Proposed Skyscrapers Push The Envelope Of Design

A cigarette-pack-shaped tower that will "breathe in air" to power the building? A Louisville skyscraper whose beauty is compared to the "gap between Lauren Hutton's teeth?" Proposed new towers are pushing the limits of height and good taste.

A surging global real estate market has emboldened often risk-averse contractors to propose increasingly ambitious and outlandish skyscraper designs. Technological advancements in design tools, construction techniques, and material fabrication are also freeing up investment dollars to reach further for the stars in tower height and design.

Among the most atypical skyscraper projects recently proposed include a tower for a Chinese tobacco company shaped like a cigarette pack that will "breathe" in air to generate power for the building. In Moscow, a planned $1.5 billion "vertical city for 25,000 people" hopes to be not only Europe's tallest skyscraper, but also the only modern building with a natural ventilation system.

In perhaps the wackiest design, a tower proposed for Louisville, Kentucky, looks like "a three-legged chair with a 22-story diagonal elevator that accesses a 'floating island in the sky' art museum."

[Editor's note: This story will be available online for seven days after publication.]

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