SIlver Tower - A New Paradigm for Tall Building Design


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Virginia Tech


The events of September 11, 2001, seemed to many to presage the end of the skyscraper as an urban form. Some 15 years later, the skyscraper is more prevalent than ever before, owing to its unique advantages over other building forms in an urban, environmental, and sociological context. Skyscrapers are rising ever higher, pushing the limits of architecture and engineering. In 2001 there were 23 buildings over 1,000 feet in height. As of this writing there are 173 buildings over 1,000 feet completed or under construction, with 300 more in various phases of proposal. Despite their enormous initial cost in both capital and energy, the skyscraper maximizes the use of constricted urban space and provides enormous opportunities for technological and sociological innovation which, despite more that 100 years of skyscraper construction, are only just beginning to be realized. This thesis will explore a number of as-yet unrealized possibilities for skyscraper development to prognosticate and articulate future typologies designed to address increasing problems of energy efficiency, population density and disaster preparedness. As the human population grows, and more people move to the cities, larger and larger buildings will be necessary to house them at densities sufficient to ensure energy efficiency and minimize sprawl. The skyscraper is uniquely suited to meet these demands.



Skyscraper, catalytic bigness, eminent domain, air rights, airliner, piezoelectrics, wind turbine, watt, joule, watt-hour, nuclear reactor