Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cheating skyscrapers

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NEW YORK -- Tall buildings just aren't what they used to be.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has released a report noting that the developers of many new super-skyscrapers have been sticking huge, "useless" needles on top of them so they can be marketed as being among the world's tallest.

The trend means that many towers now appearing on lists of super-tall buildings actually have fewer usable floors and lower roofs than the old behemoths they are knocking out of the top ranks.

New York City's unfinished One World Trade Center is listed as being among the top offenders, thanks to the (124-meter) needle installed on its roof, but it's hardly the worst in terms of "vanity height."

The entire top 40 per cent of Dubai's Burj Al Arab is purely decorative.

In 1930, the developers of New York's Chrysler Building famously won a race to become the world's tallest by secretly assembling a 38-meter steel spire in the tower's tip, and then hoisting it into place only after competitors at 40 Wall Street had finished their building.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 8, 2013 A6

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