Construction has commenced on Pei Cobb Freed & Partners’ 61-story condominium tower in Boston’s historic Back Bay. The $700 million development will be the tallest residential building in the city, and the tallest tower to rise since the 1976 John Hancock Tower, also designed by Pei Cobb Freed.
“The project allows us to consider once again how a tall building, together with the open space it frames, can respond creatively to the need for growth while showing appropriate respect for its historic urban setting,” says Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.
Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung has temporarily “pulled the plug” on Sou Fujimoto’s ambitious Taiwan Tower, saying he would rather pay a penalty for breaking the contract than spend an estimated NT$15 billion to realize the “problematic” project.
The Banyan tree-inspired tower was hoped to become the “Taiwanese version of the Eiffel Tower,” as well as a model for sustainable architecture by achieving LEED Gold with its energy producing features. Its steel superstructure, which proposed to hoist a triangular section of the Taichung Gateway Park’s greenbelt 300-meters into the air, intentionally had “no obvious form” and was to be perceived as a natural phenomenon.
London practice Avery Associates Architects has unveiled their designs for No.1 Undershaft, a 270-metre tall office tower directly adjacent to Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners‘ Cheesegrater in the City of London’s central skyscraper cluster. The building is currently planned to be the tallest in this cluster and the second-tallest in London (after the Shard) – notwithstanding an as-yet-unrevealed plan for the site of the scrapped Pinnacle project which could potentially supersede it.
In celebration of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ relocation to their newly constructed Leadenhall Building, the London-based practiced has released a short film that captures the “making of” the 52-story, 225-meter skyscraper. RSHP, now occupying the building’s 14th floor, is said to be proud to be Leadenhall’s latest tenants:
“After 30 years at Thames Wharf Studios, it is important for us to be moving into a building that reflects the ethos and evolution of our design practice, clearly stated in its urban relationship with the Lloyd’s building opposite,” says the partners of RSHP. “We will begin this new phase of our history in a building that already feels like home but allows us the advantages of a contemporary, flexible office space in a prime location in the increasingly vibrant and exciting City of London.”
This past year was a record-breaking season for skyscraper construction. According to a new survey by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), 2014 saw the completion of 97 buildings that were at least 200 meters tall. Of those, 11 were 300 meters or taller, earning them the classification of “supertall.” These are the highest figures on record, with 2011, for example, seeing only 87 200-meters-plus buildings completed.
In addition, in 2014 the total height of completed buildings (23,333 meters) broke the 2011 record of 19,852 meters. With major countries like China becoming increasingly urbanized, and the world economy recovering from recession, the CTBUH expects that these numbers will only increase. See the details of CTBUH’s report, and learn what the numbers may predict about the future of skyscraper construction, after the break.
In a review of Rafael Viñoly Architects’ 20 Fenchurch Street, which is also known as the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ or ‘Walkie Scorchie’ after it emerged that its façade created a heat-focusing ray strong enough to melt cars, Rowan Moore questions London’s preoccupation with iconic buildings and its money-driven planning schemes. Using 20 Fenchurch Street as a key example, Moore argues that not only does the building seem “to bear no meaningful relationship to its surroundings,” but its Sky Garden - a terrace at the top of the building which claims to be “the UK’s tallest public park” – is a symbol of a bewilderingly unbalanced economy.
The idea of mixed-use residential buildings is rapidly gaining popularity in urban America. The concept of being able to work within walking distance of where you live is both convenient and economical. Matthew Rosenberg, design director of M-Rad Studio, recognizes this, and has proposed a dramatic live/work design for the Downtown Project of Las Vegas, Nevada. Titled Inter-Act Residence, the building (or, potentially, series of buildings) would incorporate modular offices and apartments, strategically arranged for interaction between residents.
The City of Chicago has officially linked Studio Gang Architects to the massive mixed-use “Wanda Vista” development planned to rise alongside the Chicago River. A trio of interlocking supertall towers, the $900 million riverfront project is expected to become the city’s third tallest building.
According to the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin, the tallest part of the skyscraper will reach 1,148 feet and 88 stories, one story less than rumors originally indicated, stirring speculation that the final count has something to due with its Chinese developer and “eight” being considering a lucky number in China.
Valode & Pistre is set to break ground on Africa’s tallest tower next June. More than doubling the height of Johannesburg’s 223-meter Carlton Center, which has been the continent’s tallest building since 1973, the Al Noor Tower (Tower of Light) will most likely rise 540-meters on a 25-hectare site in the Moroccan city of Casablanca.
It’s program will center around business, providing accommodations with a 200-suite luxury hotel, a trading platform, conference hall and large art gallery, as well as an astonishing 100-meter-tall atrium that hollows the tower’s base.
