Tuesday, March 29, 2005

India's tallest building in the World

One of India's most famous architects, Hafeez Contractor, presented a design concept to the Noida Authority for building what he hopes will be the tallest building in the World. At a proposed 135-storeys it is truly a revolutionary concept for urban planning in India, where the current record is held by the MVRDC World Trade Centre I in Mumbai at a 156m/35 floors, while the Shreepati Arcade is 152.5m/45 floors. The proposed height of the Noida skyscraper is not known, but Hafeez intends it to be bigger than current record holder, the Taipei 101 at 508m, and, the Guardian reports, bigger than even the proposed Burj Dubai tower in Dubai.

The Burj Dubai is being built with only one intention - to be the tallest tower in the world. So while current plans of its exact proposed height when it is ready in 2007 or 2008 are being kept a secret, speculators have claimed anything from 492m to even 900m. Even those claiming the same 160 floors are varied in their estimates from 700 to 800 meters. It is widely believed however that the foundation of the building would be made extra strong to accomodate future floors, to ensure supremacy in the numbers game. (Just a passing thought, but the exterior design does not look conducive for future anhancements of that kind.) With that background, it remains to be seen how exactly Hafeez (who is also building a 120 floor tower block in Dubai) plans to beat the Burj Dubai tower.

Some experts believe that towers of this kind do not take into account ground realities in India, like erratic water and power supply. For a building of this size a single power cut would be disastrous, as the lifts will stop and people will immediately pile up around the entrances, with even stampedes possible. So how does Hafeez intend to tackle these problems?

Firstly I would say Hafeez is optimistic. He thinks that things are moving in the right direction on the infrastructure front, and it is a matter of time before reforms will rectify the water and power problems. After all, the building would take at least 4 years to be ready. If that does not happen, then the backup plan would be to actually invest in ventures to ensure supplies. This could be entering into exclusive deals (with strict penalty clauses) with independent power producers or water management companies, or an entry of building companies into those fields. All in all, I predict exciting times ahead, as the spin-offs are likely to affect a wide range of infrastructure industries.

Update 4/6/7: The Burj Dubai is now slated to hit 1011m, but there might be more aspirants coming up in India: Indian World's Tallest Building Aspirants