The successor to the Tokyo Tower, transmitting digital broadcasting signals and other communications across the region, is the Tokyo Skytree, which, at 634 metres, is almost twice the size of its predecessor. It claims to be the tallest tower in the world, and the second-tallest structure, after the 830-metre Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Its design is both practical and elegant. The footprint is an equilateral triangle, surrounding the central core, and the external lattice transitions gradually to a cylinder at around 350 metres. There are two public observatories at 350 and 450 metres.
It was built 2008-2012 on the site of the Tobu Railway’s Narihirabashi Station, now renamed Tokyo Skytree Station, four miles north-east of Tokyo’s central station. The railway company is a major investor in the tower and the commercial development around its base.
In a location prone to earthquakes the Skytree is seismic proofed, with a suite of devices including the same sort of tuned mass damper that stabilises the CityCorp Center in New York City.
Its colouring is carefully chosen: it is painted a special blue-white, and is lit sky blue and purple on alternate nights.
The Tokyo Tower and the Toyko Skytree represent the best and most beautiful solutions to the same problem, a generation apart.
And now the city has two landmark high towers.