The Shanghai Tower: 2nd tallest skyscraper of the world

This year 2014 is the when when 2 of the highest skyscrapers in the world are expected to be inaugurated. The Shangai Tower which will be the second tallest building in the world, and the New One World Trade Center (NOWTC) that will be the third tallest building in the world. We already made an introduction about the NOWTC, now is the time for the Shanghai Tower. 

Image 1. Shanghai Tower with the Jin Mao Tower and SWFC

Some facts of the Shanghai Tower:
Height: 632 meters (2073 feet)
From base to top the building rotates 120 degree in order to minimize the wind loads. This geometry allowed the saving of nearly 58 million $ in structural materials.
The building adopts sustainbale technologies that reduced the energy consumption by 21%.
The building has an innovative circular inner-glass facade that requires 14% less glass than a square building of the same area.
In March 2010 several trucks pumped concrete during 63 continuous hours in oprder to complete the 6 meter (18 feet) deep foundation.
The energy will be supplied by a 2130 kW gas fired generator.
The express elevator has velocity of 40 mph (18 m/s). Such velocity makes convert those elevators in the fastest of the world.
When completed, the Shanghai Tower will join the Jin Mao Tower and SWFC to form the world's first adjacent grouping of three super-tall buildings.
The glass skin maximizes the daylight, reducing the use of electric lighting.

The tower takes the form of nine cylindrical buildings stacked atop each other. The tower has a total of 121 floors, all enclosed by the inner layer of the glass facade. Between that and the outer layer, which twists as it rises, nine indoor zones will provide public space for visitors. Each of these nine areas will have its own atrium, featuring gardens, cafes, restaurants and retail space and providing 360-degree views of the city

Due to its numerous green architecture elements incorporated, the Shanghai Tower will achieve both LEDD Gold certificate and the China Green Building Star rating. The design of the tower's glass facade is intended to reduce wind loads on the building by 24%. This reduces the amount of construction materials needed; the Shanghai tower used 25% less structural steel than a conventional design of a similar height. As a result, the building's constructors are expected to save an estimated US$58 million in material costs. Though the majority of the tower's energy will be provided by conventional power systems, vertical-axis wind turbines located near the top of the tower will generate up to 350,000 kWh of supplementary electricity per year. The double-layered insulating glass facade is intended to reduce the need for indoor air conditioning, and is composed of an advanced reinforced glass with a high tolerance for shifts in temperature.

References & Further Reading
Shanghai Tower: Gensler design update
The Shanghai Tower: The Beginnings of a Green Revolution in China

Vinyl records to come back in 2014?

Most of the people born after 1990 have never played a vinyl record, maybe some people have not even hold a vinyl record. The digital era and its rapid advance and development have dominated the world of sounds and music.

The digital sounds have many clear advantages over the analogical sounds from vinyl records. The price reduction is a great advantage. The technology advances have reduced the production costs. Actually nowadays people don't even need to buy the music, just searching in websites like youtube or grooveshark and we can easily find a specific song.

However, the experience of holding and listening your favorite song in a vinyl record is something unique that will never be replaced by the digital world. The personal experience and the personal time quality of listening a vinyl record is different. To hold the record and watch the cover; those covers are art. Then put the record, blow some air to the needle and put the needle. Then, while the first sounds before the song you sit and open the record (or a book). It is true that you CDs, DVDs and Blue-rays also have an art cover together with lyrics and notes about the songs and album; you can also have the music on your computer device and print the cover or anything. However, it is not the same to watch a 30*30 cm image and the same image inside an 12*12 cm.

Image 1. Cover of the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Image Source: Wikipedia

Another characteristic of vinyl records is the arrangement of the songs. When listening to a vinyl record you do not just listen to a song, but you listen to the whole album. Some people even state that listening to a vinyl record is like listening to a music book, the album has a name and the songs are arranged in such a way that follow tell a history according to the album title. Not only the order of the songs, but also which songs are one side on the record and which songs are in the other side.

The last 2013 showed an unexpected rise in the sales of vinyl records. The German company Optimal Media is trying to meet the demand, but one of its biggest problems is that nobody makes the required anymore. This unexpected sales increase shows that vinyl records are not only part of the so called retro-mania, but actually some bands like Daft Punk or Arctic Monkeys  released vinyl records albums during 2013. Will this 2014 will be the year when vinyl records come back? By come back I do not mean that they will be higher than the digital audio. Actually I think that digital music will never be overcame by analogical music, but the truth is that vinyl records are not death and they will never be.

Video 1. BBC report. Are vinyl records making a comeback

References & Further Reading
Are vinyl records making a comeback
Vinyl sales at highest level for more than a decade