Can there be a mile-high skyscraper?


Originally published at:


Can? Sure.
Will? Who knows.


It’s not much fun working in a skyscraper like the Sears/ Willis tower. It’s like you’re entering and exiting an airport every day… and even at lunch time.

The security issues are annoying.


Or you could just save yourself a lot of effort and build your supervillain lair on top of a tall peak instead:

On a related note, I’ve wondered why the Bible says that the Tower of Babel was built on a “plain in the land of Shinar” rather than on top of the tallest available mountain peak? If your goal is to build as high as possible, why not use the available terrain to your advantage??


Nah, that’s cheating.


I feel this video could have benefitted from a discussion of active support structures.


It might be fun to man the AA battery that would be needed to protect the no-fly zone that would have to surround it.


The Gods of Olympus already called dibs on that one.


At some point, it becomes easier to build a structure that’s 23000 or more miles tall. The force of the mass above geostationary orbit pulls up, not down, and we have/envision better compact tensile materials than compressive ones.

Also, I totally want a table at the 23000 Mile High Club. (The weeklong elevator ride to get there would be a bit of a drag though.)


…not in Chicago though. Gotta be equatorial for that. Oh well.


This reminds me how I miss all the excitement over Space Elevators before they discovered even carbon nanotubes weren’t strong enough for a cable


Why? is another good question. Most of these supertall buildings were built as a kind of cultural dick-waving, countries build them to prove that they can build a bigger building than the last guy to build the biggest building. So whose ego needs a mile-high viagra pill?


A certain orange-hued head-of-state comes to mind…


Can you imagine the sway at one mile up?

Hard pass.


Based purely on my Jenga experiences, I’d have to say no.

But once you build past a certain height, all the workers come down speaking different languages. Must be the hypoxia.


Theoretically concentrating people in a smaller geographic area could reduce the overall carbon footprint for that population, but only if you design the building in such a way to reduce the need for people to commute by putting most of their living, working and shopping needs in one place. Bonus points if you can make the “urban agriculture” thing work.


Well, speaking as a civil engineer, it would be a very interesting project.
Not that you couldn’t spend the money on a couple of other interesting projects that might be more beneficial.


You need to ask?


If we can just build high enough we could brace the top against the celestial sphere that encloses the earth.


Well, I was hoping for more interesting answers.