Skyscrapers have been long part of urban cityscapes. They are typically found in busy and dense urban areas and are considered especially convenient for commercial and business areas.
Today, skyscrapers are an increasingly common sight where land is expensive, as in the centers of big cities, because they provide such a high ratio of rentable floor space per unit area of land.
History of High Rise
With our growing technological pace it is hard to imagine that the first skyscrapers were built in the 1880s! Although high rise apartments of over 10 stories have been found in Ancient Roman civilisations. The structural definition of the word skyscraper was refined later by architectural historians, based on engineering developments of the 1880s that had enabled construction of tall multi-story buildings. This definition was based on the steel skeleton as opposed to constructions of load-bearing masonry.
The American technological revolution of 1880 to 1890 saw a burst of creativity in architecture and civil structure technology. It produced a wave of new inventions that helped architects to build higher than ever before: Bessemer steel, formed into I-sections in the new rolling mills which enabled taller and more flexible frame design than the cast iron of the previous era; the newly-patented sprinkler head allowed buildings to escape the strict, 23-metre height limit, which was imposed to control the risk of fire; and the patenting of AC electricity allowed elevators to be electrically powered and rise to ten or more stories.
Need for High Rise
As urbanisation becomes a key aspect of modern living, the need for space is essential. Cities find it far more convenient to build vertically than to spread horizontally. This is a key factor in managing city infrastructure and makes it easier for the governing bodies to manage the demands of a growing population.
The design and construction of skyscrapers involves creating safe, habitable spaces in very tall buildings. The buildings must support their weight, resist wind and earthquakes, and protect occupants from fire. Yet they must also be conveniently accessible, even on the upper floors, and provide utilities and a comfortable climate for the occupants. The problems posed in skyscraper design are considered among the most complex encountered given the balances required between economics, engineering, and construction management.
In recent years the term Sustainability has turned from a trend to a necessity. Sustainability in the context of high rise buildings includes the built and natural environments, including the performance of structures, types of materials, construction practices, absolute minimal use of materials and natural resources, energy within the structure, and a holistically integrated building systems approach.
Sustainability covers economic benefit, resource efficiency, environmental protection and social development. Well developed building codes are now geared towards sustainability. It is common practice for local and central government to build committees to provide sustainability and environmental codes. These codes must keep in mind both sustenance and business in mind. The LEED certification is an internationally recognised green building standard that has found great acceptance around the globe.