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Tokyo Sky Tree, Japan

The Hightest Tower in the World


On a clear day, the Sky Tree® original color "Skytree White" contrasts with Tokyo's bright, blue sky.
Photo of Sky Tree, looking close up the tower.

The Sky Tree in Tokyo is the world's tallest free-standing tower.

Photo of Sky Tree taken in January 2012 ©hirotomo at Flickr.

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Architect: Nikken Sekkei Group
Owner: Tobu Railway Co., LTD and Tobu Tower Skytree Co., Ltd.
Builder: Obayashi Corporation
Height: 634 meters (2,080 feet)
Site area: 36,900 square meters (footprint and base shopping malls)
Structure: Steel, concrete, and steel-reinforced concrete (SRC)
Built: 2008 - 2011
Tallest Tower in the World: Guinness World Records Company, November 17, 2011
Grand Opening: May 22, 2012
Use: Mixed use (digital broadcasting; commercial / restaurants; tourism)

About the Sky Tree Tower:

Because the site is bordered by (1) rivers, (2) rails, and (3) roads, the designers started with an equilateral triangular base. Vertical lines visually rise like a tripod on this base. The triangle form gradually becomes a circle at the top.

"The change from the triangle to the circle also entailed warp and camber which are traditional shapes in Japanese culture."—Nikken Sekkei Design Concept

Structurally, the tower is built like a giant tree with deep roots into the ground. At the base, steel tubes (2.3 meters in diameter and 10 centimeters thick) form the base of the structure's trunk, a series of trusses and branch joints. The reinforced concrete center column is structurally separate from the surrounding steel framing, an earthquake-resistant design similar to muli-storied pagoda temples.

Why 634 Meters?

"The sound of the number 634 when read in old Japanese numbers is mu-sa-shi, which reminds Japanese people of Musashi Province of the past, that used to cover a large area, including Tokyo, Saitama and part of Kanagawa Prefecture."—Sky Tree Official Website

Two areas are open to the public (fee required):

  • 350 meters (1,148 feet): Tembo Deck (First Observation Deck, Restaurants, Shops)
  • 450 meters (1,476 feet): Glass enclosed Tembo Galleria (Skywalk and Observation Deck)

Architecture in Japan >>

SOURCES: Nikken Sekkei Ltd. and www.tokyo-skytree.jp, the official website [accessed May 23, 2012]

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