Mark Byrnes is a former senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
The Skytree debuts in Tokyo.
Tokyo's Skytree made its official debut earlier today in front of about 200,000 visitors. The tower offers two separate observation decks (one at 1,148 feet and another at 1,476 feet) as well as a small collection of restaurants and shops.
Standing at 2,080 feet, the Skytree is now the world's tallest tower and second tallest structure (after Dubai's 2,723-foot Burj Khalifa). It will replace the 1,093-foot Tokyo Tower, which was surrounded by too many high-rise buildings to give complete digital television coverage.
In earthquake-prone Japan, the Skytree is designed to absorb 50 percent of the energy from a seismic movement. It is painted Skytree White, a color based on a bluish white traditional Japanese color known "aijiro." It is part of Skytree Town, a commercial complex that includes an aquarium, a planetarium, office space, and shopping center.
The opening was joyful, though not completely problem-free. High winds forced two elevators to stop around 6 p.m. local time, temporarily stranding visitors in one of the observatories, according to a Japan Times report.
Via Reuters, pictures of the tower from the end of construction in February to today:
The view from the first observatory deck on October 30, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato
The recent eclipse is seen over Tokyo Skytree. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A man, wearing his handmade costume, poses outside. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon