Wood, an age-old building material, has left its mark on the history of architecture. Structures like townhouses and ancient cathedrals have seen usage and innovation with wood as a primary material. As technology evolves and urban landscapes grow skyward, wood has emerged as a strong contender to steel and concrete in the area of skyscraper design. Recent advances in engineering, materials science, and construction techniques have welcomed a new era of experimentation, enabling the construction of timber skyscrapers across the world. Timber skyscrapers signify a departure from traditional construction methods, seamlessly blending aesthetics, functionality, and ecological consciousness. Wood as a material, with its inherent strength and impressive fire resistance, presents hope to an industry in pursuit of a more sustainable future.
Skyscrapers: The Latest Architecture and News
Skyscrapers are iconic symbols of modern urbanization and technological advancements all over North America. In fact, these structures are a sign of economic prosperity, urban density, and the capabilities of humanity’s ambition. In major cities across the continent, they shape the skyline and give identity to these metropolises. Cities like New York City, Toronto, and Florida utilize these cutting-edge designs to showcase power beyond their physical stature.
In general, skyscrapers are characterized by their remarkable height and pioneering engineering capabilities. They use advanced materials such as steel, glass, and concrete and serve as multifunctional spaces, ranging from housing to hotels and offices. Architects all around the world continually push the boundaries of architectural creativity, design, sustainability, and functionality while crafting these buildings. The structures allow architects to maximize land use in new ways, tackling densely populated urban areas.
David Chipperfield Architects Collaborate with Ester Buzkus Architeken to Design NOBU Hotel and Restaurant in Hamburg
David Chipperfield Architects Berlin, in collaboration with Ester Buzkus Architeken, has won the international competition to design the newest NOBU Hotel and Restaurant in Hamburg. In fact, David Chipperfield is also the architect for the entire Elbtower building, currently under construction, where the Nobu Hotel will occupy two of the three wings in the seven-story base of the tower. When completed, it should be the tallest building in Hamburg, at 230 meters.
Rising over global cities, the modern skyscraper has long been a symbol of economic growth and environmental decline. For years, they have been reviled by environmentalists for being uncontrolled energy consumers. Malaysian architect Kenneth Yeang acknowledged the skyscraper as a necessity in modern cities and adopted a pragmatic approach to greening the otherwise unsustainable building typology. Yeang’s bioclimatic skyscrapers blend the economics of space with sustainability and improved living standards.
Munich – Bavaria’s capital since 1506 – is a city with layers and layers of history. Its many years as a rising architectural epicenter have left an interesting and unique mix of buildings. From Middle Age churches and cathedrals to contemporary synagogues. From skyscrapers to small pavilions. Brutalism to Art Nouveau. Munich’s architecture is truly extensive and marvelous.
Though not acknowledging Munich’s beer wonders would be wrong, the only mention of this substance would be in the stunning buildings (like the new Paulaner HQ by Hierl Architekten) that contain them. Yes, other aspects of the city are grandiose, but let’s focus on Munich’s top attraction: its architecture.
The Danish architectural practice 3XN won the 10th International High-Rise Award for the office tower Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney, Australia, the world's most innovative high-rise in 2022/23. From over 1000 high-rises completed in the last two years, the Quay Quarter Tower was selected because it implemented innovative solutions in a time of increased ecological challenges by integrating a large proportion of the existing 1970s high-rise structure into the new building.
The architects Kim Herforth Nielsen (Founder and Creative Director of 3XN) and Fred Holt (3XN Partner and Australian Studio Director) will receive the prize at the IHA 10th edition ceremony in Frankfurt's Paulskirche, joining the laureates' list that includes the Norra Tornen by OMA (2020), Torre Reforma by LBR&A Arquitectos (2018), 57 West by BIG (2016), and Torre Agbar by Ateliers Jean Nouvel (2006).
Cities have been, and will always be multi-faceted, elastic sites. They are settlements in continuous evolution, molded by proximity to natural resources, by migrating populations, and by capital. Despite the diversity in the urban character of disparate cities, it has been said that cities look alike now more than ever before, a uniformity that means a glass-and-steel tower in Singapore would not look out of place in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex.
