In the modern era of design where advancements in technology and construction have enabled architects to build better, faster, and taller, the sky’s the limit. Every few months, another headline boasts the tallest residential tower or the newly constructed office building that breaks yet another record for its impressive height. But as time goes on and new projects are completed, trends show that the United States is falling out of the spotlight in terms of being able to claim the title of world’s tallest building, and the drawing boards show that no American city will be reclaiming this title any time soon.
Skyscapers: The Latest Architecture and News
Did you know that World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated in the second week of May?
Every year around this date, festivals, educational events, exhibitions, and excursions are organized to celebrate and raise awareness about the conservation of migratory birds. These species have seen their habitats transformed during the last few decades in part because of human action: designers and real estate agents have built and nurtured an urban imaginary dominated by glass structures as a symbol of power and progress. Before proceeding with the conquest of the sky, it is worth considering some materials that are more friendly to the species with which we cohabitate.
Last April, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the construction of new all-glass buildings. Part of a larger effort to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent, other initiatives included using clean energy to power city operations, mandatory organics recycling, and reducing single-use plastic and processed meat purchases. The announcement came on the heels of the city council passing the Climate Mobilization Act, a sweeping response to the Paris Climate Agreement that included required green roofs on new constructions and emissions reductions on existing buildings.
The ‘Super Tall and Skinny’ NYC Tower 111 W 57 by SHoP Architects is forging ahead as seen in this photographic construction update by Paul Clemence from Archi-Photo. In the photos, the glass and terracotta facade seems largely complete, casting beams of light into New York's notoriously valley-like streets. SHoP's ultra-thin residential tower, which is set for completion this year, will rise above the Empire State Building and even One World Trade Center, taking a bird's eye view over the entirety of the city skyline.
Professor Alan Short of the University of Cambridge has published a book advocating for the revival of 19th-century architectural ideas to address the crippling energy use of modern skyscrapers. The Recovery of Natural Environments in Architecture proposes an end to the architectural fetish for glass, steel, and air conditioning, instead drawing inspiration from forgotten techniques in naturally ventilated buildings of the 1800s. The book is a culmination of 30 years’ research and design by Prof. Short and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has released a new research study called New York: The Ultimate Skyscraper Laboratory, which utilizes data to “develop graphic features showing the progression of tall building development in New York City.”
The Timeline of Skyscrapers in New York City Region 1906-2018 graphic illustrates “how skyscraper construction aligned with social or political events in history” in the context of key events, for example, building inactivity around the period of World War II.