Since the emergence of the modern multi-storey building in the late 19th century, screenwriters and art directors have embraced the high-rise building as both backdrop and prop in the drama of feature films. It’s easy to understand the fascination. The precarious nature of a skyscraper – their height, their reliance on competent engineering and emergency systems, and their all-controlling security – provide abundant opportunities for action and disaster. And all with a built-in view.
But while Hollywood loves a high rise, it hasn’t treated them well. Plot lines usually tap into a general scepticism about the kind of engineering feats which make them possible and often carry some underlying moral message about the dangers of technology and advancement.
When one thinks of the stereotypical “American” life, images of Suburbia, of small homes with white picket fences, immediately come to mind. But beyond the stereotype is the lived experience of millions of Americans, who have grown up in cities across the country, and indeed, the world.
If you are one of these millions, and have lived at least some of your life in a high-rise building, then you can be of use to the New York Times‘ new Op-Docs series. This summer they will create four short documentaries, directed by the filmmaker Katerina Cizek, exploring “the history and future of high-rise buildings and their relationship to issues of equity, segregation and social responsibility in cities around the world.” The fourth film will consist entirely of images sent by you, the public.
If you have an image (digital or a scanned still) that tells a story about your experience living in or around vertical housing, you can submit it to The New York Times here - just make sure to do it before April 15th.
Story via The New York Times
Ever wonder why the skyline of Los Angeles is peppered with flat top skyscrapers? Or for that matter, why does such a global cosmopolitan city have so relatively few skyscrapers dotting its cityscape, the majority residing in downtown LA?
The answer lies in a section of the Los Angeles Municipal Code introduced in 1974 – Sec. 57.118.12 – “Emergency Helicopter Landing Facility.” The code stipulates that “Each building shall have a rooftop emergency helicopter landing facility in a location approved by the [Fire] Chief.” The text also dictates that the helipads measure 50′x50′ in addition to a 25′ safety buffer. The resulting skyline thus far has been dominated by flat roof skyscrapers that would only make it through the planning process if in strict accordance with this code. However, a newly introduced proposal called the Hollywood Community Plan would allow skyscrapers to be constructed along the subway served “Hollywood Corridor.” In lieu of embarking on a plan that would surely result in more box type towers, an amendment has been introduced into the plan that would exempt skyscrapers within the corridor from having to conform to Sec. 57.118.12 helipad requirements. More After the break.