I've been reading through other posts about such megastructures and they're getting me part of the way to my destination. Wanted to see about a few specific options my imagination has latched onto.

The original concept is a tower, an arcology with a 1 km base level (willing to taper it as it gets higher if necessary), reaching to at least 8 km altitude.

Assume that available power is not an issue.

One idea is: Blocks, rectangular or triangular prisms, containing powerful electromagnets that are the 'mortar'. I liked this option because the society is ancient, and a blocky look fits the aesthetic better, masking the futurism. I realize it is power inefficient. Would such a thing work on this scale?


EDIT to reflect excellent comments:

Trying to avoid elegant solutions such as Space Fountain, Space Elevator, etc. We want to solve the issue of structural stability with brute force as much as possible. Would a system like this hold up versus gravity, bending and torque at high altitudes?

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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome. Please see tour and help center. This site is for specific questions with specific answers, answers that can be judged valid or invalid. It is hard to tell what's your specific question here. Phrases like "Insight?" belong to a discussion forum, not Stack's Q&A model. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Apr 13, 2018 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ This starts to look good :) To whoever downvoted: please reconsider now. Maybe it's good enough? As we can see OP is doing his best to make it a really good question. Let's do our best to help him, and to find an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Apr 13, 2018 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ What is exactly the purpose of those electromagnets that are the 'mortar'? I would expect that the sheer weight of the structure would hold the blocks in place; the Great Pyramid does not use mortar. Mortar is for bricks; bricks don't have enough strength in compression to hold an 8 km tower. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Apr 13, 2018 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_fountain this might be useful. Active support is hella cool $\endgroup$
    – Ummdustry
    Apr 13, 2018 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ Check into “space elevator” construction ideas. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Apr 13, 2018 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


I am enamored of the combination of unlimited power and primitive blocky architecture!

My suggestions:

  1. Spin. The entire tower spins on its axis. This provides

1a: Gyroscopic stabilization. The tower will be disinclined to tip while spinning, for the same reason a spinning bicycle wheel stabilizes the bike.

1b: Levitation. There are propellers mounted along the tower which use the tower as an axis. The spin generates lift, reducing the weight of the tower by pushing down against the air.

  1. Static electricity. The tower is predisposed to hold a charge, because it is made of obsidian glass. Just as a static charge streaming up a hair will lift the hair from the head or a straw from a table, a static charge generated by the unlimited power source and streaming up the tower reduces the weight of the tower. The tip of the tower is sharply pointed and is surrounded by a bright corona discharge which will turn into upwards lightning bolts if any clouds come near.

I would like the static electricity to come from some sort of earth current or earth-sky conductive circuit. I would like the static electricity to somehow also be responsible for the spinning motion. That way the thing can stay working, unattended after the original builders are gone. Explorers can find it in some later age, still spinning, still sparking.

  • $\begingroup$ That is a really cool idea. So basically we're still looking at this notion of lifting the structure as in a space fountain, just through other means. I hadn't thought of lifting it another way! $\endgroup$
    – TJA
    Apr 14, 2018 at 12:22

The tallest building in the world is the Burj Kalifa in Dubai - it required much ingenuity but mainly the issues it faced were:

  • The foundations - getting solid enough grounding to support the building
  • The width - the taller your building, the wider the base to support it. The wider then the less light penetration. The Burj was split into 3 to deal with this problem.
  • The height - even at only 828m in height, the building would sway significantly in the wind and could cause distress to occupants
  • The elevators - most elevators can only do a limited height at a time. Most skyscrapers then use 'sky lobbies' as a way to solve this problem, but it is only a matter of time (or height) where this becomes a nuisance too much for people.
  • The money - Tall buildings are very expensive, not only to build but to maintain, service and occupy. Also, there comes a point where the cost to benefit ratio is no longer there - even the Burj was on the verge of unfeasibility when it was built.

I read another article that it is conceivable to build an 8km tall skyscaper, the height of Everest, but the base would likely be the width of Everest too. At this size it would be difficult to have satisfactory solutions to the above issues.

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    $\begingroup$ Not to minimize the problems, but one seems to have a solution: Elevators. There is currently exiting (but not deployed) technology to use linear induction motors to lift elevator cars. This mean no need for cables, the ability to have multiple cars in one shaft, and the ability move cars sideways (e.g., between shafts). This makes the elevator system much more like automobiles and eliminates most of the bottlenecks. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Olson
    Apr 13, 2018 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkOlson awesome comment. Elevators were my next stop $\endgroup$
    – TJA
    Apr 13, 2018 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ The question is a duplicate: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/63047/… $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Apr 13, 2018 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Thucydides I did read that thread, but my question wasn't about getting an insane amount of height and pushing the upper limits, it was about using a less efficient method to achieve a much lower (but still impressive) height. $\endgroup$
    – TJA
    Apr 14, 2018 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ @M.A.Golding Natural light is actually a requirement in most building codes throughout the world - also studies have shown exposure to natural light conditions increases productivity by up to 20%. It is a major limitation to the design of a building and the main reason size and shape of all buildings is limited to certain configurations in plan. Most buildings that appear wide from the outside actually have courtyards, light wells, or even translucent roofing to transmit this natural light into the interior. $\endgroup$
    – flox
    Apr 16, 2018 at 14:10

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