As part of a masterplan along the Chicago River, the River Beech Tower is a residential high-rise which, if built, would be taller than any existing timber building. The collaborative team behind River Beech consists of architects Perkins+Will, engineers Thornton Tomasetti and the University of Cambridge. Currently a conceptual academic and professional undertaking, the team state that it could potentially be realized by the time of the masterplan’s final phases.
Five notable projects have been selected as finalists for the 2016 International Highrise Award (IHA). One of the world’s most important architectural prizes for highrises, the award is given to projects that exemplify the criteria of future-oriented design, functionality, innovative building technology, integration into urban development schemes, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness.
Led by 2014 IHA winner Stefano Boeri, the competition’s world-class jury noted the significant trend in high-rise development away from office buildings and towards residential towers, as well as the geographic dichotomy of the finalists.
“Asia versus America is an interesting conclusion at this point – they are the defining forces on the map,” commented jury member Ole Scheeren. “In Asia you can see the impact of the tropical, climatic and environmental consequences are very well translated into new types of residential high-rises. In New York the finalists all show some way of power-statement.”
See the 5 finalists with comments from the jury, after the break.
The skyscraper: representative of spatial economy and a symbol of power. This building typology has a storied, turbulent and even contested past. Here, we bring you a selection some of the skyscrapers and high-rise buildings featured in our AD Classics section.
Thailand’s new tallest building, MahaNakhon, has opened to the public with a spectacular light show highlighting the pixelated-design of the 314 meter tall building. Designed by Büro Ole Scheeren, the 77-story mixed-use skyscraper contains space for a hotel, retail, bars, restaurants and an observation deck, as well as 200 condominium units managed by Ritz-Carlton Residences with unparalleled views out onto the Bangkok skyline and beyond. The building’s distinct appearance is created through carving a pixelated spiral up the building, creating “an architecture that encloses and protects its inhabitants while revealing the inner life of their city.”
Continue for more images of the completed building.
Zaha Hadid Architects has released new images and an animation of the firm’s “Stacked Vase” tower in Melbourne’s Central Business District to coincide with the building receiving approval from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, the City of Melbourne and the Office of Victorian Government Architect. The 54-story (178m) mixed-use skyscraper will be Zaha Hadid’s only tower in Melbourne, and upon completion will become an new emblem of “the most livable city in the world.”
Found in places as diverse as the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, Willis Tower, and Tokyo Skytree, glass bottom observation decks have become the favorite engineering marvel of thrill seekers looking for a new perspective on the world. Now, the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles has upped the ante for adrenaline-spiking structures – affixing a glass side to the building’s facade. Spanning from a window on the 70th story to a terrace on the 69th, the 45-foot-long chute opened to the public on Saturday, providing those brave enough to ride it with unprecedented views of the city.
A new video by JDS Development Group, Building Knowhow: Skybridge, begins with an anecdote of a day when the firemen showed up at the site. “We got a call – the buildings are falling down!” the chief fireman told Michael Jones, director of JDS. Jones responded with a chuckle, "they're supposed to be like that!"
Located on the East Side of Manhattan, the American Copper Buildings, designed by New York-based SHoP Architects, test the boundaries of engineering. In an informative video, JDS Development Group documents the building of a skybridge between the towers, outlining their detail-oriented, step-by-step approach. Located 300 feet in the air, it is New York's first major skybridge in 80 years.
Are tree covered buildings really in tune with ecological and sustainable principles, or are they just a form of greenwashing? This is the question posed by Kurt Kohlstedt in his essay, Renderings vs. Reality: The Improbable Rise of Tree-Covered Skyscrapers, for 99% Invisible. The author notes that vegetated designs come about for myriad reasons – the appearance of sustainability, better air and views, investment intrigue – but that most of these concepts will never leave the realm of paper or virtual architecture. For as many reasons that these buildings have become popular, there are detractors for why they simply cannot be built, including daunting construction hurdles (extra concrete and steel), vast irrigation systems, added wind load complexities, and the trees themselves having difficulty adapting to their vertiginous conditions.
Many technological advancements have changed the way we design in the past 150 years, but perhaps none has had a greater impact than the invention of the passenger elevator. Prior to Elisha Otis’ design for the elevator safety brake in 1853, buildings rarely reached 7 stories. Since then, buildings have only been growing taller and taller. In 2009, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, maxed out at 163 floors (serviced by Otis elevators). Though a century and half separates those milestones, in that time elevator technology has actually changed relatively little - until recently.
