Nikken Sekkei's Tokyo Skytree tops the Guinness World Records at 634m in height
The Tokyo Sky Tree, designed by Nikken Sekkei, has been named the world’s tallest tower at 634m as it opened yesterday. Stretching its structural spire into the sky at 2,080ft, the tower’s high-speed lifts were flooded with 8,000 visitors yesterday on their way to the observation deck, with many visitors and press camping out for days to ensure entry.
Located in the Sumida district of Tokyo, the broadcasting and observation tower is the replacement of a previous spire - Tokyo Tower - whose 333m height was becoming overshadowed by tall buildings in its vicinity and signals were disrupted with digital terrestrial television broadcasting coverage unobtainable.
Many believe the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed Burj Khalifa in Dubai to be the tallest tower in the world but under the guidelines of the Guinness World Records, ‘a tower is a structure in which less than 50 per cent of the total height is useable floor space’. As such, the Burj Khalifa is recognised as the tallest free-standing structure/building on land whereas the Tokyo Sky Tower is the tallest tower.
To design such a tall structure in earthquake-prone Japan, Nikken Sekkei had to implement intelligent engineering solutions. This included a vibration-controlling system with a cylindrical core of reinforced concrete in the centre structurally isolated from the peripheral steel framing, the upper part of the core functioning as a balancing weight. A diagram of this can be seen to the left of this editorial.
Light plays an important part in the concept for the project, overseen by President of Sirius Lighting Office, Hirohito Totsune. Before construction had begun, shafts of light where projected into the site to illustrate the planned height of the tower as seen in the visuals to the left. Now completed, two differing styles of light display will illuminate the steel structure on alternating days, as developer TOBU RAILWAY CO explains: “The operations are called Iki, the manly spirit held be the urbane commoners of Edo, and Miyabi, one of the traditional Japanese aesthetic ideals meaning elegance.
“The lighting is designed to enhance the beauty of the tower by integrating together the parts that are illuminated and the parts that are not. Beauty and energy conservation coexist in the design as a result of the advanced lighting technology.”