Sunday, May 30, 2010

Towers Around the World

Burj Khalifa
Also Known As: Burj Dubai or Dubai Tower
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Developer: Emaar Properties
Architect: Adrian Smith, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM)
Year: Officially opened January 4, 2010
Height: 828 meters / 2,717 feet (including the spire)
Stories: 162
About the Burj Khalifa:
Originally named Burj Dubai (or Dubai Tower), the soaring skyscraper is now called Burj Khalifa, after Khalifa Bin Zayed, the president of the United Arab Emirates..

Dubai has been a showplace for innovative buildings, and the Burj Khalifa shatters world records for building height. The skyscraper is much taller than Taiwan's Taipei 101, which rises 508 metres (1,667 feet). During a time of economic slowdown, the Burj Khalifa has become an icon for wealth and progress in Dubai. No expense was spared for the building's opening ceremonies on January 4, 2010

Busan Lotte Tower

Busan Lotte Tower
The Lotte Super Tower is a 110-floor, 510.1 m (1,674 ft) supertall skyscraper in Busan, South Korea. Construction started on 9 March 2009 on a site next to Nampo-dong station on Busan Subway Line 1 and completion is expected in 2013, when it will become the third tallest building in the world after Burj Khalifa and 1 World Trade Center.

The landmark tower is the centerpiece of the new Busan Lotte Town and construction is being carried in two phases. The first phase includes a department store and cinema, which was completed in 2009, while the larger second phase will include a luxury hotel, an observation deck, offices and cultural facilities in a 110 story skyscraper. The design of the skyscraper will resemble a standing ship, with grand curves reflecting the city's harbour. The tower's underground parking space will be able to house over 2,400 cars.

Taipei 101 Tower
Taipei 101 Tower
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Architect: C.Y.. Lee & Partner
Year: 2004
Height: 509 meters / 1,670 feet
Stories: 101
About the Taipei 101 Tower
The design of Taipei 101 borrows heavily from Chinese culture. Both the building's interior and exterior incorporate the Chinese pagoda form and the shape of bamboo flowers. The lucky number eight, which means blooming or success, is represented by the eight clearly delineated exterior sections of the building.

The towering spire of Taipei 101 Tower made it the world's tallest building for several years. However, it is now outranked by the Burj Khalifa (Dubai Tower) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which opened in January 2010.  

Shanghai World Financial Center

Shanghai World Financial Centre
Location: Pudong District, Shanghai, China
Project Architect and Engineer: Minoru Mori, Mori Building Co., Ltd.
Design Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates P.C. (KPF)
Year: 2008
Structure: Steel-framed and steel reinforced concrete
Height: 492 meters / 1,600 feet
Stories: 101
About the Shanghai World Financial Centre
The Shanghai World Financial Centre, or Center, is a soaring glass skyscraper with a distinctive opening at the top. The original plans called for a 46 meter (151 foot) circular opening that would reduce wind pressure and also suggest Chinese symbolism for the moon. Many people protested that the design resembled the rising sun on the Japanese flag. Eventually the opening was changed from circular to a trapezoid shape.

The ground floor of Shanghai World Financial Centre is a shopping mall and an elevator lobby with gyrating kaleidoscopes on the ceiling. On the upper floors are offices, conference rooms, hotel rooms, and observation decks.
Xujiahui Tower
Xujiahui Tower
The Xujiahui Tower is a supertall skyscraper that is proposed for construction in Shanghai, China. It was designed by the Atlanta based firm John Portman & Associates, Inc. If built, it would be the second tallest building in Shanghai, after the Shanghai World Financial Center. It would have 92 floors and stand at 460 meters, or 1,509 ft.

The Petronas Towers

 The Petronas Towers
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Architect: Cesar Pelli
Year: 1998
Petronas Tower 1 Height: 452 meters / 1,483 feet
Petronas Tower 1 Stories: 88
Petronas Tower 2 Height: 452 meters / 1,483 feet
Petronas Tower 2 Stories: 88
About the Petronas Towers
Traditional Islamic design inspired the floor plans for two Petronas towers in Kuala Lumur, Malaysia. Each floor of the 88-story towers is shaped like an 8-pointed star. The two towers have been called cosmic pillars that spiral heavenward. At the 42nd floor, a flexible bridge connects the two Petronas Towers.

The Gateway III Tower
    The Gateway III Tower
The Gateway III Tower (Chinese: ??????) is a proposed supertall skyscraper in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Although no floor figure has been given, the tower will stand 450 m if built, becoming Hong Kong's second tallest building at only about 34 m shorter than the currently under construction International Commerce Center. Still at 450 m, it will be taller than any building on Hong Kong Island, since the tallest building there is the 415 m 2 IFC.

Sears Tower (Willis Tower)

Sears Tower (Willis Tower)
Historically Named: Sears Tower
Current Name: Willis Tower
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Architect: Bruce Graham, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM)
Year: 1973
Height: 442 meters / 1,450 feet
Stories: 110
About the Sears Tower
To provide stability against high winds, architect Bruce Graham used a new form of tubular construction for Sears Tower. Two hundred sets of bundled tubes were laid into the bedrock. Then, 76,000 tons of prefabricated steel in 15-foot by 25-foot sections were put into place. Four derrick cranes moved higher with each floor to lift these steel "Christmas Trees" into position.

