Drifting Skyscraper Converts Air Pollution into Green Energy
Project Blue could make air in China mountain fresh.
Urban architecture often contributes to pollution. Skyscrapers require tons of energy to heat and cool the residents inside. Concentrations of buildings in cities can cause heat islands that raise temperatures during the summer months, reducing air quality. But a building, called Project Blue, is designed to reduce pollution.
It won Honorable Mention in the architectural journal eVolo's annual skyscraper design competition.
Chinese architecture students Yang Siqi, Zhan Beidi, Zhao Renbo and Zhang Tianshuo wanted to design a building that would help reduce the high levels of particulate pollution that's becoming all too common in Chinese cities. The process is complicated, but essentially their building would scrub carbon monoxide from the air and turn it into methane that could be used to generate electricity or power methane fuel cells in cars.
eVolo's website has a host of amazing concepts, including other buildings meant to clean the air. Hyper Filter Skyscraper, for example, inhales carbon dioxide and other harmful gases and exhales concentrated oxygen. Eventually, future cities could have mountain-clear air.
10. CITIC Plaza
At nearly 1,300 feet tall, CITIC Plaza in Guangzhou, China, hosts hundreds of apartments and a four-story-high shopping mall within its 80 floors.
9. Two International Finance Center
Standing in the Hong Kong Victoria harbor at over 1,350 feet, the Two International Finance Center tower is the third-tallest tower in China.
8. Jin Mao Building
China's Pudong financial district is home to the country's two tallest buildings. With 88 stories, the Jin Mao Tower, left, comes in as the eighth tallest building in the world, standing at 421 meters (1,380 feet) tall. However, it cowers in the shadow of its counterpart, the Shanghai World Financial Center, right.
7. Trump International Hotel & Tower
Rising above Chicago's business district, the 92-story hotel and condominium development was completed in 2009. Including its spire, it is the second tallest building in the United States, seventh in the world.
6. Willis Tower
Once the tallest in the world, the Willis Tower in Chicago was built in the 1970s under another name -- the Sears Tower -- to house the offices of the largest retailer in the world at the time, Sears, Roebuck & Co. The name was changed in 2009 when London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings moved into the 108-story-tall building.
5. and 4. Petronas Towers
Petronas Twin Towers 1 and 2 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were the largest towers in the world when they first opened in 1998. Standing at 452 meters (1,483 feet) each, they've since fallen to fourth and fifth place.
3. Shanghai World Financial Center
This night view of the Shanghai World Financial Center shows China's tallest skyscraper front and center in the Pudong, with the smaller Jin Mao Building behind it. Coming in as the third tallest building on Earth, the 492-meter (1,614-foot) landmark tower hosts the world's highest Chinese restaurant on the 93rd floor.
2. Taipei 101
Topping out at 1,676 feet tall, the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan reigned supreme as the world's tallest tower for seven years after it opened in 2003. This skyscraper is approximately 165 feet taller than the Petronas Towers.
1. Burk Khalifa
This residential and office tower officially became the world's tallest building when it opened its doors on Jan. 4, 2010. Piercing the Dubai landscape at a height of just over 828 meters (2,716 feet) tall, the United Arab Emirates landmark and has more than 160 stories, the most of any building on Earth.
BIG PIC: Discovery News producer Ian O'Neill reports on the record-breaking Burk Khalifa's grand opening.
Information source: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat