Sometimes you need to compare something you know against something else to truly understand the real nature of that something else. One such 'something else' for me was a newly built giant of a building. As an architect I was naturally interested in the construction of the massive Burj Dubai now know as Burj Khalifa
. At 2,723 feet it is currently the tallest man made structure in the world. It has 163 usable floors and 46 maintenance floors with a total of over 3.3 million square feet of space. It was the centerpiece of a $20 billion Dubai development and cost $1.5 billion to build. it came onto the market right as the world economy crashed (hence new investors and a new name).
Even with many pictures available and the stats that describe its massive size I could never wrap my mind around the true nature of such a super-sized building. So, I decided to create a comparison of the building against some of little old Buffalo's largest buildings. This montage was put together from a set of building elevation diagrams which are hosted on the skyscraper chat forum called Skyscraperpage.com
. This forum was started as a place for skyscraper enthusiasts to share their knowledge and thoughts on high rise buildings form around the world. Over the years it has evolved into a forum on cities and urbanism as well. At its core however, it is still a skyscraper enthusiast's site.
One of the web site's most interesting features is the section in which they invite members to create and submit diagrams and information on specific tall buildings. You can search the site for specific buildings, including by city. They cover pretty much every major city with their buildings listed and diagramed online from tallest to shortest down to about 10 floors in height. It is quite fascinating as you can see here in the caparison I put together with Photoshop. Of course Buffalo is not known as a city with a lot of tall buildings, but Buffalo's City Hall and HSBC tower are, by any measure, large buildings. In this comparison they are dwarfed. This really gave me a clear sense of the gargantuan size of the Burj Khalifa.
Included in the comparison beside the Burj are four of Buffalo's buildings, which have held the title to the city's tallest building at one time or another - HSBC tower, City Hall, Rand Building, and the Guaranty Building. Piled on top of each other they come to just under half the height of the Burj. It is interesting to note that the shortest building shown was one of the world's tallest and most structurally sophisticated buildings just over 100 years ago, Louis Sullivan's masterpiece Guaranty Building, weighing in at 13 floors.