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How tall is the White Tower?


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I still stand by my 600 foot estimate for the total height of the Tower, and I like the suggestion from earlier that there's twelve feet per story. That would make the Tower a nice even fifty stories high.

 

Nothing concrete, but it has a certain "correctness" to it, in my opinion.

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I still stand by my 600 foot estimate for the total height of the Tower, and I like the suggestion from earlier that there's twelve feet per story. That would make the Tower a nice even fifty stories high.

 

Nothing concrete, but it has a certain "correctness" to it, in my opinion.

i agree :)

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This is pretty funny reading!

 

A ceiling height of ten feet???? That made me laugh! In the Wt? A place Ogier built - you seriously think they made it so they couldn't wear a hat or walk through a door? Lol!

 

Also this notion that floors and ceilings have no height, ie, 600/12 = 50 floors? Yes, in a building with rice paper for floorboards!

 

What about rooms like where Rand talks to Eggy, everyone cramped into this ten foot tall room to watch the Dragon Reborn.... Very impressive scene that would be in this pokey ten foot tall room! No no no no no, you are all imagining it totally wrong!

 

In the AOL the things the built were all average, the people were average, all load baring weights were conventional and average........ No no no!!! These people had flying machines so you didnt have to walk thousands of steps for crying out loud!

 

Honestly, not even one of you guys imagined the room all the ajahs sit in and vote is taller than 10 feet?? Or that the library would have tall shelves? This is a building which requires no ladders? Crazy...!!

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....ie the WT is clearly taller than 600 feet. Anything less than 700 is too short unless I'm mistaken and actually this is a school for ants.

 

Your disregard for all the actual information given us is absolutely amazing.

 

Ten feet per story means an eight foot high ceiling and two feet between floors. Twelve feet would either give you two to four thick floors/ceilings, given whether or not you wanted ten or eight feet between floor and ceiling. These would be standard floors. You can obviously have some rooms, like the Hall, that takes up multiple stories, though the corridors and rooms outside of it would follow the normal story plan (in fact, I'm pretty sure the Hall has at least two floors; isn't there a balcony section where the "public" Aes Sedai may watch?) Other large halls could also take up multiple stories. That much is common sense.

 

Out of everything you posted, the only good thought you gave was that the Tower was largely Ogier built, so we may expect that the floor to ceiling distance is higher than eight or even ten feet. (As an aside, I feel like it was mentioned somewhere in the books that the first "so many" floors had higher ceilings than many of the upper floors specifically for Ogier, but I'm too lazy to search the text for that. It's important to note that, while the Tower was built with the help of Ogier masons, it was built for humans, so the whole structure might not be made to accommodate Ogier). Let's assume for a moment that the whole structure WAS built to accommodate them. I'd say ceilings would have to be at least twelve feet in height, and then you'd need a few feet for floors. It would be forty stories at 15 feet per story, and 43 (with a little rounding) at 14 feet per story.

 

BelRobin has stated that Egwene was fighting on the 43rd floor of the Tower in Towers of Midnight, and I don't believe it was supposed to be the top floor, either, so we can rule out the "Ogier height" stories for the whole Tower. However, you could fit four or five stories at "Ogier height" and come out to 48-49 stories. We could also assume that 100 spans wasn't entirely exact. Bring it up to 102 spans and you could still fit 50 stories at twelve feet per story except for the bottom few. Or we could assume some stories are only ten feet in height with eight foot ceilings (again, excluding large halls and such) which is also very common.

 

So whatever. The Tower is about 600 feet high. We've been told 100 spans. That translates to 600 feet if we convert under the idea that 1 foot = 1 foot (which I believe is more accurate), or we can take RJ's description of the size of a march as exact (I take it to be an estimation) and assume the Tower to be closer to 550 feet (under the "march" conversion there's about 11 of our inches to a Randland foot), maybe a little over if we give or take a few spans.

