AD Classics: Woolworth Building / Cass Gilbert

View of Woolworth Building and surrounding buildings (ca. 1913), via Wikimedia Commons

The Woolworth Building, an innovative and elegant early skyscraper completed in 1913, endures today as an iconic form on the City skyline. A historicist exterior sheaths a modern steel , embodying both the era’s modern spirit of progress and its hesitation to fully break from the past. Cass Gilbert, selected as the architect, believed the designer should “weave into the pattern of our own civilization the beauty that is our inheritance.”[1]  An ornate monument to the growing economic dominance of New York City, the building was dubbed the “Cathedral of Commerce.”

The Case For Tall Wood Buildings

Courtesy of Michael Green Architecture

Michael Green is calling for a drastic paradigm shift in the way we build. Forget steel, straw, concrete and shipping containers; use wood to erect urban skyscrapers. In a 240 page report – complete with diagrams, plans, renders and even typical wooden curtain wall details – Green outlines a new way of designing and constructing tall buildings using mass timber, all the while addressing common misconceptions of fire safety, structure, , cost and climate concerns.

SHoP Architects’ Super Tall Tower Approved, Sets Precedent for NYC

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

UPDATE: SHoP Architects’ ultra-thin, 100-unit apartment has now won approval from the City Landmarks Commission. Once complete in 2016, the 1,350-foot structure will offer luxury apartments that peer down at the Empire State Building and rise just above the One World Trade Center’s roofline.

When Vishaan Chakrabarti, principal at ShoP Architects, spoke recently of building high-density cities, he meant it.

Renderings from the architecture firm show Manhattan‘s skyline will soon welcome its newest “super tall” building, a strikingly skinny residential tower rising 411 meters (1,350 feet) on a puny 13 meter (43 feet) wide site just two blocks south of Central Park.

Invisible Skyscraper Unveiled for Seoul

Infinity / . Image Courtesy of fastcodesign.com

California-based GDS Architects‘ new proposal, dubbed Infinity Tower, is designed to disappear from its Korean skyline. How? Cameras will be mounted at six strategic points; thousands of LED screens on the facade will then broadcast the real-time photos captured and logged by the cameras. Though no estimated completion date has been announced, the developers have received construction permits to break ground. More about this incredible vanishing act and how it’s done at Fast Co-Design.

OMA Wins Skyscraper Competition in China

Essence Financial Building © OMA

OMA has won the design competition for the Essence Financial Building in Shenzhen, China. by OMA Partners David Gianotten and , the design beat out four other entries by international and Chinese practices.

The skyscraper will be OMA’s second in Shenzhen (the first being the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which will be completed in April this year). By challenging many typical office tower conventions (such as a central core plan and curtain wall systems), OMA hopes their buildings will help lead the way for a “new generation” of office towers in the city.

As David Gianotten commented in the Press Release: ”OMA is very excited about its continuous and deepening participation in Shenzhen’s development, especially as the city makes its latest evolution: from a manufacturing city into a services hub. This next generation of urbanism calls for a new generation of office towers of which the Essence Financial Building could be one.”

More on the Essence Financial Building, after the break… 

World’s Tallest Skyscraper Back On Track To Be Built in 90 Days

Courtesy of Broad Group

Despite reports that construction firm Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), a subsidiary of Broad Group, could not complete its 220-story Sky City in 90 days, the company’s senior VP Juliet Jiang has announced that the skyscraper “will go on as planned with the completion of five storeys a day.”

Thus, rather than in seven months, the world’s tallest tower (838 m; 2,750 ft) will be finished in three – topping out at the end of March 2013.

As we’ve discussed before here on ArchDaily, the tower could truly be revolutionary in China; Broad Group’s 95% prefabricated modular technology, which is responsible for the incredible rate of construction, is also radically environmentally-friendly, earthquake-safe, and cost-effective. In fact, Sky City, designed by engineers who worked on the Burj Khalifa, will cost a tenth of that famous skyscraper (only $1,500 per square meter) – and take a twentieth of the time to build.

More info on the world’s tallest tower, after the break…

UPDATE: World’s Tallest Skyscraper To Be Built…In 210 Days

Chinese construction company Broad Group has announced ambitious plans to construct the world’s tallest skyscraper in an implausibly swift 90 days (© Image: Broad Group via Gizmag)

When we brought you this story back in June, the title read “World’s Tallest Skyscraper To Be Built….in 90 Days! ” 

Well, as any architect knows, first estimates are never accurate. Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), the design firm behind Sky City, soon to be the world’s tallest skyscraper, has professed that the building will now be built at the positively glacial pace of 210 days (7 months instead of 3).

As we explained last time, Sky City will shoot up to its 838-meter (2,750-ft/220-story) height thanks to its pre-fabricated assembly (up to 95% of the materials will be assembled in modular form before on-site construction even begins). BSB also claims that it will be sustainable and earthquake proof.  