The Jin Mao Building

 The Jin Mao Building
Location: Shanghai, China
Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Year: 1999
Height: 421 meters / 1,381 feet
Stories: 88
About the Jin Mao Building
The architects at Skidmore Owings & Merrill designed the Jin Mao Building around the number eight. Shaped like a Chinese pagoda, the Jin Mao Building is divided into segments. The lowest segment has 16 stories, and each succeeding segment is 1/8 smaller than the one below.

Totalling 88 stories, the Jin Mao Building combines shopping and commercial space with office space and, on the upper 38 stories, the towering Grand Hyatt Hotel. 

Dalian International Trade Center 
Dalian International Trade Center
The Dalian International Trade Center (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: pinyin: Dàlián Guójì Màoyì Zho-ngxi-n) is a supertall skyscraper currently under construction in Dalian, China.

Once completed, the building will have a total height of 420 m (1,400 ft), with 78 stories and a floor area of 288,566 square metres (3,106,100 sq ft). Construction began in 2003, but is currently on hold. With an expected completion date of 2009, the skyscraper is likely to become one of the tallest buildings in China.
The New World Trade Center: Freedom Tower at Night
Architect's Drawings, Site Plans, and Models for the New World Trade Center
Daniel Libeskind's original plans were adapted to create this vision of Freedom Tower at the new World Trade Center site on Ground Zero in New York City.
The soaring height of Freedom Tower has raised concerns about security and spurred many redesigns. This rendering of the Tower was unveiled in 2005.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Most Expensive Bottles of Alcohol

$1,060,000 - Diva Vodka

This bottle of vodka hails from Scotland and its price is the result of how much “bling” you want your bottle to have. The bottle can be encrusted with precious gems: diamonds, rubies, sapphires, etc. Blackwood Distillers makes this triple distilled vodka that is ice-filtered through Nordic birch charcoal and then for some reason is passed through a sand of crushed diamonds and other gems. Absolutely ridiculous, so let’s move on to the next item, which is almost just as ridiculous, but then after that it’s smooth sailing.

$255,000 - Spluch Tequila

The bottle is made of solid platinum and white gold which was unveiled in Mexico City on October 26, 2006. The bottle was purchased by a private collector on July 20, 2006. As a result of the sale, the Tequila Ley .925 company broke the Guinness World Records for the most expensive bottle of liquor sold.

$160,000 - Chateau Lafite 1787

This bottle originally purchased from France by Thomas Jefferson, who was an avid wine collector.
This bottle is a Bordeaux and was sold at an auction in 1985 to Christopher Forbes. Much of the value comes from the fact that Thomas Jefferson once owned this bottle — his initials are etched into it. You can read more about this wine and others (some on this list) here at Forbes.

$90,000 - Chateau d’Yquem 1787

This bottle is a white and was sold recently (2006) to an “American Client”. This wine is from the same year as the most expensive red ever sold (the Chateau Lafite above).
“One must remember that there is considerable nostalgia associated with such a bottle. In 1787 when peasants in Bordeaux were picking these grapes George Washington became the first President of the United States, Marie Antoinette was about to have her head chopped off in the French Revolution, and James Watt was developing the steam engine.” (Antique Wine News)

$75,000 - The Macallan Fine and Rare Collection, 1926, 62 Years 

OldOriginally listed at $38,000, a bottle was sold to a South Korean businessman in 2005 for $75,000.
The oldest and most sought-after of Macallan’s revolutionary Fine & Rare Collection is now sold out. It is still possible to taste this totally unique Scotch whisky at the Old Homestead Steakhouse in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. However, it sells for a nosebleed-inducing $3,300 per dram (1/8th of an ounce/shot). I could create a separate list of better things to do with $3,300.
And I thought I was crazy when I bought two lowballs of Johnnie Walker Blue for $30 each… 

$51,000 - Wray and Nephew Jamaican Rum (1940)

The bottle shown to the left, bottled in the 1940s by the Jamaican distillers Wray and Nephew, and containing blends that date back as far as around 1915 has the honor of being what is believed to be the world’s most expensive bottle of rum. The bottle which is being displayed at Europe’s first rum festival, RumFest, is valued at £26,000. The bottle, which is one of four unopened bottles of the stuff in the world, represents the lost tradition of the Wray and Nephew Rum. The popularity of the Mai Tai cocktail drained their rum supplies in the 1930s. In order to keep up with demand, the distillery changed their production methods. The bottle therefore represents the chance to the Mai Tai as it was originally conceived. That is, if anyone ever opens the bottle.

$43,500 - 1775 Sherry from the Massandra collection

This bottle sold at Sotheby’s London (an auction house) in 2001. The Massandra collection is one of the finest in the world and has been around since the mid 19th century. There is nothing special about this particular wine other than its age. It is also pre American revolution.