Sky Tower

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Auckland at night, with the Sky Tower in the background

The Sky Tower is a tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the central business district of Auckland, New Zealand. It is 328 metres tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Interestingly the architect publicly disassociated himself from the design. It is the 13th tallest member of the World Federation of Great Towers. The landmark is part of the SKYCITY Auckland casino complex, owned and operated by SKYCITY Entertainment Group.

[edit] Uses

As well as entertainment, the tower is used for telecommunications and broadcasting with the Auckland Peering Exchange (APE) being located on Level 48. A group of radio broadcasters share a transmitter here too. Also television company Canwest (who runs the TV3 and C4 channels) has a secondary transmitter here -- their primary one being at Waiatarua. The upper portion of the tower contains two restaurants (one revolving) and various observation decks. The tower attracts over 600,000 visitors a year.

The tower also features the SkyJump, a 192-metre cable-controlled bungy jump from the observation deck of the tower.

[edit] Construction

Image:View from Sky Tower Akl.jpg
360 degrees panorama view as seen from Sky Deck, Sky Tower, Auckland

After two and a half years of construction, the tower was opened on March 3, 1997, six months ahead of schedule [1]. During construction 15,000 cubic metres of concrete, 2,000 tonnes of reinforcing steel and 660 tonnes of structural steel were used. The mast alone weighs more than 170 tonnes.

Fletcher Construction were the contractural builders for the project. The engineering firm Beca provided the design management and coordination, structural, geotechnical, civil, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting and fire engineering services.

The tower is designed to withstand wind in excess of 210 km/h and resist earthquakes over a 1000 year period. Analysis shows that an earthquake centered 40 kilometers away and measured at 7.0 on the Richter magnitude scale would leave the tower practically undamaged. Even an earthquake measured at a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale, an extremely unlikely event in this location, would not collapse the tower.

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