In the late 20th century this scenario, the skyscraper as mini-metropolis became a portent of doom, a symbol of man’s overreaching, an echo of the hubris of Babel, from The Towering Inferno (1974) to Die Hard (1988). J.G. Ballard in High Rise (1975) imagined the urban tower as a post-apocalyptic nightmare. The image of the high rise was devastated by its associations with social housing and societal collapse, the isolated tower in an urban wasteland.
And then came 9/11, an attack on architecture as the symbol of US hegemony. 9/11 could have killed the high rise for ever. But, instead, the skyscraper roared back as the default setting for luxury living.
The 829-metre Burj Khalifa in Dubai smashed all records. But from London’s 310-meter Shard to the 632-meter Shanghai Tower, super-tall buildings (classified 300 meters or over) are shooting up – with apartments on their highest floors. The skyscraper has gone from corporate symbol to a building type which relies on pre-selling its highest apartments to fund its construction.
London’s most potent symbol of the rise of high rise is the Shard, designed by Genoese architect Renzo Piano, which will house Europe’s highest apartments.Page 2 of 7 | Prev Page | Next Page