September 3rd : Skyscraper Day

September 3rd : Skyscraper Day was chosen as a day to celebrate building of tall habitable structures.  It is the birthday of architect Louis H. Sullivan, who called the “father of skyscrapers” as he is considered to have designed the first ones in his home town of Chicago.  Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, better known as SOM of the US is one of the world leading architecture and engineering firms. has produced the design of residential tower that is object of the article below.

Commemoration of September 11, 2001, where nearly 3,000 people were killed in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center (WTC) twin Towers in New York took place yesterday. 

First and foremost, an overwhelming majority of structural engineers agree that the tragedies of September 11 were the result of a terrorist attack that caused catastrophic damage to WTC 1 and 2 as explained by William Kotterman, Licensed Engineer (SE, PE) in San Francisco in his writing dated 10 September 2013.  The construction industry is traditionally known for its slow adoption of new technology and innovation.  But at SOM as evidenced by the following story, innovative thinking is obviously being encouraged so as to create that well known competitive advantage. [ms-protect-content]

September 3rd as Skyscraper Day . . .

An architect’s work brings a special reward: the opportunity to eventually see designs built in the real world. For designers of supertall towers, the privilege is especially grand — their work can define city skylines. Yet, for a variety of reasons, sometimes even the most compelling concepts do not end up getting constructed. In anticipation of Skyscraper Day on September 3rd, we celebrate three inventive unbuilt towers, each of which seeks to elevate supertall design to even greater heights.


SOM’s design for Al Sharq Tower, created in 2008, pushes the limits of engineering to maximize the potential of a tiny plot of land — albeit one with a prestigious address. The tower was intended to rise on 36 square meters fronting Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai’s main boulevard, which is lined with luxury skyscrapers.

At 360 meters tall, Al Sharq Tower would have an aspect ratio of 10:1 — ten times as tall as it is wide. “It’s impossibly thin — you wouldn’t do this unless you had to,” said Gary Haney, a design partner at SOM.

Al Sharq Tower Facade Detail
Al Sharq Tower Facade Detail

While a number of super-thin towers have sprouted up in recent years — notably in New York, where market forces and zoning laws have combined to produce improbably slender designs — Al Sharq remains different from any other high-rise yet built. Its unprecedented engineering concept is visible in its facade, formed by structural post-tensioned cables, which connect to the tower’s concrete core. The system works “sort of like a vertical suspension bridge,” Haney said. The result is a skyscraper free of interior columns, providing an open floor plan for the apartments inside, and uninterrupted vistas high above the desert.

Read the rest of the article at

Al Sharq Tower Typical Floor Plan
Al Sharq Tower Typical Floor Plan

Other reading of interest could be found in Skyscraper Day 2015: 10 Facts, Photos Celebrating Ridiculously Tall Buildings Around The World written by Elizabeth Whitman



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