The rapidly and upwardly mobile skylines of the mega cities of today’s world remind one of the much used saying “the sky is the limit”. Where are the mid-rises? Can’t even see them. And, the high-rises? Yeh, can see them somehow. Dwarfed and rendered insignificant by the menacingly tall ones. In fact, people seem to be talking about skyscrapers only over tea and snacks. Lunches and dinners are meant for serious business ….. the “Supertalls”.
Yes, “the new kid in town” is who everyone is talking about or interested in. Highrises or skyscrapers don’t make interesting read anymore. It is the supertalls that turns the heads and draws the eyeballs. But then, these kids have been around for a while now and they no more add up to an insignificantly small lot. Today’s world is estimated to host more than 50 supertall buildings and the number is growing by the year.
However, the way things apparently are shaping up, even supertall buildings would have to give in to an entirely new category of buildings. Welcome to the big league in the offing ! The mesmerising future-world of the gega tall buildings or simply “the gegatalls”.
The purpose of this article is not to coin a term for a possible future generation buildings. A simple web search for “mega tall building” or “ultra tall building” throw up quite a number of results. That means these terms are already doing the rounds and are being used to refer to the supertall buildings. The new term “gegatall” is being used by me to indicate a building with more than 200 habitable floors with a maximum limit of 500 floors, just for the sake of discussion. I mean…. what is wrong in building castles in the imagination and christening them too!! Many of yesterday’s imaginations are today’s reality and today’s could be tomorrow’s. In reality, there could be a new name(s) for them or no name at all. Just go with the current one i.e. the supertalls.
That’s not the point. Gegatalls, in all likelihood, should start showing up in a decade or two…. or, may be less if the current trend accelerates. The current scenario makes the intention quite clear. Apparently, it is only a matter of some time before the 200 floor challenge is taken out. And from thereon the gates open up for the grand entry into the “deep field” of human habitation, the dizzying heights of the gegatalls. But, that’s not the point either.
The point is – does the saying “the sky is the limit” go hand in hand with the ever-increasing thirst for what could be summed up with another classic saying “pushing the envelope” when it comes to extending the skyline up up and away. Or, is there some sort of a point or limit beyond which the building-skyline can’t be pushed any further technically ? Where does civilisation stop so far as the zenith of tall buildings is concerned…. 300 storeys, 500 storeys, 1000 storeys, or even more ?
More than technical or theoritical issues, it is probably the practical issues like economic viability etc., that would come in the way of achieving mindboggling heights. But then, valid arguments could nullify practical issues as well. For example, if one talks of a not-quite-impossible future scenario of setting up an entire city of one or two million people in a single massive building…. would it sound too odd or unlikely ? May be not.
Small-scale cities are already being planned in colossal mixed use buildings. So, can one really rule out the possibility of say, a gegatall building of 0.5 km by 0.5 km size with 1000 or so floors, boasting virtually every imaginable facilities under the sun ? As already mentioned, economic or technical issues would creep in as of now, but might not in the future though. Time is a great answering machine.
Also read “Supertall buildings of the World” ( https://civilconstructionresourcez.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/supertall-buildings-of-the-world )