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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 00:41 GMT 01:41 UK
Malaysia hosts skyscraper forum

By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur

A major conference on the future of tall buildings opens on Tuesday to discuss the lessons that can be learned from the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings in New York.

The 508-metre-tall (1,676 ft) Taipei 101 building
At present, Taiwan has the world's tallest skyscraper
The Kuala Lumpur gathering is the first global meeting of architects and engineers since the investigations into the consequences of the 11 September attacks in 2001 were completed.

The attacks have prompted a major rethink of how tall buildings should be designed.

Gene Corley, who headed the investigation into the collapse of New York's twin towers, says they remained standing longer than expected after being struck by aircraft.

However, he believes two design changes could have reduced the number of casualties.

He will tell the conference that emergency escape routes should be spread out so that a disaster would be less likely to render all of them ineffective, as they were in the two towers where they were grouped close together.

A look at the world's tallest skyscrapers

He also wants to see better fireproofing, as fire was a major factor in the buildings' collapse.

Other speakers have yet more imaginative proposals.

Anthony Wood of Britain's Nottingham University wants tall buildings to be joined by a series of bridges between their upper levels to provide an additional means of escape.

He would also like to see those floors linked by aerial walkways given over the shops and other facilities, to created a city in the sky.

The BBC's James Coomarasamy
"Rumours of the skyscraper's demise were premature"

Skyscrapers 'sinking' Shanghai
13 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Building concern over Taipei tower
06 Jan 03  |  Business

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