SHoP Architects have revealed a mixed use proposal to pedestrianize New York City’s historic Seaport District. Extending the Manhattan grid out into the waterfront, the scheme seeks to harmonize pedestrian infrastructure and increase access to the shoreline, while proposing a 500-foot luxury residential tower by developer Howard Hughes Corporation that would jut out into the harbor. More about the proposal, after the break.
In recent years, it’s been difficult to miss the spate of supertall, super-thin towers on the rise in Manhattan. Everyone knows the individual projects: 432 Park Avenue, One57, the Nordstrom Tower, the MoMA Tower. But, when a real estate company released renders of the New York skyline in 2018, it forced New Yorkers to consider for the first time the combined effect of all this new real estate. In this opinion article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “On New York’s Skyscraper Boom and the Failure of Trickle-Down Urbanism,” Joshua K Leon argues that the case for a city of the one percent doesn’t stand up under scrutiny.
What would a city owned by the one-percent look like?
New renderings for CityRealty get us part way there, illustrating how Manhattan may appear in 2018. The defining feature will be a bumper crop of especially tall, slender skyscrapers piercing the skyline like postmodern boxes, odd stalagmites, and upside-down syringes. What they share in common is sheer unadulterated scale and a core clientele of uncompromising plutocrats.
It may or may not be the tallest building in North America, but one thing’s for sure: when it comes to costs, no other skyscraper comes close to New York‘s One World Trade Center. This is the conclusion of Emporis, whose list of the world’s top ten most expensive buildings puts 1WTC way out in front at $3.9 billion. Originally estimated at just half that cost, this sets a trend in the top ten list, with many of the featured buildings suffering staggering overruns. The second-place Shard, for example, overshot it’s original £350 million ($550 million) budget nearly four times over (although this is to be expected in London).
Elevator manufacturer ThyssenKrupp has unveiled its latest technological advance, a cable free, multi-car, multi-directional elevator that has the potential to revolutionize the size and shape of future skyscrapers. Run using magnetic technology similar to that used by Maglev trains, with each cabin running its own individual motor, the “MULTI” elevator system opens up the potential for elevator cabins to move horizontally as well as vertically. This in turn offers the potential for multiple cabins to operate in a single system, with cabins going up one shaft and down an adjacent shaft.
Nearly a month since the official (and somewhat mundane) opening of New York’s One World Trade Center, New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has published a scathing review of the SOM-designed tower, claiming it to be a “flawed” emblem of the city’s “upside-down priorities.”
“Replacing the twin towers with another giant office building was somehow supposed to show New York’s indomitable spirit: the defiant city transfigured from the ashes. To the contrary, 1 World Trade implies (wrongly) a metropolis bereft of fresh ideas. It looks as if it could be anywhere, which New York isn’t.” You can read Kimmelman’s complete review, here.
In this interview, conducted by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Ole Scheeren discusses the ideal height for sustainable buildings. Drawing reference from two of his projects, MahaNakhon and The Interlace, he speaks to the difference between height and density, and how those two interplay when creating livable spaces in urban areas. He goes on to talk about how large buildings such as skyscrapers can be made more open to the surrounding city, both visually through programming. Watch the full clip above!
Widening the debate on whether or not Paris should preserve its 19-century skyline or “embrace innovation,” Parisian city council members have rejected the controversial, 180-meter “Triangle Tower” designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Despite the 83-78 vote, the fight carries on; Mayor Anne Hidalgo has declared the veto to be invalid and hopes a new round of balloting will rule in favor of the tower. Though, in a city that fears of loosing its “existing urban fabric to skyscrapers,” it seems unlikely that the tower will be built.
Adam Nathaniel Furman, architect and winner of this year’s Blueprint Award for Design Innovation, is currently undertaking his tenure as the recipient of the 2014/15 Rome Prize for Architecture at the British School at Rome. His ongoing project, entitled The Roman Singularity, seeks to explore and celebrate Rome as “the contemporary city par-excellence” – “an urban version of the internet, a place where the analogical-whole history of society, architecture, politics, literature and art coalesce into a space so intense and delimited that they collapse under the enormity of their own mass into a singularity of human endeavour.”
In this short essay inspired by the work of Dietrich C Neumann, an architectural historian at Brown University (Providence, RI USA), Furman examines what would have been “the tallest building in the world [...] housing Italy’s new Parliament, lecture halls, meeting rooms, a hotel, library, enormous sports facilities, lighthouse, clock, astronomical observatory, telegraph and telephone stations, [reflecting] sunlight off its acres and acres of white Carrara marble.” In the shadow of Italian Fascism, Mario Palanti saw an opportunity to transform the skyline of the Italian capital by pandering to the egotistical ambitions of a dictator. Ultimately the extent of his vision was matched only by his failure.