Hard to believe this oddity, the Hotel Porta Fira in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain, won the heralded Emporis Skyscraper of the Year award for 2010. Inspired by the lotus flower, it evokes an awkward feel of a concept not quite realized.
Top-heavy skyscrapers seem to display our inability to master the aesthetic of mushroom or tree-like structures. The Torre Velasca in Milan and the Russian embassy in Havana is further proof.
Even more stunning was that the Hotel Porta Fira was selected over the second place Burj Khalifa. At nearly double the height of the former tallest skyscraper, the Taipei 101, the Burj is not just the world's tallest building, but the world's highest man-made structure. For a skyscraper that was created to shatter a ridiculous number of records, it's quite pleasing to look at:
Emporis' list of cities with the most skyscrapers.
1. Hong Kong 1,223
2. New York City 563
3. Tokyo 344
4. Chicago 282
5. Dubai 230
6. Shanghai 229
7. Toronto 154
8. Singapore 134
9. Bangkok 122
10. Seoul 114
Art and design site Dornob has a terrific piece on photographer Michael Wolf's project Transparent City, a mesmerizing series capturing the life inside Chicago skyscrapers.
In some cases, an eerie similarity prevails from one floor to the next – but even in the most rigid and rigorously geometric of buildings there are exceptions, like a bright red ballroom between stuffy, white, florescent-lit office floors.
Skyscrapers are not only one of humanity's proudest creations, for any serious Lego owner, their construction (and alien attack inspired demolition) is a rite of passage. The magnificent ceiling-tall buildings we built when we were kids however didn't exactly prepare us for what they're doing with Lego towers today:
...and coming in a close second for the tallest structure built by a member of the animal kingdom, termites.