The enduring history of modern skyscrapers - The Presidential Tower by CNTC Hong Kong

The enduring history of modern skyscrapers

From the biblical Tower of Babel to the iconic Shanghai Tower in Hong Kong, humans have always strived to build bigger and better symbols that surpass the ones of the past, while showcasing their own expertise and skills. Over the centuries, we have created a number of edifices that celebrate our history, culture, tradition or show off our wealth.

Tall structures historically symbolise power and dominance. They were once the prerogative of royalty and the rich, of great rulers and empires. The Pyramids were one such, the height of which signified the stature of the person they entombed.

Pharaoh Khufu’s the Great Pyramids of Giza which stood the tallest for 4000 years, once towered over 145 meters high till it was overtaken by cathedrals and mosques in the 14th century. Religious places built on mountains and rocky hills went even higher to touch the heavens.

Today however, buildings and skyscrapers are breaking the boundaries of height like never before.  The Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest building stands at 310 meters, while CNTC’s Shanghai Tower touches 632 meters. The Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at 1,600 meters is touted to become the world’s tallest when it is completed in 2020.

Tall towers in the early days

The first generation of skyscrapers appeared in New York in 1880’s and were built in financial districts to signify money and exploit technological advancements. Subsequently the industrial era began to emphasise strength and prowess, and the Chicago Home Insurance building in 1884 – at 12 stories – came to be one of the tallest from that period. It were architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler who put forth specifications for tall buildings with much of it followed even today.

Initially America was the only country, that built such icons to showcase industrial progress. They used new inventions such as Bessemer steel and flexible frameworks, including the patenting of electrical run elevators to build higher stories that could be accessed easily. While offices were predominantly housed in such high rises, residences and homes soon began to find them appealing as well in trying to escape from dust, pollution and grime.

The early office towers were constantly trying to outdo each other. Buildings were enclosed in large, light and well ventilated spaces. Although height was imposed, buildings were made higher as a vertical way of expansion rather than horizontal.

Emergence of Tall Second-generation Giants

As tall buildings grew, so did the problems they put forth. This was mainly to do with light and ventilation of older designs. While shapes changed, and buildings pointed at the sky, there necessitated the need for more artificial lighting and ventilation. This provided an important change in shaping tall buildings as we see them today. The zinggurat or geometric patterning style seen in most buildings, emerged from that period and is an architectural symbol of the art-deco movement.

Emergence of Modern Residential Skyscrapers

Today’s skyscrapers carry much of the styles and influence of the early period. With the emergence of new influences, over supply of office buildings and World War, commercial skyscrapers began to give way to residential towers. These tall, silent monoliths became a symbol of privilege and status and stand testimony to how far we have come.

CNTC’s The Presidential Tower, the tallest Bengaluru-based residential tower at 162 meters is an iconic structure that will change the face of Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru’s emerging business district. Using much of the architectural designing and infrastructure applied across the other iconic world towers including at Shanghai and Dubai, CNTC hopes to give the city a glimpse of how it is to live in homes that look onto the skies.

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  • Joe Doe Reply

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    July 22, 2016 at 2:18 pm

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