*
* Chris Abel *
"Abel writes in a brisk, no-nonsense manner and steers
clear of glib acceptance of received wisdom"
Andrew Ballantyne, Times Literary Supplement
*
*
*
*
Home 1pix Biography 1pix Publications 1pix Design Studios 1pix Exhibitions 1pix Lectures & Seminars 1pix Contact
*
* PUBLICATIONS EXTRACTS
* * *
* *
*
*
*
On Self-Organizing Systems
*
*
*
On Customized Automation
*
*
*
On Critical Theory
*
*
*
On Cultural Identity
*
*
*
On Rational Design
*
*
*
On Empathy
*
*
*
On Innovation and Metaphor
*
*
*
On Globalization
*
*
*
On History
*
*
*
On Henning Larsen
*
*
*
On Norman Foster
*
*
*
On Richard England
*
*
*
On Postmodernism
*
*
*
On Sustainability
*
*
*
On Deconstructivism
*
*
*
On Biotech Architecture
*
*
*
On Vertical Architecture
*
*
*
On Harry Seidler
*
*
*
On Foster and Gehry
*
*
*
On Cyberspace
*
*
*
On Writing
*
*
*
On Australian Architecture
*
*
*
On Virtual Evolution
*
*
*
On The Vertical Garden City
*
*
*
On The Extended Self
*
*
*
* * *
* ON VERTICAL ARCHITECTURE *
*
* * *
* * *
*

Looking at these linked solutions, we can see ample evidence of the sorts of continuities and discontinuities which characterize the birth and life of a new series, and the interactive nature of precedent and innovation. For every specific feature there is always a model, whether it derives from earlier buildings in the same series, as with the use of a glazed skin in the Lever House, or from a confrontation or analogy with a different series, as with the sudden emergence of skycourts in the Jeddah tower. Over and above any specific changes of form, however, a general pattern may be detected in the direction of increasing specificity, possibly reflecting an emergent new order of cultural complexity at a deeper level. It is most apparent in the new series introduced by SOM with their NCB tower and its hanging gardens. No matter how daring the internal spatial and social changes wrought by Frank Lloyd Wright and later architects, the relation of the atrium tower form to its surroundings and its urban status as a detached object remain relatively unaffected. For all its reflective or 'invisible' properties, the same might also be said of the (Mies van der Rohe's) Glass Skyscraper. The NCB Tower could be counted as the most radical departure from precedent this century in that for the first time a secondary ground level was created in the form of a large incision in the building. More than any other previous development this single innovation changed the relation of external to internal space for tall office buildings. No longer were occupants condemned to look down onto a distant and vertigo-inducing ground. Instead, they could enjoy the relative security of a well-planted terra firma at close proximity. That the same incisions and unusual geometry were the product of a direct response to the harsh local climate is also no coincidence, but signifies a new level of exchange between a tall building and the local environment it occupies.

*
*
* From: Architecture and Identity (1st ed). Architectural Press, 1997, pp. 188-189. *
*
*
* * *
*

Supreme achievements of engineering and design, corporate icons, expressions of modernity and civic pride, real-estate bonanzas, familiar and reassuring landmarks, potent symbols, testimonies to the human spirit - whether any or all of these things, skyscrapers arouse more controversy than any other building form.

Love them or hate them, one thing we cannot do is ignore them. And they suddenly seem to be getting a lot bigger and more numerous. After a century in which Chicago and New York remained unchallenged as home to the world's tallest and best known modern towers, many cities around the globe are fiercely competing for the title - nowhere more so than in Asia Pacific, where the crown has already been snatched from America by Kuala Lumpur's twin Petronas Towers, with Shanghai next in line.

If this contest were simply a matter of size and ego, the criticism often aimed at skyscrapers would be well deserved. Yet the race for the clouds obscures the more profound changes taking place in the design and construction of tall buildings involving the creation of whole new genres, and the important issues underlying those changes. Where all large towers were once designed and built more or less the same way, with standard plans and parts, many of the structures built during recent years differ radically both form each other and from anything that went before them. Some are not shaped like towers at all and, like the new genres of skyscraper, are better described more broadly as vertical architecture.

...Significantly, where skyscrapers once consumed enormous amounts of the fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gasses, they are now increasingly designed to minimise energy consumption and will in future also generate a growing share of their own power from renewable sources. Many architects and urbanists now regard tall buildings not so much as forms created in opposition to nature, as they were once perceived, but as essential elements in a sustainable or ecologically friendly strategy for urban design. In particular, they are seen as an important part of the solution to out-of-control urban growth in both the developed and developing world, where the combination of vast megacities with populations numbering tens of millions and a chronic shortage of open land is critical.

*
*
* From: Sky High: Vertical Architecture. Royal Academy of Arts, 2003, p. 13. *
*
*
*
*
Home 1pix Biography 1pix Publications 1pix Design Studios 1pix Exhibitions 1pix Lectures & Seminars 1pix Contact
*
*
*
* Chris Abel *
* * *