No, that's not a real skyscraper

The star of the new blockbuster Skyscraper may not be Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, but the enormous Pearl tower around which the film is based

Story by: David Renwick

If you’ve been to the movies lately, chances are you’ve seen a trailer for the latest Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson blockbuster Skyscraper.

In the film, terrorists light the 96th floor on fire, thus trapping The Rock’s family. He must (presumably, the film isn’t out yet) navigate his way up the tower to save them. In addition to a famously unrealistic leap of faith – seen below in the poster – in which The Rock seems to jump across a distance of at least 10 metres, architecture buffs will also have noticed the stupendously tall building for which the film is named.

No, it’s not a real building, nor is it based on anything that exists in the real world.


The tower is called “The Pearl”, and apparently stands at 1,067-meters-tall. Described in the trailer as a ‘Living city’, The Pearl is also the most advanced building in the world and the safest. Several floors function like an ‘Arcology’, too, meaning they’re able to operate without any interaction with the ground.

From an architectural standpoint, the tower seems twist its way up into the sky, supporting a sizeable sphere on the very top. While it would make sense for the sphere to be a mass damper, the trailer shows it to house restaurants and offices (Mass dampers help to reduce mechanical vibrations in large towers). We’re not exactly sure how a tower of that size (and shape) could remain stable and support such a crazy design.

Of course, Skyscraper is just a summer blockbuster, and The Pearl is clearly designed to serve a very specific plot.

The film releases 12 July 2018.

Jul 06, 2018
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