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Skyscrapers - 01
Skyscrapers

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ON WASHINGTON, D.C. BUILDING HEIGHT RESTRICTIONS

I've been procrastinating this one for a long time. I generally avoid taking stands on controversial local issues in Washington, where I have lived for over four decades, and I am especially uncomfortable being at odds with people I respect and consider friends. — Published 2012.1205

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BASICS - THE SKYSCRAPER TODAY

When it comes to buildings, size matters — more so today than ever before. Look up in the heart of any of the world's major cities and your eyes will likely alight upon a towering, glass-walled structure — if not literally scraping the sky, then certainly pointing in that direction. — Published 2012.0502

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OSCAR NIEMEYER - BRAZILIAN MODERNIST

As the preeminent figure of one of the most innovative national interpretations of architectural Modernism, and a radical critic of orthodox Modernist aesthetic formulae and moralizing ideologies, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer occupies a unique place in the pantheon of great builders. — Published 2012.0201

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HIGH-RISE SUSTAINABILITY

A high-level assessment of the impact of the urban tower on the natural environment would conclude that low land use and possible higher density are the chief advantages, with high energy usage being the chief disadvantage. Concepts of density and of energy usage are relative, and should be examined by comparing high-rise buildings with their low- or mid-rise alternatives. — Published 2012.0104

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LEED FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS

The Empire State Building made headlines recently for achieving LEED Gold certification following a major green retrofit project that will reduce the skyscraper's energy consumption by more than 38 percent. The building's electric chiller plant was rebuilt, electric meters were installed at the tenant level, and all 6,514 window units were removed, refurbished to improve their energy efficiency, and reinstalled. — Published 2011.1012

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ENGINEERING GROUND ZERO ON PBS

The PBS series Nova premiered a powerful show on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, about the reconstruction work currently underway at the site of the World Trade Center disaster.

"Engineering Ground Zero" is now available as streaming video on the PBS web site. And it will be rebroadcast by many public television stations across the United States (check local listings). — Published 2011.0907

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EZRA STOLLER

Many of the finest examples of Modern architecture from the late 1940s to the late 1970s were "made" by a master — not necessarily the architect, but the man who captured the essence of Modern architecture through the lens of his large-format camera: Ezra Stoller. — Published 2011.0223

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NATIONAL AIA AWARDS

On a corner site in Manhattan, within the Greenwich Village Historic District, stands a new 11-story apartment building wrapped in ribbons of glass. The faceted, undulating facade creates a lively contemporary foil to the neighboring masonry structures while reflecting their facades and the greenery of Jackson Square Park.

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, this building is one of 27 projects honored by the American Institute of Architects in its AIA Institute Honor Awards for 2011. — Published 2011.0223

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RIPPLE EFFECT

Your first reaction to seeing Aqua Tower as it commands the Chicago skyline might be, "What happened to that skyscraper?" It looks as if some of its concrete floor fins might have been worn away over years of exposure. Or perhaps some kind of pervasive organism has taken over a sleek glass tower, crawling all over its facade — the Blob meets Howard Roark's Enright Building. — Published 2011.0105

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ONE BRYANT PARK, NEW YORK

In the heart of Manhattan, across from the expansive Bryant Park at 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas, is a landmark new skyscraper — a triple landmark, based on its sustainable and energy-saving design, its crystalline form, and its sheer size. — Published 2010.0707

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