Sky Tower

Infobox Skyscraper
building_name = Sky Tower

caption = Looking up at the Sky Tower / Sky Tower lit up at night.
year_highest =
year_end =
plural =
location = Flagicon|New Zealand Auckland City, New Zealand
status =
groundbreaking = 1994
constructed = 1994-1997
est-completion =
opening = March 3, 1997
demolished =
destroyed =
use = Communications, observation, mixed use
antenna_spire = convert|328|m|ft|1|abbr=on
roof =
top_floor = convert|222|m|ft|1|abbr=on
floor_count =
elevator_count =
cost =
floor_area =
architect = Craig Craig Moller Ltd.
engineer = Beca Group
contractor =
developer = Harrah's Entertainment
owner = SKYCITY Entertainment Group
management = SKYCITY Entertainment Group
The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the Auckland CBD, Auckland City, New Zealand. It is convert|328|m|ft|0 tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, [ Case Studies: Sky Tower] (from the University of Auckland, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Retrieved 2007-12-01.)] making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, and the 12th tallest member of the World Federation of Great Towers. [ Fun Facts] (from the SKYCITY Auckland website. Retrieved 2007-10-22.)] Due to its shape and height, especially when compared to the next tallest buildings, it has become an iconic Auckland structure, often used in logos and promotions.

The landmark is part of the SKYCITY Auckland casino complex, owned and operated by SKYCITY Entertainment Group. However, the complex was originally built for Harrah's Entertainment." [ In Auckland, Life Is Alfresco] " - "The New York Times", 5 October 1997]


The upper portion of the tower contains two restaurant levels (one, 'Orbit' with revolving seating, turning 360 degrees once every hour )" [ Orbit, Sky Tower] " - "The New Zealand Herald", Saturday 19 May 2007] and one cafe level, as well as two observation decks (including some with sections of glass floor). The tower attracts, on average, 1,450 visitors per day (over 500,000 per year). [ Sky Tower Education] (from the SKYCITY Auckland website. Accessed 2008-03-04.)]

The tower also features the SkyJump, a 192-metre [ Auckland: Don't Miss: Action in the outdoors] (from the Tourism New Zealand website. Retrieved 2007-12-02.)] 'fan descender' jump (an experience between a bungy jump and a base jump) from the observation deck, during which a jumper can reach up to convert|85|km/h|mph|abbr=on. The jump is guide-cable-controlled to prevent jumpers from colliding with the tower in case of gusts. [ [ SkyJump] (from the official website. Accessed 2008-06-21.)] Climbs into the antennae portion (convert|300|m|ft|abbr=on|disp=/ heights) are also possible for tour groups.

As well as for entertainment, the tower is used for telecommunications and broadcasting with the Auckland Peering Exchange (APE) being located on Level 48. Several radio broadcasting companies co-locate transmitters and share antenna systems, while television company Canwest (who ran the TV3 and C4 channels) has secondary transmitters on the tower, their primary one being at Waiatarua.Fact|date=September 2007


The Sky Tower features prominently on the Auckland skyline at night due to its extensive illumination and SkyCity uses this lighting of the tower in a number of ways for supporting various causes using a number of colours or mix of colours to promote these things, a few examples are:

*Blue = Auckland Blues Rugby franchise
*Pink = Breast Cancer Awareness Month
*Red & Green = [, 'Kidz First' Childrens Hospital]
*Red & Gold = Chinese New Year
*Blue & Green = Starship Children's Foundation
*Orange = Auckland Festival

*Green & Purple = The Auckland Cup
*Green = St. Patrick's Day
*Red = The America's Cup
*Green, Red and White = Rally New Zealand
*Gold = New Zealand Olympians at the XXIX Olympiad

Pictures of the colour-coding can be seen at the SkyCity website [ here]