Edited by Agitel
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I'm not sure where BelRobin got the figure of 43 for Egwene's position from, but I think he's mistaken:

 

There seemed to be two points of combat in the raid. The base of the Tower, with its two flanking wings, showed flashes of light. The grounds were littered with the dead and the wounded. And up above, near the middle of the Tower, several gashes were spewing fireballs and lightning back out at the invaders. The rest of the Tower seemed silent and dead, though surely fighting was going on in the corridors.

 

 

“Saerin Sedai!” Captain Chubain said, turning from a group of wounded soldiers. Saerin hadn't seen them enter; she'd been too caught up with Katerine. “These men are down from the upper levels. It appears that there's a second rallying point for the defense, and it's doing very well. The Seanchan are breaking off their attack below to focus there.”

 

“Where?” Saerin asked eagerly. “Specifically?”

 

“The twenty-second, Aes Sedai. Northeastern quarter.”

 

“What?” Katerine asked. “The Brown Ajah sections?”

 

No. That was what had been there before. Now, with the swapping of the Tower's corridors, that area of the Tower was . . . “The novices' quarters?” Saerin said. That seemed even more ridiculous. “How in the world. . . .” She trailed off, eyes widening slightly. “Egwene.”

 

Egwene is on the 22nd level, which is near the middle of the tower. It seems therefore to be about 40-45 levels high.

Edited by FarShainMael
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About 600 feet tall? Hmm, interesting, in my mind I have always pictured it to be about 400 feet tall, don't know why... Isn't the Wall in ASoFaI said to be over 700 feet tall? That Brandon the Builder was more skilled than Aes Sedai and Ogier.

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It's possible that the floors have varying heights, and perhaps rooms which open up into multi-floor atriums. I always imagined the libraries to be similar to those. The descriptions of the city's buildings seem to point towards the Ogier having quite a bit of flare when it comes to building, especially with wave forms.

 

And are we counting the basements in this height estimate, or just the above-ground structure?

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Okay i stand by my estimate of 15 foot ceilings,but im giving each

ajah seven floors each.you know living/training/research facilities.

the main hall where egwene(ugh!)meets rand 40 feet.

plus she has her offices on the top floor.

51 stories high.about 800 feet tall.

you made me do math i hate that.

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@Agitel

 

Why did you respond to me with such a strong tone?! You appear very annoyed! It's a funny mistake made in almost all previous posts with the maths! I'm laughing with no malice, it's just funny is all, relax.

 

Re previous post well done for getting good maths on the go, i think you are about right.

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I just read aCoS prologue, where Elaida commented on this subject. she just has her new office high in the tower, 80 span above the ground. altough she isn't at the top, she thinks to be pretty close. It would be hard to believe that it would measure over 100 span. Also, note that normal masonry rules don't count. the WT was build by ogier with the support of AS. when Elaida ordered the chief mason for her own palace however, he would believe it to be almost impossible to make a structure 2 inch higher than the WT. so it must be at least pretty close to conventional masonry max.

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@Agitel

 

Why did you respond to me with such a strong tone?! You appear very annoyed! It's a funny mistake made in almost all previous posts with the maths! I'm laughing with no malice, it's just funny is all, relax.

 

Re previous post well done for getting good maths on the go, i think you are about right.

 

I was just responding to what sounded like a similar tone. Again, though, there was no mistake in the math. I explained how many of your criticisms were incorrect in my post. Again, we've also already been told the height of the White Tower. It is 100 spans high. A span is 5'6" to 6'. The White Tower is about 550 to 600 feet tall.

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Technically speaking, you should be able to build a masonry until it gets so high that the weight of the blocks above the base row exceed the compressive strength of the stone that forms the base row. Limestone has a maximum compressive strength of 42 thousand psi. A one cubic foot block of limestone weighs about 163 lbs. So, in a complete vacuum in an ideal environment, where there's no possibility for winds or sideways forces or earthquakes or settling of any kind happening to such a tower, you could stack cubic foot blocks of limestone on top of one another for 7 miles before you exceed that maximum compressive strength. Of course, the minimum compressive strength of limestone is only a little more than 2000 psi, which would limit the height of your tower to only about 1766 ft tall.

