Advances in engineering continue to push modern skyscrapers to dizzying new heights, but at the core of these structures, quite literally, is an often overlooked technology that’s been key to their proliferation: the elevator.
The earliest known reference to the elevator was by Roman architect Vitruvius, who reported that Archimedes built his first elevator around 236 B.C. The design was fairly rudimentary, a platform using pulleys and hoisted by hand or by animal. While elevators found their way into countless buildings and homes in the centuries that followed, including that of Louis XV who used a private lift to connect his Versailles apartment to that of his mistress, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that their true potential was unlocked.
read more about the elevator here
Michael Phelps took his world record to 21 gold medals last night; Usain Bolt is poised to become the first athlete to win three golds at three Olympics; and Serena Williams (tied with sister Venus) has the most gold medals of any tennis player in the games. To have a little fun with these athletes’ stats, CityRealty.com put together this infographic that shows how long it would take the Olympians to sprint, serve, and swim their way to the top of New York City’s three tallest planned and built residential buildings — the Central Park Tower, 111 West 57th Street, and 432 Park Avenue.
Check out the full-size infographic here
A dozen supertalls (1,000 feet or higher) in the construction or planning stages in Manhattan include a significant number on the rise along the Billionaires’ Row strip just south of Central Park. This trend has been causing concern due to the shadows the looming towers will cast on the park.
Now, a slightly ominous time-lapse video from Cube Cities shows how Billionaires’ Row will have a sundial effect on the park (h/t Gothamist). The length and duration of the shadows will vary as the sun’s angle changes with the seasons; fall and winter days are looking dark, with the tall towers’ long shadows reaching as much as a mile into the park.
Watch the tall towers darken the park on a fall day in the future
Back in April, the power team of JDS Development and SHoP Architects unveiled plans for a 900-foot, 77-story rental building at 247 Cherry Street in the Two Bridges area of the Lower East Side. This neighborhood has become controversial for a recent influx of sky-high development; 247 Cherry will rise directly next to Extell’s 850-foot One Manhattan Square and not far from two 50-story towers at 265-275 Cherry Street. Its 900-foot height would’ve made it the tallest tower between Midtown and Downtown, but left it 100 feet shy of the supertall status JDS and SHoP are known for (the duo is responsible for the 1,438-foot-tall 111 West 57th Street and 9 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn’s first 1,000+ foot tower). However, Bowery Boogie reports today that the height may actually be at or above 1,000 feet, rising 80 stories.
More details ahead
The new mixed-use tower to rise at 125 Greenwich Street will indeed be adding another supertall to the Financial District’s skyline. New renderings confirm a final height exceeding 1,000 feet, inching the tower above the the 977-foot 4 World Trade Center nearby at 150 Greenwich Street, according to YIMBY. 6sqft previously reported on the progress of the slender tower-to-be, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects and developed by a joint venture comprised of Michael Shvo, Bizzi + Partners Development, and Howard Lorber’s Vector Group that will offer a limited collection of condominium residences with unparalleled views of the lower Manhattan skyline and beyond.
Check out the new renderings
A new set of images of the world’s upcoming tallest residential tower have been uncovered, these better revealing the cantilevering silhouette of the 1,550-foot supertall and how it will relate to the skyline of Central Park South.
The images of the Central Park Tower (née Nordstrom Tower) were first spotted by NY Yimby and are part of official EB-5 Immigrant Investor program materials posted online and provided by developer Extell. As such, they confirm that the supertall will indeed no longer have the spire, a feature which would have brought the tower to 1,775 feet and just a foot shy of One World Trade. The materials also reveal that the tower is being marketed with a height of 133 floors (the actual count is just 95, though some units like the 17,000-square-foot three-story penthouse have ceilings that stretch well beyond the standard) and 179 luxury residential units.
Could wood one day again be the material of choice for buildings? In response to rising construction costs and climate change, there’s been a resurgence of interest in wood construction, with some even saying that we’re in the beginnings of a “timber age.” Many architects, engineers and builders have started to embrace the material, having erected, or making plans to construct, high-rises that reach several hundred feet in the air. In fact, in April, one architecture firm proposed bringing a 1,000-foot timber tower to London’s Barbican. But is wood really a reliable alternative to concrete and steel? What about fire safety? And how tall can we really go at this point in time without compromising a building’s structural integrity?
To answer these questions and many more, 6sqft decided to pick the brain of DeSimone Project Manager Joseph Gulden. DeSimone is one of the world’s leading engineering firms with a roster of top NYC projects that include Zaha Hadid’s High Line project, 220 Central Park South and 45 East 22nd Street; Joseph himself is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) as well as a licensed Structural Engineer (SE) with extensive experience constructing in regions with high seismic risk. He’s also worked on numerous high-rises and tall wood structures both in the U.S. and abroad.
Ahead Joseph discusses some of the challenges and advantages of building with wood, engineered timber, deforestation concerns, and if a wooden supertall will ever be in reach.
read the interview here
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal profiled broker-turned-developer Michael Shvo and revealed his development company SHVO now has more than $4 billion dollars worth of projects in the works for the city. While many are still in planning stages and have yet to be released to the public, construction is moving ahead on a trio of condominium developments along Manhattan’s western spine — the Getty, 125 Greenwich Street, and 565 Broome SoHo (as a development partner). While varied in neighborhood and scale, they all enlist high-caliber architects and will bring Shvo’s characteristic high level of attention to detail and “pursuit of perfection.”
Get the rundown on all three developments
Gray silhouettes from left to right: Shanghai World Financial Center, CTF Finance Centre, One WTC, Lotte World Tower, Mecca Royal Clock Tower, Shanghai Tower, Burj Khalifa. Click link here to enlarge >>
As the Skyscraper Museum so aptly writes, “Tall and BIG are not the same thing.”
Echoing 6sqft’s recent post on global supertalls, the infographic above illustrates how when the height of New York’s tallest towers are stacked up against the sky-high constructions abroad (and 1 WTC), our city’s skyscrapers truly are “runts on the world’s stage.” The image also reveals that not only do these towers lack significantly in height, but also in girth. This means what really makes the design of all of New York’s new skyscrapers so unique is not how tall they are, but rather, how slender they are.
more on all that here
Image of Rafael Viñoly via Rafael Viñoly Architects Facebook page for Fall 2011/Winter 2012 issue of Pin-Up: Magazine for Architectural Entertainment
On Monday, the architecture world was gobbling up the comments starchitect Rafael Viñoly made about 432 Park Avenue at a Douglas Elliman talk last week. He admitted that the 1,400-foot supertall “has a couple of screw-ups,” referring to the interior design and layout, as well as the window framing, which he blamed on developer Harry Macklowe. But it looks like the architect is a bit red in the face, because he penned a lengthy public letter to design blog Dezeen apologizing for his loose lips.
“In the context of what we understood to be a private and off-the-record conversation, I expressed frustration, inartfully, about the consequences of my profession’s diminished position in the real estate development eco-system. Sometimes I get a little excited and say things that can easily be taken out of context and stripped of their humor. I have to improve,” he said.
Read more of his apology letter