Additional Thoughts on Sustainable Megatall Building Design

Gartner Wise Tower ConceptThere are plenty of towers that qualify as “super” or “megatall,” and many are like the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, a good example of the “needle” approach. But, if something serious happens in the middle part of the building (as it did few months ago when flames engulfed several floors of the iconic Marina Torch in Dubai), the BIG question is:  What happens to the people above the incident? Just trying to reach high can compromise the ability of tenants to exit such tall buildings. With its redundant elevator and stairwell systems, my megatall Gartner Wise Tower is designed to address concerns such as this.

The good building principles of megatall towers are no different than those of the smallest single-family houses I have created—there are just some added constraints.

First, one must understand what makes buildings comfortable and easy to run. In tall buildings, there are thousands of small and large pieces of equipment that all consume power, and up till recently nobody paid attention how much power they consumed. The passive building standard in Europe has finally shone a light on this issue for the benefit of our entire profession.

While working with Edward Barnes and Philip Johnson, I found that designing real architecture for real clients made for truly lasting buildings.

For 6 years I was a principal designer for Phillip Johnson, working on many projects around the world. What was so beautiful was the fact that we did not flutter around options like I had in the past; instead we were able to focus on current artistic thought without compromising practicality (program and construction price). There was a sizzling atmosphere in our thoughts. Although in retrospect not everything we did was earthshaking, we always produced something good and enduring. Green and passive standards eluded us, as NO DEVELOPER would spend a dime beyond code requirements at the time—and code is the lowest standard allowed.

And that lowest standard it the reason we have the climate burning around us. If all buildings were built to the passive construction standard, our grandchildren might be able to live in relative harmony in the future.

Architecture, like any other art or profession, needs clients looking for healthy long-term answers. 

Accepting and understanding GOOD architecture was the goal in conceptualizing my sustainable megatall building, while embracing a lifetime of learning and honing my skill, balance and focus. To learn more about how architects and their clients can work together to create passive, sustainable buildings of all sizes, feel free to give me a call today at (914) 645-2940.