At 2,080 feet tall, the Tokyo Sky Tree, formerly called New Tokyo Tower, is a new digital broadcast and observation tower with a restaurant built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. Engineers are confident it won’t topple in an earthquake. Builder Obayashi declared the Sky Tree complete ahead of a ceremony 3/2. While the world’s tallest man-made structure remains the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at (2,720 feet), the Sky Tree tops the list of the tallest free-standing towers.
It’s 34 meters taller than the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China, and nearly twice the height of its predecessor, Tokyo Tower (333 meters). Operated by Tobu Railways and a consortium of six media companies headed by NHK, the Sky Tree will serve as a digital broadcast center for Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto region.
Some broadcasters on board:
NHK General TV / NHK G (GTV) JOAK-DTV
NHK Educational TV / NHK E (ETV) JOAB-DTV
Nippon Television / Nittele (NTV) JOAX-DTV
TV Asahi / Tele-Asa (EX) JOEX-DTV
TV Tokyo / Teleto (TX) JOTX-DTV
Fuji Television (CX) JOCX-DTV
Tokyo Metropolitan Television / Tokyo MX JOMX-DTV
81.3 MHz J-Wave JOAV-FM
82.5 MHz NHK Tokyo FM JOAK-FM
While earthquakes may not be a problem, falling ice from the structure has been an issue for nearby companies and residences. The Sky Tree makes use of a shinbashira, a central column that features in the architecture of Japanese pagodas. The column acts as a stationary pendulum to counterbalance seismic waves, greatly reducing the sway in the surrounding structure.
The Sky Tree’s shinbashira is a hollow concrete tube housing elevators and stairs. It’s structurally separate from the exterior truss but is joined by oil dampers, which help reduce quake shaking. The building suffered virtually no damage in the March 2011 quake, though supply interruptions delayed its completion.
Opening in May, the Sky Tree will have several attractions, including a special observation deck at 1,476 feet that will have an “air corridor” that snakes around the exterior.