The desire to build big is nothing new. Big buildings have been used to show off power and wealth; to honor leaders or religious beliefs; to stretch the limits of what’s possible; and even as simple competition among owners, families, architects, and builders.
Some of the most dramatic buildings of the past include the pyramids in Egypt, the skinny towers stretching towards the sky in Italian hill towns, and the Gothic Cathedrals of France. While these types of buildings may look very different from each other, they all have one thing in common. They were built with masonry or stone walls supporting most of the weight, including that of the floors, the people, and everything the rooms contained. Because of this, the height of these buildings was limited by how massive and heavy they had to be at the base.
Skyscrapers are the world’s tallest buildings. Skyscrapers are often like small cities. Sometimes if you view them from a distance you may want to overestimate their closeness to Heaven. The first attempt at the erection of a skyscraper began with the Tower of Babel. The result of that was that men began to speak in diverse confused tongues which ensured that the tower never stood.
The design and construction of skyscrapers involves creating safe habitable spaces in very tall buildings. The buildings must support their weight, resist wind and earthquakes, and protect occupants from fire. Yet they must also be conveniently accessible, even on the upper floors, and provide utilities and a comfortable climate for the occupants.
The problems posed in skyscraper design are considered among the most complex encountered given the balances required between engineering and construction management. Good structural design is important in most building designs, but particularly for skyscrapers since even a small chance of catastrophic failure is unacceptable given the high prices of construction.
This presents a paradox to civil engineers: the only way to assure a lack of failure is to test for all modes of failure, in both the laboratory and the real world. But the only way to know of all modes of failure is to learn from previous failures.
Thus, no engineer can be absolutely sure that a given structure will resist all loads that could cause failure, but can only have large enough margins of safety such that a failure is acceptably unlikely. When buildings do fail, engineers question whether the failure was due to some lack of foresight or due to some unknowable factor.
Living in skyscrapers or high-rise buildings is very dangerous and uncomfortable. On the other hand, skyscrapers symbolize civilization, success and technological development. It is considered prestigious to live or work in a high-rise building
Experts also say that skyscrapers are highly unprofitable from the economic point of view. Very expensive equipment is required to mount ventilation, canalization and water supply systems in high-rise buildings. In addition, skyscrapers need to be equipped with costly fire safety systems and helipads.
Living in skyscrapers has its own negative peculiarities. A human being loses highly important ties with the ground at the height of the 8th floor. It is psychologically hard for a person not to see the ground, the yard and the people. That is why Europe uses the standard of only seven floors for apartment buildings.
Those living in skyscrapers face the air conditioning problem. It is impossible to open windows at the height being 20-25t floors above the ground. To crown it all, people may spend up to 40 minutes waiting for elevators every morning and evening as they leave and return home from work.
Many people say that they are ready to turn a blind eye on all of the afove-mentioned discomforts for the sake of prestige. It is worthy of note that it is almost impossible to evacuate people from a skyscraper in case of emergency. The 9/11 tragedy in New York and only recently the Grenfell Tower Fire in London can only prove it.
At the time of the 9/11 disaster, you would want to momentarily think that the age of skyscrapers had come to an end- an experimental building typology that had failed.
More than fourteen years ago, watching a video of the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center in the few minutes before they both collapsed, you would be struck by what appeared to be the whole history of the skyscraper captured in vignette.
In the blocks east and south of the World Trade Center stood the earlier skyscrapers of the 20th century, including some of the most notable prototypes of that epoch. Virtually all of these pre-1930 ultra-tall buildings thrust skyward with towers, turrets, and needles, each singular in its design, as though reaching up to some great spiritual goal as yet unattained.
And there, in contrast stood the two flaming towers of the World Trade Center, with their flat roofs signifying the exhaustion of that century-long aspiration to reach into the heavens, their failure made even more emphatic in the redundancy of their banal twin-ness. Then they and everything inside them imploded into vapor and dust, including several thousand New Yorkers
When The United States was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001, the tragedy brought a sobering reassessment of America’s (and the World’s) infatuation with skyscrapers.
In Nigeria, Lagos Island has more skyscrapers than any other city in the country, a couple of them abandoned. Yet the Lagos state government intends to erect a whooping 1, 200 high-rise buildings in the ongoing Eko Atlantic City project as the race for the sky heats up.
Regardless of what happened to the tower of babel and the twin towers in New-york or even Grenfell Towers, whether we like it or not skyscrapers have come to stay.