According to a fascinating Wired interview with BSB’s founder and Chairman, Zhang Yue (check it out), the foundation is scheduled to be laid in November and should be complete by March 2013. 

Read on after the break for more of Sky City’s impressive record-breaking stats and chops…

World’s Tallest Skyscraper To Be Built…In 90 Days

Chinese construction company has announced ambitious plans to construct the world’s tallest in an implausibly swift 90 days (© Image: via Gizmag)

China is well known for its mind-bogglingly fast-paced construction, but its latest claim is truly one for the record books.

Sky City, an 838-meter (2,750-ft) building to be built by Chinese construction company Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), of  Broad Group, will not just be the tallest skyscraper on the planet, won’t just be “earthquake-proof,” won’t just implement a sustainable design approach – it will go up in only 90 days.

Skeptical? BSB isn’t. They’ve used their building technique (which involves pre-fabricating and assembling up to 95% of the materials in modular form before construction even begins) to assemble a 15-story building in 6 days and a 30-story hotel in 360 hours, CNN reports. As for safety concerns, BSB has built a 30-story prototype that withstood a simulated magnitude 9 earthquake — whether the 220-story Sky City will be as secure remains to be seen, but BSB certainly seems confident.

More fast facts and images, after the break…

Story via GizmagCNN

2011 Skyscraper Trends

© TFP Farrells

Every January the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat conducts a review of construction and compiles all the data from the previous year. The trend since 2007 has seen record breaking years for buildings taller than 200 meters completed, with 88 skyscrapers completed in 2011. Even as the global economy is slowly recuperating from the 2008 financial crisis, it would appear as though this trend will remain relatively stable. China, leading the pack at 23 completed towers is predicted to remain at the forefront of market, followed by Middle Eastern countries in the next decade.  UAE, South Korea, and Panama City – an up and coming cosmopolitan city – rounded out the top four. Of the towers completed in 2011, 17 have made their way into the top 100 tallest buildings – Shenzhen’s Kingkey 100, at 442 meters crowning this year’s list. More after the break.

AD Classics: Lever House / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

© http://www.flickr.com/photos/72696783@N00/286614763/

The Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was one of the first International style office buildings in the . Located in midtown Manhattan, it was originally the American corporate headquarters of the soap company Lever Brothers. Built between 1951-1952, the Lever House extends 24 stories in height right across from Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building, and stands as its own perfect glass box.

More on the Lever House after the break.

eVolo Magazine 2010 Skyscraper Competition winners announced

First Place

eVolo Magazine is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 Competition. Established in 2006, the annual Competition recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine design through the use of new technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organization. The award seeks to discover young talents whose ideas will change the way we understand architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments.

The Jury of the 2010 edition was formed by leaders of the architecture and design fields including: Mario Cipresso, Kyu Ho Chun, Kenta Fukunishi, Elie Gamburg, Mitchell Joachim, JaeYoung Lee, Adelaïde Marchi, Nicola Marchi and Eric Vergne. The Jury selected 3 winners and 27 special mentions among 430 entries from 42 countries.

More information after the break.

eVolo 2010 Skyscraper Competition

After several years of organizing the annual Competition it has become a renowned architectural prize around the world. The best projects of each competition are widely published from architecture, design, and fashion publications to technology, business, and entertainment magazines. The winning projects are also featured in websites, television documentaries, and galleries.

We would like to invite students and professional architects, engineers, and designers to take part in the 2010 Skyscraper Competition. The main idea of this contest is to examine the relationship between the skyscraper and the natural world, the skyscraper and the community and the skyscraper and urban living.

The aim of the competition is to push our imagination to redefine the term skyscraper through the use of new materials, technology, aesthetics, programs, and spatial organizations. Globalization, environmental warming, flexibility, adaptability, and the digital revolution are just some of the multi-layered elements that should be taken in consideration.

There are no restrictions in regards to site, program or size. The objective is to provide maximum freedom to propose the most innovative projects for this fascinating architectural genre. Ultimately, the designs should help the environment, restructure our cities and improve our way of life.

Participants must register by January 12, 2010 at www.evolo-arch.com. You can find more details about fees and schedule at the official site.

The crisis paralyzed the construction of the Calatrava skyscraper in Chicago

The “Spire”, the skyscraper designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was going to be the tallest building in the . That title will have to wait, at least until the economic crisis affecting construction all over the world starts having better days.

“We’re exploring all of the financial options with the economy as challenging as it is, but clearly this is long-term,” project spokeswoman Kim Metcalfe said. “We’re working toward the success of the building. We continue to actively market the building. Clearly, the construction of the building is on pause, but nothing else about the building has stopped.”

The break in construction has left a hole 110 feet wide and 76 feet deep at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, making the Spire a worldwide symbol of the recession and shut-down credit markets.

For more information, read this article on the Chicago Tribune.