Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: Why architects like to build upwards?

  1. #1
    Member Missy's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    London
    Posts
    39

    Why architects like to build upwards?

    Hello all.

    Could someone please explain to me, as a layperson, why in very heavily built-up areas such as London, Architects who want to get noticed have to build upwards very high. I did have an email from a Planner friend, but unfortunately all my emails have been lost

    This was in the context of discussing the Gherkin building.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Lots of reasons for higher density

    Quote Originally posted by Missy
    Hello all.

    Could someone please explain to me, as a layperson, why in very heavily built-up areas such as London, Architects who want to get noticed have to build upwards very high. I did have an email from a Planner friend, but unfortunately all my emails have been lost

    This was in the context of discussing the Gherkin building.

    Thanks in advance.

    There are a bunch of reasons why higher buildings are proposed and built in built up areas. One is that land becomes more expensive in these areas, necessitating larger buildings to recover land costs. Also, developers may want higher buildings to stand out and thus attract more buyers/tenants. Architects like to design higher buildings because they are paid more (the bigger the building, the bigger the fee) and there are more design opportunities involved in larger buildings than smaller buildings (remember Burnham's "make no small plans...).

    Do you like the Gherkin building?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,702
    Blog entries
    1

    Cost

    London is one of the highest (if not highest now) real estate markets in the world The expense of land and cost of construction in that part of the world lead architects and others to look to the sky and to density as mentioned before. Although London is not known for its big buildings, but is known for tremendous sprawling suburbs and HUGE multi-family buildings/development I think it would be ideal if buildings could be kept under the tower bridge height, but not likely.....thank goodness for the massive transit system in that City, or all would be lost.
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Architects like to build tall because tall buildings stand out and are noticed.

    That said, it's not the architect who decides the building's size or height; it's the developer. After that, the NIMBYs and the Authorities generally go to work to whittle it down.

    Even in New York.

  5. #5
    Member Missy's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    London
    Posts
    39
    Thank you kindly for the replies.

    i'm so glad I asked because there are a points here, such as fees being bigger for bigger buildings, which I hadn't thought of.


    Gotta Speakup I think the Gherkin is growing on me... I did think it a work of arrogant exhibitionism at first, but I'm used to it now. It is also good to have a landmark to let you know what direction you're going in

    The One It's pretty noticeable, when you go to one of the big American cities, that London really doesn't have very big buildings at all.
    London is one of the highest (if not highest now) real estate markets in the world
    I know. And it doesn't look like I'll be able to buy bigger than a box flat, ever Unless I win the lottery


    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    Architects like to build tall because tall buildings stand out and are noticed.

    .
    That's it in a nutshell So would it be fair to say, that the more closely packed the buildings are, the less each individual building is likely to be noticed, and there is therefore even more incentive for Architects (or developers) who want to make a name for themselves to build much higher then everyone else?

    I hope that makes sense.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2003
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    713
    Quote Originally posted by Missy
    So would it be fair to say, that the more closely packed the buildings are, the less each individual building is likely to be noticed, and there is therefore even more incentive for Architects (or developers) who want to make a name for themselves to build much higher then everyone else?

    I hope that makes sense.
    That makes sense.

    When LeCorbusier came to New York he said: "The skyscrapers are too small and too close together."

    He liked space around his buildings so you could see how big they were.

    .

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,147

    The gherkin and tall buildings

    a) there is little doubt that for developers/clients as well as architects, tall buildings hae a phallic, power-statement quality. Doubly so for the suggestively shaped 'cherkin' (British english for 'pickle').

    b) a windoiw fell off that building yesterday. Someone could have been killed.
    Not the first bulding by 'glassy' foster that wobbles/is amde of the wrong stone/etc.

    c) I can only attribute the positive reception to that building to the debased, disfunctional current architectural context
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  8. #8

    Registered
    Dec 2004
    Location
    At Silly Mid-Off
    Posts
    517
    I like the gherkin. The point about it, I feel, is that it is sufficiently different to make itself noticed.

    Luca, was Foster responsible for the Millenium bridge? Classic farce

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,235
    I thought that building was neat. Monument architecture needs oddballs.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    two words, one may be mispelled: Von Tuenen.

    Von Tuenen was a greographer that looked at the best use of land based upon location. The more denser you can make the core, the greater amount of rent you can generate from the land. This is the reason why you do not see large potato farms in the middle of central cities.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heaven or Las Vegas
    Posts
    916
    b) a windoiw fell off that building yesterday. Someone could have been killed.
    I met a woman from London the w/e before last. She works for a major construction firm that had bid on some of the work for the Gherkin. She told me the windows were installed by a machine that was designed & built specifically for that task so that workers wouldn't have to work from the outside. Hard to get a scaffold to stay still on a curved surface, I suppose. The more I look at that building I realize how difficult it must have been to build. Windows falling off of skyscrapers isn't all that uncommon in the US.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,235
    A window came off the CNA building in Chicago a few years ago and took off a women's head.