As during the winter months, electricity consumption in New Zealand increases dramatically, and with much of the power reserve in the country depending on the water level of the hydro-lakes, various power-saving schemes are introduced to prevent blackouts. [ [ Powersavers] (from the '' website. Accessed 2008-09-14.)] In an effort to promote power saving, SkyCity turned off the tower lighting in Winter 2008, retaining only the flashing red aviation lights. SkyCity is also minimising façade flood lighting across its complex. Simon Jamieson, General Manager SKYCITY Auckland Hotels Group, said: "Like every New Zealander, we are concerned about the country's electricity supply, and we believe it is our responsibility to make this move to assist with the power saving request." [ [ SKYCITY Auckland switches off the Sky Tower] (from a SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited press release. 10/06/2008. Accessed 2008-09-14.)] The tower was reilluminated on August 4 in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics. [ [ Sky Tower Relights Auckland Skyline] (from a SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited press release. 04/08/2008. Accessed 2008-09-14.)]


Project history

Fletcher Construction was the contracted builder for the project while engineering firm Beca Group provided the design management and coordination, structural, geotechnical, civil, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting and fire engineering services. It was designed by Gordon Moller of Craig Craig Moller, and has received a New Zealand Institute of Architects National Award as well as regional awards. [ [ Sky Tower] (from the website of Craig Craig Moller, Sky Tower's architects)]

Taking two and a half years of construction time, the tower was opened on March 3, 1997, six months ahead of schedule. [ [ Sky Tower] (from 'Feature Projects', Beca Group website)]

Facts and figures

The tower is constructed of reinforced, high-performance concrete. Its convert|12|m|ft|sing=on diameter shaft (containing three lifts and an emergency stairwell) is supported on eight 'legs' based on 16 foundation piles drilled over convert|12|m|ft|abbr=on deep into the local sandstone. [ Projects: Commercial: Sky Tower] (from the Fletcher Construction website. Retrieved 2007-12-02.)] The main shaft was built using climbing formwork.

The upper levels were constructed from composite materials, structural steel, precast concrete and reinforced concrete, and the observation decks clad in aluminium with blue/green reflective glass. A structural steel framework supports the upper mast structure. During construction convert|15000|m3|cuyd of concrete, convert|2000|metric ton|short ton|lk=on of reinforcing steel and convert|660|metric ton|short ton of structural steel were used. The mast alone weighs over convert|170|metric ton|short ton. [ Construction Facts] (from the SKYCITY Auckland website)] It had to be lifted into place using a crane attached to the structure, as it would have been too heavy for a helicopter to lift. To then remove the crane, another crane had to be constructed attached to the upper part of the Sky Tower structure, which dismantled the big crane, and was in turn dismantled into pieces small enough to fit into the elevator.


The tower is designed to withstand wind in excess of convert|200|km/h|mph|abbr=on and resist earthquakes with a 1,000 year return period. Analysis shows that an earthquake centered convert|40|km|mi|spell=us away and reaching 7.0 on the Richter magnitude scale is expected to leave the tower practically undamaged. Even an earthquake measured at a magnitude of 8.0 (10 times stronger than a 7.0 quake), and located only convert|20|km|mi|abbr=on away, is not expected to collapse the tower. As an additional safeguard against emergencies, fireproof rooms on the lower levels of the observation deck would provide refuge in the unlikely event of a conflagration, while the stairwell itself is also fire-safety rated.

The sky tower has so far been closed at least once for weather-related reasons, during a storm in November 2006, when the structure started to sway noticeably in winds of up to convert|150|km/h|mph|abbr=on. The closure was noted as not having been strictly necessary except for visitor comfort, as the tower has been designed to sway up to one metre (39 in)" [ Some homes still powerless after storm] " - "The New Zealand Herald", Friday 10 November 10, 2006] in high winds of up to convert|210|km/h|mph|abbr=on, which are expected to occur only once in 1,000 years on average.


ee also

*Macau Tower (inspired by the Sky Tower, designed by the same company)
*SkyCity Auckland (base building of the Sky Tower complex)
*Sydney Tower (The second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere)

External links

* [ Sky Tower] (official Sky Tower website)
* [ Explore the Sky Tower] (interactive Sky Tower, requires Macromedia Flash)
* [ 360° view from tower] (from Skycity website, requires Quicktime)

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