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Oklahoma City plans to have the country’s tallest skyscraper

by News7

The proposed “Legends Tower” in Oklahoma City could stand 1907 feet tall when completed. AO Architects

In the near future, the tallest skyscraper in America might not appear in New York, or Chicago, or Los Angeles. Instead, it could jolt upward through the comparably sparse Oklahoma City skyline. If realized, the hulking building proposal referred to as the “Legends Tower” would be more than double the height of the city’s next tallest building. 

[ Related: The tallest building in the world remains unchallenged—for now ]

Oklahoma City’s planning commission approved a height increase request submitted by the tower’s developer last week, nudging the once seemingly unlikely idea close to reality. Designers want the building to soar 1,907 feet high, a number that purposely coincides with the date Oklahoma became a US state. That audacious height would make the Legends Tower more than 200 feet taller than New York’s 1,776-foot One World Trade Center. Globally, only five other buildings are taller. Developers previously suggested a 1750 foot tower prior to the height increase. Clearly, that wasn’t tall enough. 

The mixed used tower, as currently proposed, would be mostly residential with 1,750 apartments and a Hyatt hotel with hundreds of rooms. All told, the project, which includes a lagoon and nearby boardwalk, is estimated to cost $1.6 billion. Developers are reportedly planning to begin construction on two of the building’s towers this summer and expect the total project to take between 24-30 months to complete.

[ Related: 6 architectural facts about history’s tallest buildings ]

Why Oklahoma?

To say Oklahoma City is an unusual choice for what would be the world’s fifth largest building is an understatement. New York and Chicago are currently home to all 10 of the US’ tallest buildings. Those two cities each hold around 8 and 3 million people respectively. Oklahoma City, by contrast, has a population hovering at around 700,000 people. That said, it’s ticking up. Oklahoma city reportedly grew its popularity around 2% between 2020 and 2020, partly thanks to a larger population reorganization that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. The building’s developers are reportedly hopeful these new arrivals could help populate the mostly residential building.

The Legends Tower isn’t without its detractors. Members of the city’s planning commission and local residents have reportedly questioned the practicality of such a large building in a city not known for rows of large towers. Others worry how the building could stand up against the region’s heavy storms and not all that uncommon tornadoes. AO, the California architecture firm behind the tower, reportedly told the city’s planning commission the building would have concrete walls between and 5 and 6 feet thick around the elevator shafts as well as windows that can withstand tornado winds without shattering, according to the Wall Street Journal. Others, including Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, still seem uncertain whether the ambitious tower will actually ever materialize. 

“In my observation private developers often announce plans and some of those plans happen, and some don’t,” Holt told CNN earlier this year. “I have no strong opinion and look forward to following their effort.”

US still lags behind other countries for tallest building 

The days of US cities topping charts and listicles of “largest skyscrapers” have long since passed. That officially ended in 1998 when the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia took over Chicago’s Sears Tower. Buildings have gotten bigger and bigger since then. A 2021 report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat estimated a staggering 84% of all buildings on Earth over 650 feet have been built since 2001. Now, in 2024 the top five tallest buildings in the world are located in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Mecca, and Shenzhen. If the Legends developers complete their plans “Oklahoma City” could be the next entry on that list.

Source : Popular Science

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