  13. #13

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Keep in mind that terra cotta, stucco, and even carved stone also falls off buildings and threatens to crush people.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Where ever you go, there you are
    Posts
    276
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Keep in mind that terra cotta, stucco, and even carved stone also falls off buildings and threatens to crush people.
    A brick falling from 10 feet would be bad. Tip - Stay away from buildings
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    7,061
    Quote Originally posted by Howard Roark
    A brick falling from 10 feet would be bad. Tip - Stay away from buildings
    Yeah, it is so much safer to live out with the wild animals and the weather. Except we can't sue them, dagnabit.




    (agreeing with you, okay?)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Where ever you go, there you are
    Posts
    276
    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Yeah, it is so much safer to live out with the wild animals and the weather. Except we can't sue them, dagnabit.




    (agreeing with you, okay?)
    Oh, you can sue, collecting the judgement is the hard part
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

  17. #17
    Architects would love to think they have a choice on how high they build a building, but I think they have very little choice in that. By nature, they are hired by a developer with a fixed amount of money to design a building that will produce x income from y renters, on a lot z high. Unless the architect can convince the developer that every floor needs to be 20 feet high, they're given a project with a given height before they start.

    Another way to answer the question is to say why they choose taller projects rather than shorter projects. They're usually paid as a percentage of construction costs. Any questions?

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Changsha,Hunan,China
    Posts
    28
    Sure it's not the architect who pays for the building.So he must meet the need of the one who paid.Perhaps high building may save a lot of money buying land.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    230
    Quote Originally posted by ruhan
    Sure it's not the architect who pays for the building.So he must meet the need of the one who paid.Perhaps high building may save a lot of money buying land.
    For modern tall buildings, It does have to do mostly with land economics driving the height.

    There are exceptions to this, such as stand-alone skyscrapers built more to make a statement, or for a wealthy individual. The Price Tower in Oklahoma is a good example.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian H's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    MKS
    Posts
    2,847
    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    a) there is little doubt that for developers/clients as well as architects, tall buildings hae a phallic, power-statement quality. Doubly so for the suggestively shaped 'cherkin' (British english for 'pickle').
    What do you mean... phalic?



    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,147

    tall building issues

    Whatever their merits, very tall buildings have a lot of inescapable detrimental effects, urban form-wise. Among other, they 'steal' light/views from surrounding lower buildings, they tend to requyire, fi not super-blocks, at least fairly lage blocks. Tall building swith small footprints woul be hard to jsutifye conomically, as a large perentage of the floor plan would go to elevator/service tower. I think in a very large city with superb infrastructure (to cope with the transitory density of huge office towers) they can be appropriate but it is boudtlessly less easy to build a high-quality neighborhood around v. tall buildings.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Where ever you go, there you are
    Posts
    276
    Quote Originally posted by BikePlanIt
    Architects would love to think they have a choice on how high they build a building, but I think they have very little choice in that. By nature, they are hired by a developer with a fixed amount of money to design a building that will produce x income from y renters, on a lot z high. Unless the architect can convince the developer that every floor needs to be 20 feet high, they're given a project with a given height before they start.

    Another way to answer the question is to say why they choose taller projects rather than shorter projects. They're usually paid as a percentage of construction costs. Any questions?
    Actually, the fact that architects have little to do with the height of buildings from a visioning aspedt is no mystery to them (us) at all. We are, however, the ones that are charged with making a design work given the regulations and technical horrors that come with high rise construction.

    Also- most architects are not paid by percent of construction, in these days of design build and cut rate fees we base our contracts on the amount of precieved hours a job will take multiplied by a fee schedule. As alot of the time construction costs are not known at the formation of the proposal. this usually represents about 3 to 5 percent of the total construction cost depending on how good you were at getting it done.
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    4
    developers dictate the height of a building, not an architect (i'm an architect and planner btw)

    developers start a project with a proforma as a recipe for making money on the project. they also start with a program of what they want to do and how much money they can make doing it. if money allows, the developr can build all the way up to max. zoning and that calculation of what zoning allows is done by architects.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    In a new discovered reality where it doesn't snow
    Posts
    14,102
    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    A window came off the CNA building in Chicago a few years ago and took off a women's head.
    I heard about the window, but not the woman! Did they do anything to prevent it from happening again?
    Trusting a DC politician with your money is like trusting a hungry dog with a raw steak.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,235
    I think the city did an investigation and CNA got sued.

    They'd had trouble with the windows in the past and they'd found that 3M produces a film that would prevent them from breaking apart, but CNA decided that it'd be too expensive to install so they were just putting it on new windows. The window had cracked a few days earlier but the maintenance people had been slow to replace it. Suffice to say, CNA got it in the pants on the lawsuit.

    I would assume that they installed the film on the other windows, but I've not heard confirmation.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. 100% build out in NJ
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 16
    Last post: 15 Sep 2010, 3:40 PM
  2. Brazilian Architects
    Introduce Yourself
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 22 Nov 2009, 8:41 PM
  3. Replies: 8
    Last post: 09 Oct 2008, 6:07 PM
  4. Replies: 46
    Last post: 19 Feb 2006, 7:20 AM
  5. Replies: 11
    Last post: 07 Jan 2005, 3:28 PM