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The world's tallest tower: The Tokyo Sky Tree

The world's tallest tower: The Tokyo Sky Tree

Posting in Architecture

The tallest self-supporting structure in the world has been completed, Tokyo's Sky Tree tower.

The completion of the world's tallest tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree, Japan, was celebrated in an elaborate ceremony on Friday.

Approximately 70 people attended the event, including those who worked on the construction of the tower and the president of Tobu Tower Sky Tree Co., who are in charge of operating the building.

The group had every reason to celebrate such an accomplishment -- this incredible feat of engineering was managed without a single fatal accident, as well as introducing a new, stunning, and functional landmark in Tokyo. The initial investment is estimated at 40 billion yen ($49bn).

At an impressive 634 meters tall, the Tokyo Sky Tree's purpose is to act as a digital broadcaster, and although Dubai claims the title of the tallest man-made structure, the Burj Khalifa at 829 meters, Tokyo's new landmark holds the record for the tallest free-standing construction.

Construction of the Sky Tree began in 2008, and it is now ready to begin service four years later as a digital terrestrial broadcaster for both Tokyo and the surrounding region, Kanto.

Nearly a year after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck Japan, and considering the country's long history of constructing buildings in order to be able to weather such events as much as possible, there was naturally concerns for the damage such a tower could cause if (or when) another earthquake struck the country.

However, engineers have attempted to put such fears to rest, assuring the public that the self-supporting structure is stable enough to cope. Built with traditional Japanese architecture in mind, the Tokyo Sky Tree is constructed on a triangular base, fortified with 'tripod' units for additional stability.

It also recreates a 'five-story' traditional pagoda (a design in which individual floors are independent, built around a central pillar) in order to reduce tremors and damage in the event of a natural disaster -- although, as the photo shows, with a modern twist.

In addition, the official website states that the tower is expected to function as a 'disaster prevention' facility, acting as an information relay network in case of emergencies, as well as relaying radio and television signals. By designing the tower to be so high, problems have been avoided with signals clashing against the often 200 meter+ height of Tokyo's skyscrapers.

It is due to be opened for public viewing on May 22 this year, when anyone can book tickets in advance to view the tower's observation deck -- an incredible 350 meters high. Tickets can be bought on the tower's website, and day tickets will be available from July this year.

Image credit: Tim Hornyak/CNET

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure