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A (not-so-very) tall tale

September 20th, 2013 by Berit Griffin

Here’s an interesting building factoid: Did you know that many of the world’s tallest buildings are tall in name only? Yes, they might measure at ultra-tall heights, but these skyscrapers have much less usable space than their exteriors would suggest.

For instance, according to  Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the Burj Kalifa in Dubai is currently the world’s tallest building, but 29 percent of it can’t be occupied. New York’s Bank of America Tower clocks in at number 3, but 36 percent of its height is just for show. This called “vanity height” — a tall building is impressive and gets bragging rights, but they could be described as a partial waste of space.

Take a look at how much of these buildings’ heights can really be used:


Wow. It’s a little like in residential building, when homes are designed with soaring entryways — lovely and light-filled, but (for the most part) not terribly usable space.

Have you ever designed or built buildings or homes with Vanity Height/Space?

Image courtesy of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

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