Architects of the new age have been actively investigating unconventional shapes and images for visible implementation of ideas prompted by the new century. However, creation of something principally new does not always coincide with calendar changing of centuries or even thousands of years. Formation of successful strategy for any sophisticated concept depends on many factors, and current trends set with respect to different shapes and styles often reflect the capabilities of the construction industry. At the beginning of the XXI century, several factors concurred together that promoted a keen interest to new developments in high-rise construction. The 1990s race in high-rise construction resulted in a situation when only numerical height indicators were not enough to impress the world. At the same time, there was developed sufficient range of engineering solutions that facilitated a significant leap to a new level of technological capabilities in high-rise construction. Advanced computer programs for design and construction provided architects of the 2000s with new tools, so the world became rich in striking and recognizable projects.
Construction of skyscrapers is a complex and time-consuming process that requires a lot of human resources and material costs. It is therefore natural that the creation of such largescale facilities is carried out by large companies and large-scale design corporations. It is their efforts that formed the mainstream of the global high-rise building of the 20th century. Although some spectacular towers were designed by famous architects particularly as unique projects, which has recently been especially notable, most these structures appeared as a work product by project offices such as SOM, KPF, Gensler, Nikken Sekkei, MAD, NBBJ, Aedas and many others.
Despite the numerous economic problems and permanent challenges of the global economy, high-rise construction of the new century is developing intensively, and it requires constant attention and analysis to the numerous changes and abundant news. A wide range of diverse buildings in the “high rise” category requires continuous and comprehensive study.
The development of technical equipment and the emergence of new materials have for centuries naturally influenced the architecture. New building technologies have contributed to the emergence of innovative forms and styles. The spread of a certain initial construction materials has largely affected the scale of sustainable growth of architectural techniques and images. In nowadays global world physical borders are no longer an obstacle to reflect new ideas and apply advanced technologies.
We live in the era of the global transformation of the world when the conventional perception of norms, boundaries of what is allowed and desired, undergoes significant changes and, moreover, this is happening all at once in many facets of life of the modern society. In some spheres these changes are dramatic and in the others not so appreciable, but within the last 30 years both the society and our perception of the world have clearly changed.
For centuries the spires have been the most logical crowning of any tall buildings. The broach spires formed the major visual unique image of cities and monastic ensembles in different parts of the world. As for the shape the spire crowned, it depended on many factors prevailing in the national artistic specificity of various cultural traditions. These traditions were honed and perfected over the centuries and relied on the customary materials and available technologies.
Even ancient philosophers and builders considered the peculiar effect that wind had on high-rise structures and significant vertical lines. Practical tips helping to manage the specific of wind loads in certain areas were passed on from generation to generation. Over the centuries this practical approach remained the only mean for people to take into account the effects of the air flow during construction and operation of high-rise buildings.
In today’s world of increasingly sophisticated design technology, it is rare to find an established architect/ client partnership that has consistently advanced the innovation of tall building design. Capitalizing on their successful collaboration on Zifeng Tower (formerly Nanjing Greenland Financial Center), the architecture, engineering, interior design and urban planning firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has since partnered with Shanghai’s Greenland Group on six important, high-profile additions to the Greenland portfolio: Zhengzhou Greenland Plaza, Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza Parcel A, Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Zifeng, Greenland Center Dawangjing and Greenland Group Suzhou Center, as well as several design competitions.
When in our reviews we dwelt on architectural and stylistic features of skyscrapers that were built in different parts of the world, we tried to emphasize certain distinctive features and specifics of tall buildings and their distinguishing guises, inherent to selected countries. Describing the stylistic diversity of modern buildings and their designs, we focused on the general methods of this or that trend.