Tall Buildings – Skyscraper Research

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Tall Buildings

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13 Apr 2011

Tall Buildings Global Analysis

Tall buildings, once almost exclusively a product of North America, are spreading across the globe at an ever-increasing rate. The global number of buildings 200 meters or more in height has risen from 286 to 602 in the last decade alone. Currently, these buildings exist in 32 countries across the world. This study demonstrates the relationship between population and tall buildings across those countries and presents information on the average height and age of each country’s tallest buildings.

CasaArt Casablanca
Tall Buildings image from CTBUH

The recent dramatic increase in tall buildings has been fueled by a large variety of local and global motivations, and therefore cannot be directly related to any single factor (such as an area’s population, density, government, etc). The historical and statistical contexts of the “tall typology” thus vary dramatically across the globe. At one end of the spectrum is the UAE, which can now boast 44 buildings over 200 meters in height. For a country of 4.7 million people, this means that there are only 100,000 citizens for every 200 m+ building. In contrast, China, with 200 buildings at the 200 m+ level, has nearly seven million citizens for every 200 m+ building. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the research demonstrates that the lowest population-to-building ratios can be found in Middle Eastern counties like the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar. The highest population-to-building ratios, meanwhile, are less geographically predictable, with India, Vietnam, Turkey, France, and Mexico topping the list.

Vietcombank Ho Chi Minh City headquarters
picture : Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Tall Buildings : CTBUH Report

Tall Buildings Research image / information from CTBUH

Tall Buildings UK Analysis

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UK Tower ProposalsTall Buildings

[Michael Short]

‘Regulating the impact of proposals for new tall buildings on the built heritage’
(Michael Short, University of Manchester, UK)

In the past few years there has been increasing concern amongst built environment professionals in England about development proposals for tall buildings, fuelled by talk of an ‘urban renaissance’. Responses to the impact of tall buildings include height control, architecture panels, digital modelling, transferable development rights and characterisation studies. In many instances the regulation and assessment of the merits of such development is highly politicised and contentious. This paper sets out some of the issues and problems in seeking to reconcile the development of a new wave of tall buildings in our cities whilst also attempting to protect the built heritage of our cities.

In recent years there has been increasing concern amongst built environment professionals in England about development proposals for tall buildings and their impact upon the city in general, and upon the built heritage in particular. Talk of an urban renaissance (ODPM, 2001) and attempts at re-imaging cities (McNeill, 2002) have also fuelled this concern. Whilst many of these development proposals have been submitted in London, there are high profile examples in the larger regional cities of Birmingham, Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester. Internationally, the regulation of the impact of high-rise development is critical for the conservation of the built heritage of cities such as Kyoto, Jerusalem and Paris. Many other cities suffer from a lack of a strategic approach to managing tall buildings. Buenos Aires, Tel-Aviv, Sao Paolo and Mexico City are losing the local distinctiveness of urban form through the ad-hoc building of such tall structures (Cohen, 1999). Responses to the impact of tall buildings include height control, architecture panels, digital modelling, transferable development rights and characterisation studies. In many instances the regulation and assessment of the merits of such development is highly politicised and contentious.

This paper is based upon a preliminary literature review for an English Heritage sponsored PhD at the University of Manchester. Firstly, a definition of what is meant by ‘tall buildings’ is discussed thus providing an understanding of why the topic is of relevance in contemporary urban studies. Secondly, an analysis of the context for the regulation of tall buildings will be attempted looking at why building height is regulated and by whom. Thirdly, an analysis of how tall building regulation operates within England will be attempted, followed by the use of two proposals for tall buildings in London as case studies to illustrate conflict inherent in regulating building. Finally, in the conclusions, it will summarise the main issues in tall building regulation, thus setting a context for the primary PhD research.

Tall Buildings

Tall Building Designs

Short, M. (2004) Regulating the impact of proposals for new tall buildings on the built heritage. Planning History 26: 3 pp. 3-10.

Tall Buildings References

World Skyscrapers

Tower Designs

Tall Buildings around the World

World’s Tallest Building
Tower Images
New York Skyscrapers
Hong Kong Buildings
New York Buildings

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