Skyscrapers emerged as architects dreamed of building higher, and engineers developed construction techniques. However, skyscrapers cannot simply be called high-rise buildings; then there would be no difference between them and the towers. There isn’t a huge difference that separates a skyscraper from a tall building. Although the definitions are not precise, tall buildings over 25 floors can be called skyscrapers.  So how do these tall buildings or skyscrapers relate to their surroundings? What kind of silhouette do they create in the city? What kind of requirements do they need, and how does this affect the cost? There are many important factors to consider when building a skyscraper, because skyscrapers are improving architecturally day by day, going taller, and getting more complex.

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City Skyline

Skyscrapers have a great impact on the city both in terms of settlement and in terms of geologic and climatic conditions. While designing the skyscraper, it is necessary to be prepared for the unexpected effects that may arise in the future. The city landscape of the future will consist of the building you built and the buildings that will be built later on from you. Relationships with these surrounding buildings can improve the cityscape by positively influencing the skyline. Both inside and outside of the skyscrapers should be well designed so that those who use the building and those who observe from the outside do not have problems. For people outside, shading and façade can be considered as examples of considerations. For insiders, attention can be given to daylight rain and wind analysis. The relationship established with the context, on the other hand, affects both the inside and the outside. It helps people to feel the ‘place’ they live in and to provide ease of use.

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The risk you can take

Skyscrapers should be weight-bearing, earthquake and wind-resistant, and safe living spaces that can protect from fire throughout their lifetime. Load combinations should be calculated and attention should be paid to the structural design; people should not live here at risk. Fine engineering calculations of dead and live loads inside the building, horizontal and vertical loads coming from outside, and wind pressure are important. In addition to these, they need a stronger foundation. Possible ventilation sources and alternative ways of exiting are issues to be considered. The problem with how to get in and out of the building is the elevators and stairs. As the number of floors in the building increases, more people live in the building and more people need to use the core. Therefore, more elevators and stairwells should be opened. As a result, the amount of floor space can be reduced.

They are usually made using a steel frame. It is widely used in materials such as concrete, brick, aluminum, and glass. Concrete is inherently strong under compressive forces; however, the enormous projected weight of the Petronas Towers led designers to specify a new type of concrete that was more than twice as strong as usual. This high-strength material was achieved by adding very fine particles to the usual concrete ingredients; the increased surface area of these tiny particles produced a stronger bond. Apart from these traditional materials, there are also materials that will be important for the future. These are smart concrete, solar glass blocks, and air-purifying facades.

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Each new floor means the Cost

Of course, constructing tall buildings incurs certain costs. Excavation operations are one of the first cost inputs that you will encounter. This depends on where you are digging. In an urban area, heavily requested places will complicate your work. The cost will not end during the construction process or after the building is completed. Construction permits and different materials you choose, labour is also cost inputs. They consume a lot of energy because the extra freshwater needs to be pumped to the upper floors, and you may need mechanical ventilation. These cost situations may differ from country to country.

It may be cheaper for you to build half the floors of the skyscraper you plan to build on the area next to you. If affordability is an important factor for you, you can review why you want to build a skyscraper and why you want to build it at that height.

Usable Floors-Vanity height 

Is it your highest floor, architectural top, or height to type, the part where you decide how tall your building is? Discussions are swirling about this. If you’re building a skyscraper to gain title, prestige, or attention, then there’s an important issue you need to pay attention to: Vanity Height. It helps you measure how tall your building is. You can think of it as a building hood that will make your building attractive. You can manage the designs by opening the gap between your highest usable floor and the pinnacle. We see the use of vanity height in many examples around the world, such as Burj Khalifa and Burj al-Arab in Dubai, which has the vanniest skyline and also Willis Tower in the United States.

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References:

  1. How products are made. Skyscraper. [online]. Available at: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-6/Skyscraper.html [Accessed 14 March 2022].
Author

It is a great passion for Elif Demirci, a student of the department of architecture, to examine all the works, materials and projects going on in the field of architecture. She believes that her writings will improve the built environment.

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