Fourteen years from now, New York's skyline will be one vastly different than the recognizable profile visible today. With dozens of new projects set to make their mark on the city, the creative design company Visualhouse - specializing in 3D visualizations - has released a rendering of New York in 2030. “This image shows the who’s who of modern architecture - with buildings designed by Jean Nouvel, Rafael Vinoly, Bjarke Ingels Group, SOM, Foster + Partners, and Kohn Pedersen Fox, just to name a few," said Visualhouse CEO and Founder, Rob Herrick. "How these modern day masterpieces all fit together in the sky space, that will be the legacy for New Yorkers in 2030 and beyond."
SHoP has unveiled the design for a new 900 foot tall skyscraper in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The 77 story, 500,000 square foot, mixed-income tower will have 600 units, 150 of which will be permanently affordable and distributed evenly throughout the building. The project has been developed as a collaboration between SHoP and JDS who are co-owners of the development, with the partnership of two not-for-profit groups: Two Bridges Neighborhood Council (TBNC) and Settlement Housing Fund (SHF).
Kengo Kuma and Associates has revealed plans for the office’s first North American skyscraper, a mixed-use luxury tower on a site adjacent to Stanley Park in Vancouver. Known as ‘Alberni by Kuma,’ the 43-story tower combines 181 residences with retail space and a restaurant in a rectilinear volume accented by "scoops" on two sides. These curvatures are the building’s most important formal attribute, while a moss garden at the tower's base is its most important spatial feature. The project is being organized by Westbank and Peterson, and is part of a group of architecturally significant projects being developed by the pair in the west coast city.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is pleased to announce its 5th International Student Tall Building Design Competition. The goal of the competition is to shed new light on the meaning and value of tall buildings in modern society.
As worldwide populations continue to urbanize and grow, creating megacities, the role of the tall building in the twenty-first century has moved beyond simply addressing spatial and economic efficiencies. The permanence of these structures necessitates careful forethought into how they will interface with the surrounding urban context, the natural environment, their inhabitants, and the world as a whole. Although they are statically embedded in our cities, skyscrapers must employ a dynamic spatial and functional dialogue, allowing them to remain active and relevant for not just decades, but centuries.
While certain cities in the world have instantly recognizable skylines, other burgeoning cities like Miami are still finding their architectural identity. A new online, 3D-map by the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) outlines the over 100 new towers being erected in the city by architects including Renzo Piano and OMA, set against Miami’s existing cityscape. The projects are color-coded according to their status as either proposed, under construction or built. You can access the interactive map here.
A competition now in its 11th year, eVolo Magazine has announced the winners of its 2016 Skyscraper Competition: a group of three top prizes and 21 honorable mentions culled from 489 entries. The award annually recognizes the vanguard of high-rise construction "through [the] novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations." Among this year's winners are a project that proposes digging down and creating a megastructure along the perimeter of Central Park, a skyscraper that acts as a hub for drones in future commercial applications, and a tower that takes advantage of the climate of Iceland as an ideal location for data servers.
UNStudio has won a competition to transform the former Deutsche Bank site in Frankfurt's financial district into a lively mixed-use site comprised of offices, apartments, hotels, retail, gastro and open public spaces. With four high-rise towers reaching up to 228-meters-tall, the proposal plans to feature the city's highest residential and office buildings.
“Bringing a mixed-use project into this financial district will not only enliven the area during daytime, but it will also introduce evening programs and create an essential form of social sustainability to this part of the city," says Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. "The introduction of the residential and the leisure components are key to this strategy. This sculptural family of towers will also create the suggestion of a cohesive neighborhood within the skyline and emphasize the importance of this part of the city within the whole."
Russian designer Vasily Klyukin has envisioned the "Asian Cobra Tower." Just as its name suggests, the gold-plated tower takes the shape of a snake, offering offices and apartments in its body and a restaurant, night club and terrace in its jaws.
"In Japan telling someone that he is a snake means a compliment. In China snakes and dragons often mean the same," says Klyukin. "The symbol of wisdom and eternal life, this tower would embellish any Eastern city."
The West Coast's tallest building, Los Angeles' US Bank Tower is going to be outfitted with a terrifying glass slide designed by engineering firm M.Ludvik & Co. Set to hang 1000-feet above the street, the project will be part of the building's Gensler-designed OUE Skyspace LA attraction - soon to be California's tallest open-air observation deck.