Handel Architects designed the third tallest in Los Angeles, a 63-story high-rise 265 meters high in the Historical Downtown L.A. Featuring a 150 meters second tower, affordable residential housing, and community spaces, the "Angels Landing" will be the largest and tallest development to be built by Black developers in the United States, marking a milestone in the real estate industry, as in L.A.'s skyline. In partnership with The Peebles Corporation and MacFarlane Partners, the complex is scheduled to open in 2027 and will create more than 8,300 new jobs during construction.
The world is facing an Urban Century. The world’s population is collapsing into city centers as manufacturing and agriculture need fewer humans because technology replaces the human hand with machines. The world's urban population has grown from 751 million in 1950 to 4.46 billion in 2021 and will grow to 6.68 billion by 2050.
While architects and designers want to define and control the future of our cities, the immediate reality of New York City, now, is a lesson in what may be our future. It’s response can be seen by the advent of The Tower the fabric of Manhattan.
Haptic and Ramboll conceptualize a novel structure that hopes to eradicate the need for demolition. The timber high-rise construction is built for maximum flexibility and longevity, being able to change its configuration and, consequently, its functions to adapt to the city’s changing needs. The design concept is based on the idea of maximizing the potential of sites in inner-city neighborhoods. To exemplify the regenerative potential of this model, the architects have applied the concept to a tight urban area in the center of Oslo, Norway.
Büro Ole Scheeren has won an international design competition to build the 350-meter Nanjing Jiangbei New Financial Center Tower in China. The octagonal-silhouette skyscraper merges local tradition and culture within a mixed-use structure, aiming to become an iconic symbol of Nanjing’s new urban identity.
Foster + Partners revealed the design of a new skyscraper at 270 Park Avenue that will host JPMorgan Chase’s New York headquarters. The 60-story tower is set to be the city’s largest all-electric tower with net-zero operational emissions powered by renewable energy sourced from a New York State hydroelectric plant and is designed around high standards regarding wellness and hospitality. The project’s morphology creates extensive ground-level outdoor space with green areas and a public plaza, accompanied by various amenities geared towards the neighbourhood’s residents. Under construction since 2021, the project replaces SOM's Union Carbide Building, which became the tallest voluntarily demolished building in the world.
CHYBIK + KRISTOF revealed the design of a skyscraper in the Czech Republic city of Ostrava. The project reframes the typology of the skyscraper as a dynamic social hub and activates public space in support of the post-industrial city’s reactivation and socio-economical transformation. Upon completion, the 235-metre Ostrava Tower will be the tallest building in the country.
Cities are growing, and they are growing upwards. This is far from just being a contemporary phenomenon of course – for more than a century, high-rises have been an integral part of urban settlements worldwide. This growing of cities encompasses a complex web of processes – advancements in transport links, urbanisation, and migration to mention a few. This growth of cities, however, is all too often linked with governmental failure to adequately support all facets of the urban population. Informal settlements are then born – people carving out spaces for themselves to live amidst a lack of state support.
After more than a decade of financing snags, legal scuffles, and more than a soupçon of backlash, initial work on the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Tour Triangle (Triangle Tower) is set to commence by the end of this year at a site near Parc des Expositions de Porte de Versailles in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. However, last-ditch efforts to block the project are underway.
China’s Construction Landscape Sees World Leading Investments in Cultural Infrastructure and New Limits on Skyscrapers’ Height
The latest news and reports on China’s construction sector redefine the country’s future architectural landscape. A Cultural Infrastructure Index reflecting the data from 2020 places China and, more specifically, Shenzen as the world leader in investments regarding cultural facilities. Last year saw the announcement of 10 new cultural projects, all designed by world-renowned architects. At the same time, the Chinese authorities announced last month that buildings taller than 500 metres would no longer be approved, marking the end of an era that made the country home to 10 of the tallest 20 buildings in the world.