “visual appearance”, which change dramatically depending on the angle from which one is viewing the building.

The precision construction methods deployed and sustainable, environmentally-friendly aspects were also praised, according to Emporis.

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Photographs: George Showman/Wikimedia Commons

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Hotel Porta Fira

Location: L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain

Height: 112.71 metres

Floors: 26

Year of winning best building award: 2010

Architect: b720 Fermin Vazquez Arquitectos and Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects

The unique appearance and eye-catching red facade of Barcelona's Hotel Porta Fira saw it triumph over 300 skyscrapers from all over the world in 2010.

It won over the skyscraper that is currently the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa (Dubai), as the jury felt that Hotel Porta Fira's aesthetics and integration into its urban environment outweighed the Babylonian desire to build ever-taller skyscrapers, says Emporis.

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Photographs: Wurfel/Wikimedia Commons
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New York by Gehry at Eight Spruce Street

Location: New York City, US

Height: 265.18 metres

Floors: 76

Year of winning best building award: 2011

Architect: Gehry Partners, LLP

Originally known as BeekmanTower, the 76-story skyscraper is the 12th tallest residential tower in the world. The building also has a public elementary school. The building will also house a hospital.

The Emporis website says, commenting on the choice, the jury said: "The building stands out even in Manhattan's already remarkable skyline. It is a major new architectural landmark for New York."

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Photographs: Jim.henderson/Wikimedia Commons

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Absolute World 1

Location: Mississauga, Canada

Height: 175.60 metres

Floors: 56

Year of winning best building award: 2012

Architect: MAD, Ltd., Burka Architects Inc.

Absolute World is a residential condominium twin tower skyscraper complex. Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group are owners of the project.

AbsoluteWorldTowers won over the Emporis jury primarily through their unmistakable design.

Panel of experts were amazed at the way the two structures twist organically by up to 8 degrees per floor. They felt it is not just a superb technical achievement, but also a refreshing change to the set forms of high-rise routine, according to Emporis.


Photographs: Jasonzed/Wikimedia Commons

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