Many people (excluding the ones with a fear of heights) like visiting tall buildings, so much so that different cities/countries/companies seem to be having an everlasting race for the sky to see which city/country/company has the tallest building on the planet. Due to this, the reign of a given ‘tallest’ building only lasts for a short number of years, until the time when it is no longer possible to build taller buildings. Or maybe that day will never come?
You see, I recall a recent dinner table conversation with some male acquaintances (none of whom were structural engineers, architects or bricklayers – and neither am I). Somehow the conversation got onto the topic of tall buildings in the world: Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Tokyo Skytree, Shanghai Tower, Taipei 101 and Harukas in Osaka.
Going off on one, there is also of course Trump Tower. My 8-year old son asked the other day why there is a building called ‘fart tower’. It took all my willpower to resist telling him that it was because there was an asshole at the top of it.
The men agreed that there was no limit as to how high big objects could be erected until it is no longer feasible to reach higher altitudes. I joined their conversation and said that it is likely that there is a limit, not only from a financial point of view (I mean, how expensive would it be to add an extra floor to a 10 km tall building rather than an extra floor of a shorter building) but also that due to the earth being round, which in my non-structural engineer’s mind says that there must be a point when the earth’s surface would no longer provide a structurally sound foundation for a ridiculously tall building (I based my assertion on my knowledge of building towers of wooden blocks with my children – the taller the tower the bigger the base). Maybe this was a stupid thing to say, but in my opinion not any more stupid than talking about the possibility of having infinitely high buildings. They nevertheless laughed and said that only a woman could point that kind of an argument out. I, in turn, wanted to point out that only men with certain issues would spend time comparing the size of erect things.
I have since talked to my husband because I was so furious about the mansplaining that took place around that dinner table. He isn’t a structural engineer, architect or bricklayer either but he agreed that finance was one of the biggest limits to building an indefinitely tall building. He also added (1) problems with elevators/transportation from the bottom to the top of the building (2) wind and (3) materials. In addition he pointed out that of course there is a limit because at some point you would theoretically hit the moon/sun/other object.
Tall buildings are obviously a popular tourist attraction and a great place for a marriage proposal, wedding venue or a party. What a spectacular place to propose to your partner – not only for the view, but also for the convenience. If the answer is not what you were hoping for you can always threaten to jump off the building because you think your life no longer has any meaning (or alternatively you can threaten to throw them off the building) – only kidding! Please don’t go jumping or throwing people off of buildings even if they don’t want to marry you (or respect your passion for spectacular erections).
In any case, Japan has many tall buildings, the tallest of which is Tokyo Skytree, a tower that stands a whopping 634m tall. See photo below.
Here in Osaka, we have the tallest (300m) inhabited building in Japan, Harukas.
It’s one of our favourite places to visit in Osaka, partly because
- the view is stunning, even though Osaka is not exactly the prettiest of cities, see photos above and below
- on a weekday it is not particularly busy and so you can just sit there for hours and relax
- the café at the top of the building sells delicious pineapple ice cream (and wine) – perfect for relaxation
- the toilets at the top with glass walls that will allow you to take an interesting mirror selfie for your Facebook page (unless your reflection in the mirror resembles a chipmunk, like mine does below, in which case you might want to refrain from posting the photo on Facebook).
- the light display in the lift is beautiful – it makes you feel like you are on a journey to somewhere lovely (maybe somewhere far away from the depressing post-Brexit reality) (see the video below)
I suppose the only negative is that when you get to the bottom, you realise that you are not in a beautiful world where everyone is intelligent and loving, but that you are in a huge department store and you need to try to find you way back to the tube.
If you are ever in Osaka (and if you don’t suffer from a fear of heights) you should visit Harukas, that is of course unless by that time there is already a taller building, maybe one that reaches the sun.