Race to the Clouds: The Evolving Skyscraper

Skyscrapers have been a fixture in the cityscape since the 19th century. Then, they were more commonplace in the United States and were used, as they still are, as way to solve the problem of population density. Since 1990, however, only one of the world’s tallest buildings has been in North America; the rest have been in Asia.

Cities around the world have been vying for the world’s tallest building. Since 1890, building height has increased 17 feet annually. The tallest skyscrapers all measure 650 feet or taller. Only 15 such buildings were built before 1960 with the majority being built since 1995. This year alone, 105 have been built in China.

Europe has very few super skyscrapers. A recent study in Dublin found that 58 percent of people view skyscrapers as a way to respond to population increases, but only 42 percent were in favor of skyscrapers in the Irish city.

Still, architects worldwide are racing to the clouds with ever-higher towers being designed and built each year.

Let’s look at five skyscrapers in development:

  1. The mixed-use skyscraper: The Miami Urban Design Review Board recently approved two towers developed by Turkey-based Okan Group. Mixed-use buildings, with their ability to weather economic downturns, are a lower risk for investors than single-use buildings, and are part of many cities’ plans to develop walkable neighborhoods where amenities and residential space are close. The Miami buildings would feature hotel and condominium space along with a restaurant, retail space and offices. Source: Construction Dive
  1. Three World Trade Center: The latest building on the site of the former World Trade Center towers, felled in the 9/11 attacks, is slated to open in the spring. Three World Trade Center measures 1,079 feet tall and contains 2 million square feet of retail and office space. At this height, the tower is considered a supertall skyscraper and is the 10thtallest building in the U.S. The exterior of the building is complete, and 90% of the building is completed overall. It was designed by London firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. One and Four World Trade Center, a transportation hub, and a museum already have been built on the site, and one more skyscraper and an arts center are planned. Source: de zeem
  1. 666 was unlucky: A mixed-use supertall skyscraper planned for New York City has reached a roadblock. The tower was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to replace a 60-year-old office building located at 666 Fifth Avenue. The problem is that Vornado Realty Trust, which owns 49.5 percent of the building, would rather refurbish it.  Another problem is the fact the land is owned by Kushner Companies, the company of the family of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The company lost China’s Anbang Insurance Group as an investor when Trump became president.  Kushner has since sold his stock in the company to his father, but the connection to Trump and the government has caused the company to loose other investors. Source: de zeem
  1. The most-expensive building: CK Asset, owned by Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, recently sold a 75% stake in one of its buildings to a Chinese energy firm for a record $5.15 billion. The building, called The Centre, is located in Hong Kong’s Central district.  It is only the city’s fifth largest building, but it comes with the heftiest price tag. The previous most- expensive building sold for $2.9 billion. It was a parking garage in a prime commercial location. Source: Khmer Times
  1. Suspended in the atmosphere: What happens when land on Earth becomes a premium? Look to the sky. Clouds Architecture Office, a New York design firm, has a radical solution: suspend a skyscraper from an asteroid 31,068 miles up. Called Analemma Tower, it would be the world’s tallest structure and would travel between the Northern and Southern hemisphere in a figure-eight motion daily. The building would be solar powered. Source:  Business Insider

 

Top photo © scanrail/GettyImages

About Author

Melina Druga

Melina Druga is an author and freelance journalist, working with our partner Reportlinker. www.reportlinker.com

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