The march to the sky in the building of mind-dizzying skyscrapers is a competition between economic powers that isn’t going to let up anytime soon.
“Building this tower in Jeddah sends a financial and economic message that should not be ignored,” Al-Waleed bin Talal, Prince of Saudi Arabia and visionary behind the Kingdom Tower mentioned in an interview. “It has a political depth to it to tell the world that we Saudis invest in our country.”
As cited in Part One of this series, the building of these ‘Mega-Tall’ (a category regarded for buildings over 600 meters) structures is about emerging economic powers expressing their national pride to the rest of the world, as well as the people of their own country.
However, as stated before, there are also engineering concerns that include the elevators, but also, with a building suspended so far above others, wind must be accounted for.
Wind blowing on or across the faces of a building exerts a tremendous force; these forces are substantially multiplied as the building extends upward from the base. The standard for these buildings is that they must be designed to withstand hurricane force winds. However, even light winds can cause Mega-Tall buildings to sway at the top, which can result in motion sickness for the people.
For example, the Kingdom Tower, which could ellipse the Burj Khalifa as the tallest building in the world, was built to have structure design changes every few floors to mitigate wind issues. Typically, the buildings stiff inner concrete core is sufficient to hold the building rigid against the wind; however, most modern tall buildings employ a computer controlled dampening system to mitigate sway.
These trophies of economic power are virtually alone without other buildings to share the brunt of the wind, and thus, must be built to withstand wind-force to ensure structural stability no-matter what Mother Nature has to throw at them.