SKYSCRAPERS SURGE

HIGHER

In order to house the expansion of the Global Cities, new technologies are needed to build skyscrapers higher and bigger. Here are five new trends in building towers

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01 NEW ELEVATOR TECHNOLOGY

Thyssen-Krupp is developing a MULTI elevator system prototype that has no cable. It is based on magnet technology, which would eliminate the need for a counterweight, freeing up internal space for other uses. Magnetic levitation and conjoined elevator shafts will enable the MULTI elevator to propel ‘cars’ through shafts running horizontally as well as vertically. This could in the future lead to exciting new mixed-use skyscraper complexes, where travel between offices, retail, convention centres, and transport hubs is seamless. 

02 NEW MATERIALS

Cross-laminated timber is fast establishing itself as a quicker, greener and cost effective alternative to concrete or steel structural frames. Mass timber panels are produced by gluing layers of lumber together resulting in a material that can erect buildings that are just as strong and fire-resistant as those made from steel and concrete, yet can be drilled like wood and weigh 2.5 times less than that of an equivalent concrete frame. Whilst engineered timber has been widely implemented, the race is now on to construct the next generation ‘Woodscraper’, with various proposals in the pipeline. 

03 NEW CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES

Modular offsite construction is an accelerating trend. In 2015, Chinese development company Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) built the world’s tallest 57 storey flatpack tower in a record 19 days, or three storeys per day. Their goal is to build the world’s tallest skyscraper using flatpack technology. Whilst this may be a way off, this alternative building method could transform the construction industry, offering a shorter timeline, less waste and possible cost savings. 

04 BIOPHILIC DESIGN

Buildings are no longer simply structures, but are increasingly recognised as dynamic environments where the impact of office design has a direct bearing on occupant productivity, health, and well-being. As the world population continues to urbanize, access to green spaces, views to nature and abundant daylight are of increasing importance. Sky rise greenery, in the form of roof greening, vertical green walls and sky gardens has become a popular way for developers to differentiate and attract tenants, and tenants to retain talented staff. 

05 STABILITY AND AERODYNAMICS

Super high skyscrapers must withstand the powerful winds at high altitude, in addition to tolerating earthquakes. In the 32 years between the completion of the original World Trade Center and Taipei 101, there was only a 22% increase in height. In 2010, the development of the buttressed core structural system enabled the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa to skyrocket 2,716 feet, eclipsing Taipei 101 by more than 60%. This type of design gives buildings a stable tri-pod like stance with limited loss of space, redefining height possibilities for future skyscrapers. The buttressed core is being implemented in the currently under construction Kingdom Tower, set to reach 3,280 feet. 


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