Currently, the Skyscraper Museum in New York has an exhibition titled Super big! the one that focuses on the tallest buildings in the world, starting with the Empire State Building, which was the tallest in the world in 1931, to the Burj Khalifa, which is currently the tallest building in the world at 2 717 feet, and all other taller buildings across the Middle East, China, Russia, and North America.
One of the most talked about supertalls this year is Central Park Tower, the tallest residential building in the world at 1,550 feet with over 1.2 million square feet. It is located on West 57e Street, New York’s prestigious Billionaires’ Row and boasts a dizzying 131 floors, which even makes some of its residents nervous.
Central Park Tower apparently has the fastest elevators in the western world, which travel at 2,000 feet per minute at top speed. It also has the world’s tallest private club in a residential building. Fashion icon Iris Apfel recently celebrated her 100e birthday in this club (the 100e floor, no less) which is located over 1,000 feet.
The biggest challenge, according to Joaquin Stearns, senior vice president of development at Extell Development Company in New York City, which built Central Park Tower, was designing “graceful floor plans” around bankable views of Central Park.
“The integration of a cantilever 300 feet above the street and which extends approximately 30 feet to the east has allowed us to expand the living space of our residences”, Stearns said. According to Stearns, the cantilever structure took months of careful planning and coordination to complete and contains nearly 10 percent of the total structural reinforced steel found throughout the building. “It’s a real feat of engineering in every way,” he said proudly.
Supertalls are sexy, they allow even the smallest lots to be able to build more space and capture views never imagined possible. And yet, they still have their flaws. There have been reports of yet another billionaire row supertall, 432 Park, having creaks and construction crashes, causing hassle for its ultra-luxurious residents who are not used to such discomforts.
China recently announced a ban on supertalls. This is an important announcement because China is home to half of the tallest buildings in the world (around 10 of them). The Chinese government has enforced new rules that ban new vessels over 1,640 feet. As early as 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping told architects not to make buildings “weird”, “strange” or “oddly shaped”. This is not just for aesthetic reasons, but for economic reasons, as cranes and construction can be expensive, especially for supertalls, which are created by private developers. After the recent announcement from some of China’s biggest developers struggling to pay off their debt, the government may have gotten the idea that these capital-intensive projects required more risk than they were prepared to. to allow.
According to Daniel Safarik, deputy director of the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, supertalls have both advantages and disadvantages. “In the right context, which is ideally at the intersection of many transportation options in a densely populated area, supertalls can provide a senior framework for an efficient community of living and working spaces for tens of thousands of people. “, did he declare.
For some industry experts, supertalls are more than ego and advertising. It’s also about urban design, at least in the case of the Burj Khalifa, which relied on nearby hotels, condos, malls, and entertainment venues to fit into the urban setting and enable it to be successful. In China, supertalls are built on a similar setting, typically sitting next to waterfront developments.
CTBUH research indicates that 84% of supertalls were built after 9/11. Safarik mentions that supertalls fill the city skyline, which in turn adds marketing value to a city. Even in Dubai, where developers are accumulating land that can be developed around the supertalls, they can sell buildings nearby to pay off the supertall, which would be riskier if it were built in isolation.
“Supertalls that are built without the proper infrastructure around them tend to do poorly as investments, or at least take much longer to earn returns on the investment,” Safarik said. “There’s no question that running many elevators and HVAC systems in a high-rise building is expensive and energy intensive. ”
One solution is the vertical forest trend, which incorporates greenery into skyscrapers, which aims to promote biodiversity and improve air quality. One example is Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale skyscraper, which uses trees on the balconies and roofs of a tower. Another is Eden, designed by Heatherwick Studio, which fills the plants on the balconies of a high-rise apartment building. This approach, while useful, has been criticized by critics who say plants are used to green developments.
But some supertall architects are well aware of their environmental impact, despite reports that supertalls are not environmentally sustainable. Many are creating green walls, natural ventilation and improved air filtration systems, according to Safarik. “Without market demand and population density to offset these costs, a supertall can be an economically and environmentally unnecessary business,” he adds.
Despite their criticism, however, this will not stop the supertalls. Florida is building its first supertall with New York developer Property Markets Group, a 100-story Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Residences, to be built on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami.
And according to Stearns, who is no stranger to developing supertalls, the need for energy efficiency and sustainability is clear. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, who designed the Central Park Tower, “consider cultural, climatic and geographic influences to achieve ultimate environmental sustainability,” he said.
The exterior of the building was designed with materials that meet the energy efficiency of the building. “We used highly efficient low-emissivity glass units for the windows, low-reflective surfaces such as zinc panels, as well as stainless steel components on all vertical aspects of the building,” Stearns said.
Certainly nothing will be built along Billionaire’s Row in the short to medium term that offers such high quality as Central Park Tower. Buyers are aware of the affordability of nearby alternatives, but as Stearns explains, “There’s nothing else like this coming to the market anytime soon. Over the past 10 years to be more aware of the community at the street level, as well as their environmental responsibility. “The trends point to more mixed-use projects and fewer all-office and all-residential projects,” Safarik said. “This is in part because there is less financial risk in having parts of the building subject to different cycles or market conditions,” he explains. They say the iconic building could be finished. There seem to be fewer projects built just for iconic value, and more consideration of the urban context. While the tallest buildings in the world may stand out as feats of engineering and science, skyscrapers will ultimately be judged on what they have done to their surroundings and how well they resist the changes that occur. in the world.