Breaking down the skyscraper by Dr Shams Naga

ShamsNaga

What tall buildings mean and how they evolved

What are your views on the skyscraper?

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The skyscraper came about as a response to density. We, as human beings, are social and interdependent and it is in our nature to congregate whether in small gatherings in villages or millions in big cities. Without skyscrapers there just would not be such globally important cities as New York or Dubai.

What limits tall building design? The form of a skyscraper is bound to be, essentially, a tube created by extruding the typical floor plate. Therefore variety in form articulation is then restricted to the building envelope. Internally an occupant can only experience the journey towards a dwelling place.

If you have an apartment on the 20th storey of a 30 storey building your experience would be restricted to the lobby, then the elevator, then almost always a dark corridor before you enter your apartment and look out for a high viewpoint, which typically lacks a sense of neighbourhood.

How can this be avoided? We have seen some resolutions to this dilemma with the creation of buildings such as the CTTV building in Beijing by OMA, but these are typically costly and very few clients would be willing to fund such ambitious undertakings.

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