Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Sky's the Limit

Lewis Mumford argued many years ago that skyscrapers distort land-use costs. More recently, Paul Goldberger pointed out in Up From Zero: Politics, Architecture and the Rebuilding of New York, skyscrapers have rarely if ever been profitable and have always been about power and prestige. So, despite 9/11 and the uneconomics of building more than 80 stories high, they will continue to get built ever higher. ArchNewsNow has an interesting Q&A with Ron Klemencic, chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, who is bringing together the world's tall building experts – specialists in technology, finance, and architecture – for the Council on Tall Building’s 7th World Congress, October 16-19 in New York City, themed “Renewing the Urban Landscape.” I’m not so sure there are many people who would argue that skyscrapers can “renew the urban landscape,” but then again, isn’t that what we’re trying to do with the “Freedom Tower”?

Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: Burj Dubai, United Arab Emirates (the height is undisclosed but some experts put it at 2,313 feet)