The hyperreal renderings predicting New York City’s skyline in 2018 are coming to life as the city’s wealth physically manifests into the next generation of skyscrapers. Just like millennials and their ability to kill whole industries singlehandedly, we are still fixated on the supertalls: how tall, how expensive, how record-breaking? Obsession with this typology centers around their excessive, bourgeois nature, but – at least among architects – rarely has much regard for the processes which enable the phenomenon.
Supertall: The Latest Architecture and News
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture have won the competition to design the Shimao Longgang Master Plan that includes a 700-meter tall skyscraper called the Shenzhen-Hong Kong International Center. Set to become the tallest skyscraper in China, the project will be set between the foothills of Longcheng Park and Dayun National Park. The supertall is designed to be a new sculptural icon for the Shenzhen skyline.
EID Architecture was selected earlier this year as one of the two finalists in an international competition to design a 518 meter-tall tower in Fuzhou, China. Located on a prominent riverfront site in Fuzhou, Shimao North Riverfront Tower was made to be the centerpiece of a new business district within the city. The tower's design explores what supertall building means today. In contrast to many form-driven towers, Shimao Fuzhou aims to integrate architecture and structure to create an iconic and futuristic landmark with remarkable efficiency.
Turkish practice Melike Altinisik Architects have released new photos of Istanbul's futuristic 369 meter-tall Çamlıca TV and Radio Tower. The new telecommunications tower will replace several outdated structures currently in use and support an estimated 125 broadcasting transmitters. Designed for the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, the project is currently under construction, and the new photos showcase the tower's ongoing progress. The project is set to become the tallest tower in Istanbul.
Two years ago over 100 supertall buildings had been constructed worldwide. Last year, 15 more supertall skyscrapers were built, each towering over 300 meters tall. These narrow towers are prevalent in high-density areas with limited land availability and demand for luxury residences. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is the authority on official heights of tall buildings and determines which building receives the title of the Tallest Building in the World. To celebrate International Skyscraper Day, we're exploring a round up of skyscrapers that aim to redefine supertall construction.
UNStudio, working in collaboration with Werner Sobek, have unveiled their designs for the Wasl Tower, a 300-meter tall skyscraper in Dubai. Centrally located along the main thoroughfare that connects the Emirates north to south, the Wasl Tower sits directly opposite the Burj Khalifa and, once completed, will feature one of the world’s tallest ceramic facades. Inspired by the movement of the city, the 300-meter supertall building takes on a "contrapposto" form, responding to the Sheikh Zayed Road along which it is sited.
The SHoP-designed 111 West 57th Street, “the world’s skinniest skyscraper,” is at risk of never being completed due to soaring construction costs, the New York Post has reported. With fewer than 20 of the supertall skyscraper’s 82 stories currently constructed, a lawsuit filed by investment group AmBase is claiming the project is already $50 million over budget due in part to “egregious oversights” including neglecting to factor in the cost of construction cranes.
A 1,400-foot-tall mixed-use skyscraper by Zaha Hadid Architects may be the next supertall structure to hit midtown Manhattan. Located at 666 Fifth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Street, the project is the brainchild of Kushner Properties, who currently co-own the existing 483-foot-tall building with Vornado Realty Trust.
Estimated to cost up to $12 billion, the company is currently negotiating a multi-billion dollar deal with Chinese holding company Anbang Insurance Group to finance the project. If plans to buy out the building go through, Kushner would be in the clear to begin construction on the ZHA-designed tower, which would rebrand the property as 660 Fifth Avenue and offer 464,000-square-feet of residential space, an 11-story hotel, and a 9-story retail podium.
SHoP has won Landmarks Preservation Commission approval to build Brooklyn’s tallest tower at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension, reports New York Yimby. Located on the same block of the former Dime Savings Bank, an individual and interior landmark, SHoP’s proposal calls for a 73-story, 1,066 foot-tall mixed-use tower. The proposal required LPC-approval because the architects want to merge the tower’s lobby with the bank and convert the atrium into a new retail component. The site’s relationship to the bank building encouraged the architects to develop a design and material choices that are heavily influenced by the proposed tower’s smaller, but no less grand, neighbor.
Uncovered by New York YIMBY, five new images have been revealed showing SHoP Architects' supertall and super-slender tower at 111 West 57th Street in Manhattan, just south of Central Park on what has become known as "Billionaire's Row" (on account of the slew of new residential skyscrapers with some unit prices approaching $100 million).
Ever expanding population growth coupled with the continuous development of urban centres mean that buildings, in general, will continue to get taller. With the topping out of One World Trade Centre in May this year the worldwide competition to construct towers with soaring altitudes doesn’t seem to be slowing, especially in China and the UAE. The question on many people’s lips, however, is how much of these colossal buildings is actual usable space?
Elevators have been around for quite a long time; maybe not those that soar to hundreds of feet in a matter of seconds, but the primitive ancestors of this technology, often man-powered, were developed as early as the 3rd century BC. These early wheel and belt operated platforms provided the lift that would eventually evolve into the “ascending rooms” that allow supertall skyscrapers (above 300 meters) to dominate skylines in cities across the world. Elevators can be given credit for a lot of progress in architecture and urban planning. Their invention and development allowed for the building and inhabiting of the structures we see today.
Supertall skyscrapers are becoming more common as cities and architects race to the top of the skyline, inching their way further up into the atmosphere. These buildings are structural challenges as engineers must develop building technologies that can withstand the forces of high altitudes and tall structures. But what of the practical matter of moving through these buildings? What does it mean for vertical conveyance? How must elevators evolve to accommodate the practical use of these supertall structures?
Construction of the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea designed by high-rise architectural firm KPF is well underway. Won via an international design competition, this new tower will rise up to a pinnacle height of 555 meters. Organized around a mixed-use program including retail, office, hotel and an observation deck at the peak, the tower pulls inspiration from historical Korean arts of ceramics, porcelain, and calligraphy. More details after the break.
Every January the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat conducts a review of skyscraper 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 skyscraper 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.