In the words of Thomas Friedman, the world is getting flatter. More wealth and opportunity are available to more people than ever before, and rich people all over the world are discovering new and innovative ways of demonstrating their success. Here are a few of the most extravagant construction projects from all over the world.
As China begins to build a consumer economy atop its massive industrial and agricultural base, conspicuous consumption has become the watchword in cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong. The Shanghai World Financial Center is the second-tallest building in the world and a powerful symbol of wealth, towering 1,614 feet above ground. It features the world’s tallest hotel (The Park Hyatt Shanghai on the 79th floor), and in 2014, it will be joined by the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai Tower to create the world’s first trio of super-skyscrapers.
Dubai has become almost synonymous with extravagant construction projects, from the artificial archipelagoes of Palm Deira and The World to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world. Built in the oil-rich desert of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is one of the Middle East’s great success stories, leveraging their vast oil wealth into tourism, financial services, and real estate. Today, a massive desalinization system and water pumps bring fresh water to the thirsty city, and even allow indoor skiing, and the most powerful outdoor fountains on earth.
3. New York
Just six days ago, more than a decade after the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the final touches were completed on One World Trade Center, a super-skyscraper that now towers over the New York skyline at 1,776 feet. At $3.8 billion, it is the most expensive building ever built, largely due to its tremendous security apparatus. The building stands on a colossal column of solid, reinforced concrete, and all the windows are constructed of super-tough, blast-resistant plastic. It features special stairwells for emergency crews, and a biological and chemical filter in its air ducts.
While Kuwait lacks the buzz of its fellow oil titans on the Persian Gulf, they are not to be outdone in opulence. The Al-Hamra tower in Kuwait city is the tallest sculpted tower on earth, displaying a distinctive Arab flair with 258 square kilometers of white limestone—enough to blanket New York’s Central Park. Kuwait City also boasts Aqua Park, the largest and best-known waterpark in the Middle East.
Russia’s oil-rich oligarchs have transformed the capital into a humming, glitzy beacon of cutthroat capitalism. The latest and greatest construction project in Moscow is the Federation Tower, due to be completed this year. The building is designed to look like a great sail, and when the spire is attached, it will be the largest skyscraper in Europe. It has already been used extensively by base-jumpers, extreme sports enthusiasts, and international filmmakers.
Tara Wagner is a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She's fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver.