at Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library
Best ad ever? From The AIA Journal, 1965.
Buildings, architecture, urbanism, cities & preservation.
Get an engineeer’s-eye-view of the tallest buildings in the world, learn what challenges they face as they reach for the sky and wonder, how tall can we build?
In addition to the technological limitations, which the informative video explains, I do think there are also important economic, political, and environmental considerations.
On the economic side, does a skyscraper make sense for the financial “bottom line”? Urban history has shown that often the main rationale for skyscraper height is not only or even primarily economic profit, but rather symbolic power and competitive boosterism!
The Empire State Building was largely vacant for many years after its completion at the onset of the Great Depression — it was often called the “Empty State Building” for many years.
Still, corporations, builders, and city leaders like the bragging rights to having the tallest building. Certainly the Empire State Building came to an iconic symbol of New York City, and it became financial quite profitable as well.
In terms of politics, what about the impact of a tall high-rise on the surrounding city: will there be political opposition? (See my recent post on buildings people “love to hate.”)
Increasingly city residents around the world are questioning the impacts of high-rise development on transit, congestion, wind tunnels, and other environmental factors of “Manhattanization.”
On the other hand, urban density does tend to promote energy efficiency and can promote sustainability and resilience. But each case will have to be analyzed to see if the benefits outweigh the costs.
So these political, economic, and environmental factors will be just as important at the technological issues discussed in the video. In terms of how high skyscrapers can go, ultimately the sky is the limit!
Historical Map: Unpublished Proof of H.C. Beck’s London Underground Diagram, 1932
A printer’s proof of the first card folder (pocket) edition of Beck’s famous diagram, with edits and corrections marked in his own hand.
Of note is the use of quite ugly and overpowering “blobs” instead of the now-ubiquitous “ticks” for station markers, and the fact that the map has been entirely hand-lettered by Beck, using what he called “Johnston-style” characters. He’s cheated quite a bit with his letterforms and spacing on some of the longer station names.
The Piccadilly line is also shown in what seems to us a very odd light blue, although Beck was simply following established colour conventions from earlier geographical maps. The now-familiar dark blue was in place by the time the diagram was officially released in January of 1933.
Source: Scanned from my personal copy of “Mr. Beck’s Underground Map" by Ken Garland