 

Now, neither we nor Rand live in such an ideal, airless and otherwise motionless environment. So you've got torsional and shearing stresses the stone and wooden reinforcing structures have to tolerate, among others. What we do know is that with some industrial age technology, but not yet using steel as a building material, we can build stone structures up to nearly 600 feet tall, and with more modern construction techniques, still without using steel, we could probably overtop 600 feet now, but there's really no point when steel structures are cheaper and easier to build. None of the purely masonry structures we've constructed in history have overtopped about 550 ft, none of them have been intended as living spaces within the tower structure, and all of them over about 400 ft, excepting the Great Pyramids, were built within the last 200 years, or firmly within the Industrial Period. Medieval and Renaissance buildings never really got much above 300 ft. So a 600 ft tall, usable, livable tower that wasn't just for show being built during an era of Medieval and Renaissance technology is incredibly impressive, and probably not possible without the magic of the Power and skill of the Ogier.

 

Just for fun, you could also estimate the amount of interior space the White Tower would require to house the 1000 Aes Sedai it's supposed to be able to house, accommodate hallways and meeting rooms and storage rooms and the Amrylin's level. Last time I did this I came up with a figure of around 25 million cubic feet. Assuming the Tower is a square building with roughly straight up-and-down walls and accounting for the thickness of those walls as support, at 600 feet tall, each face of the White Tower would have to be around 250 feet across, or around 33 spans. It could be bigger, of course, but it can't be too much smaller and accommodate all the things it's supposed to accommodate. And I kind of like the image of a Tower that's 3 times taller than it is wide.

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Just for fun, you could also estimate the amount of interior space the White Tower would require to house the 1000 Aes Sedai it's supposed to be able to house, accommodate hallways and meeting rooms and storage rooms and the Amrylin's level. Last time I did this I came up with a figure of around 25 million cubic feet. Assuming the Tower is a square building with roughly straight up-and-down walls and accounting for the thickness of those walls as support, at 600 feet tall, each face of the White Tower would have to be around 250 feet across, or around 33 spans. It could be bigger, of course, but it can't be too much smaller and accommodate all the things it's supposed to accommodate. And I kind of like the image of a Tower that's 3 times taller than it is wide.

 

The Tower also has two wings, though I'm unsure how big those are. It was also meant to accommodate far more people than just 1,000. Remember, there is a lot of talk about their numbers being low, and I think Egwene was bringing that many people back to the Tower all by herself with all the recruitment being done.

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Just for fun, you could also estimate the amount of interior space the White Tower would require to house the 1000 Aes Sedai it's supposed to be able to house, accommodate hallways and meeting rooms and storage rooms and the Amrylin's level. Last time I did this I came up with a figure of around 25 million cubic feet. Assuming the Tower is a square building with roughly straight up-and-down walls and accounting for the thickness of those walls as support, at 600 feet tall, each face of the White Tower would have to be around 250 feet across, or around 33 spans. It could be bigger, of course, but it can't be too much smaller and accommodate all the things it's supposed to accommodate. And I kind of like the image of a Tower that's 3 times taller than it is wide.

 

The Tower also has two wings, though I'm unsure how big those are. It was also meant to accommodate far more people than just 1,000. Remember, there is a lot of talk about their numbers being low, and I think Egwene was bringing that many people back to the Tower all by herself with all the recruitment being done.

also the tower has novices and accepted who it has to house, which clearly they could house more than double the number that they have, they even have a second kitchens that hasn't been used in generations. and last i knew there were closer to 1500 current aes sedai than 1000, but i would suspect that regardless of that number, they have room in the tower for atleast twice as many sisters, not counting the staff.

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If I recall correctly, the Novices and Accepted are housed in a building attached to the main Tower itself. And as for the number of Aes Sedai it's supposed to be able to accomodate, you're right, it's not 1000, but 3000. Had it right in my calculations, reported it wrong.

