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An Overview of Supertall Skyscrapers; Effective or Inadequate?
October 15, 2021 at 6:30 PM
by Sidhanth Thomas

With cities around the world developing and burgeoning out of their traditional limits, urban centers become more densely packed every single day. Increasing populations and rapid urbanization combined with cutting-edge built environment technologies and visionary developers essentially formed the bedrock for skyscrapers, first seen with the Chrysler Building in New York City and today with hundreds of supertall skyscrapers being constructed in countries such as China, the United States, the UAE, and India.

Skyscrapers or High-rise buildings have been viewed as a problem solver, being able to greatly increase the limitations of a small site footprint by providing greater space for residential and commercial space in an already densely packed area or neighborhood. In this article, we seek to provide an overview of why that might not exactly be the case.

Here is an Overview of Supertall Skyscrapers; Effective or Inadequate

1. The Economics of A Supertall Skyscraper

2. Should Residential Buildings Compete in the Height Race?

3. The Future In Store for Supertall Skyscrapers

1. The Economics of A Supertall Skyscraper


From the iconic 828 meters, current tallest skyscraper in the world to ones such as Sky City in China and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia set to surpass even the Burj Khalifa, supertall buildings have proven to be an effective use of space, also freeing up land for parks and other public spaces. However, the most important argument for supertall skyscrapers is that they greatly increase the value of surrounding assets. They also can be mixed-use, playing host to hotels, serviced apartments, and commercial space.

One of the most important aspects when it comes to the ergonomics of skyscraper construction is the timeframe in which it is built. High-rise buildings need to be built quickly in order to be financially feasible. Building a supertall skyscraper is a mammoth undertaking and requires the satisfaction of owners, shareholders, and other inseparable stakeholders. For a satisfactory return on their investments to be announced, construction has to be expedited and time goals must be achieved.

2. Should Residential Buildings Compete in the Height Race?


Most Supertall Skyscrapers are usually located in central business districts, essentially transforming that part of the city into a skyscraper forest packed with commercial and office space. Satisfying business demands have been the skyscraper priority in most parts of the world so far, however, in recent years, some cities have seen a massive uptick in residential structures soaring their way up into the sky.

One of the most common guarantees of a home high up in the sky is the so-called unimpeded and unrivaled views of the cityscape for those on the higher floors. Looking at it in an objective manner, one may contemplate on how the taller the skyscraper is, the bigger the profits of the developer. No longer serving a larger purpose of solving urban concentrations, are they now inadequate? As seen in the now well-known controversy surrounding 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York the fact that pushing the boundaries of how tall and skinny a living space can be might now great results.

From flooding pipes, non-functioning elevator services, and incessant noises from different structural components, the residents of the supertall skyscraper who were supposed to enjoy up to 9-figure privileged living, were in for quite the rude awakening. Aside from certain core structural issues, supertall skyscrapers that tower over lower building roofs and provide an all-encompassing extensive view have become extremely commodified without examining other methods and technologies in a decentralized manner such as vertical gardens and augmented reality to satisfy sight enjoyment factors.

3. The Future In Store for Supertall Skyscrapers


With over 170 supertall skyscrapers above 300 meters already built around the world, and these numbers seeing a significant increase in recent times, there are many more under construction and in the planning phase. Many of these have been built by Firms that are industry heavyweights such as Skidmore Owings and Merrill as well as Kohn Pederson Fox. Now destined for completion over the next few years, supertall skyscrapers being built by Studios known quintessentially for their cultural and social projects are stepping into the limelight.

One of the most prominent examples is 50 Hudson Yards being designed by the iconic Firm, Foster + Partners. The 308-meter tall skyscraper is set to be completed in 2022 as well as another Foster + Partners supertall skyscraper in Toronto named “The One.” which is due for completion around 2023. Another example is of Zaha Hadid Architects’ venture into supertall construction with Tower C, in Shenzhen, a megastructure that will consist of two towers connected by planted terraces and will soar up to 400 meters in a new financial district in Shenzhen.


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