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If I recall correctly, the Novices and Accepted are housed in a building attached to the main Tower itself. And as for the number of Aes Sedai it's supposed to be able to accomodate, you're right, it's not 1000, but 3000. Had it right in my calculations, reported it wrong.

true, the novices and accepted are house in the wing near the library, which of course is where the browns ended up when they got their places swapped =P.

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Plus, I rather doubt they're housing the cooks and servants in the Tower proper. A small number of Aes Sedai would have private servants, or Warders, but they're likely housed in the Aes Sedai's apartments as well, or they have their own quarters with the rest of the servants and Gaidin. Plus, with a capacity of 3000 Aes Sedai, and closer to 1000 Aes Sedai actually in residence, it'd be pretty easy to find room for the few servants and Gaidin deemed important enough to need to be housed in the Tower itself. I assumed the average Aes Sedai's apartments were 10x30 with 10' high ceilings, and added about twice as much again for the rooms dedicated to the Hall, the Amrylin, and other public spaces like dining halls and kitchens. It's mentioned that the top half of the Tower is dedicated to living quarters while the bottom half is dedicated to the Hall, so if there's any kind of slope to the walls of the Tower, that seems to me like 2:1 ratio of public spaces (including the Hall stuff) to living spaces could be pretty close to right.

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I just read the New Spring graphic novel, it's glossary says straight out that the white tower is 600 ft. Now, i don't know if this the graphic novels are considered part of WoT canon, but RJ wouldn't have let them put in completely incorrect info would he?

 

Another interesting tidbit from NS GN, included in the back are emails from RJ to the artist, etc. Well in one he says that the Aiel average height is 6'2". which he obviously means in OUR foot and inch. So yeah, heights weren't shorter (as per earlier debates in this thread), which means their foot is probably the same as our foot, and it's the inches that are off.

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600 feet,i thought i read that somewhere.thank you sir mandersen.

the one picture i have you couldn't tell the hieght.

Edited by BelRobin
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  • 4 months later...

This is a very interesting topic. I just discussed this with a few friends last weekend.

 

It's stated somewhere that the upper half of the Tower houses the Ajah quarters, and that each ajah has a pie shaped section. If Egwene fought the Seanchan at level 22, that leaves room for at most 44 floors, if she was at the bottom of the ajah quarters section.

 

The Aes Sedai apartments seem to be just that - apartments. Moiraine and Siuan were given very spacious rooms.

 

The apartments chosen for Siuan and her [Moiraine] were side by side a little off the main corridor, each containing a speacious bed-chamber, a large sitting room, a dressing room and a study, with fireplaces of carved marble ...

 

Those are a lot of large and spacious rooms. I doubt even less ranking Aes Sedai would be stuffed away in some novice-sized chambers; they've got apartments. At least of fair sizes, although I would assume some are more luxurious than others. But they should have to be, on average ... what? 600-700 square feet? That's a decent-sized two-room apartment by our modern standards.

 

And then, aside from those rooms, each ajah section would have to have meeting room, storerooms, etc, that probably takes up a lot of space.

 

I'm having trouble figuring out how to fit 3000 such rooms on 22 floors, with all additional space required, if those 22 floors make up 300 feet ... without getting some enormous block of a building. It's a tower. Look at the Philadelphia city hall ... how do you fit 3000 people in the upper half of that and still call it a tower? It'd be a big block. It's got to be taller than it's wide, a lot, to be called a tower. Even though it's a "thick tower".

 

We did some calculations (and it's too late for me to try and translate them into feet from meters and make sure I get everything right :P), but we reached the conclusion that, according for it to fit with our view of a tower and still be able to house all of those Aes Sedai, it'd have to be closer to 800 feet tall.

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When they say the "upper half", they may not mean exactly half. Still, that could only add on a few more floors at most. I'd be interested in seeing the quote you're referencing, not because I don't believe you, but because I'm curious as to whether more of the Tower is set-up for apartments but only the "upper half" is in use due to depleted numbers.

Edited by Agitel
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