Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 

CTBUH Reviews

The CTBUH reviews books and exhibitions from around the world related to tall buildings and the urban environment.  Selected reviews are also included within the CTBUH Journal.  To see a list of upcoming tall building events see the calendar.


Book Review: Building Seagram
Phyllis Lambert (2013)

In Building Seagram, Phyllis Lambert describes not only the architectural project, but also the decision-making process that preceded the construction and the impact the building had on the lives of New Yorkers.

Book Review: Engineering Guide: Fire Safety for Very Tall Buildings
Society of Fire Protection Engineers & International Code Council (2013)

This guide discusses a broad range of fire safety issues, providing valuable insights into goals and objectives, common approaches, regulatory mandates in various countries and more.

Book Review: Dominique Perrault: Inspiration and Process in Architecture
F. Serrazanetti & M. Schubert (eds.) (2013)

Featuring Dominique Perrault's competition projects that were never built: the Francois Pinault Foundation in Boulougne-Billancourt, France and the City of Culture, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Book Review: The Future of the City - Tall Buildings and Urban Design
K. Al-Kodmany and M.M. Ali (2013)

“Sustainability” is a commonly, perhaps overly used word these days. The authors of this book explore its meaning and come to the conclusion that density, compactness, and resource conservation will sustain our world.

Book Review: Mori Building - The Making of Vertical Garden Cities
Minoru Mori (2012)

“Mori Building: The Making of Vertical Garden Cities” views the development of Mori Building Company, along with revolutionary urban development concepts from Minoru Mori, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Book Review: Large Housing Estates: Ideas, Rise, Fall and Recovery
Frank Wassenberg (2013)

Frank Wassenberg’s study of the Bijlmermeer, a 13,000-unit, 31-building development constructed between 1968 and 1975 on the outskirts of Amsterdam, has a familiar ring.

Conference: Can Skyscrapers be Sustainable?
MIPIM, Palais des festivals, Cannes - March 13, 2013

We should not confuse height alone with innovation. This was the essence of Winy Maas’ opening remarks at MIPIM, the property industry’s annual jamboree at Cannes, France.

Book Review: Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook
Adam Frampton, Jonathan D Solomon & Clara Wong (2012)

It is a well known fact that you can walk for miles across Hong Kong without ever touching the external ground plane, this multi-layered pedestrian network,  is comprehensively mapped out and explored in Cities Without Ground.


Book Review: Natural Ventilation in High-Rise Office Buildings
Antony Wood & Ruba Salib (2012)

The CTBUH’s Natural Ventilation in High-Rise Office Buildings is an important resource for anyone aspiring to respond to these challenges, and who is seeking to develop the high-rise typology in ever more sustainable and relevant ways.

Book Review: Wind Wizard, Alan G. Davenport and the Art of Wind Engineering
Siobhan Roberts (2013)

Mr. Davenport created what we now recognize as the boundary layer wind tunnel by borrowing from other industries and technologies. The book is a fascinating read about the development of what we now understand as wind engineering.

Book Review: Kohn Pedersen Fox: Architecture and Urbanism, 2003–2012
Anita Franchetti & David Niles (eds.) (2012)

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates has distinguished itself through its rich portfolio of skyscraper designs. This, the fourth volume of their work, covers only the last nine of the firm’s 37-year history.

Book Review: The Architects of La Défense
Simon Texier (2011)

The Architects of La Défense looks at the fascinating story of the architects who came to shape one of the most ambitious architectural projects of the 20th century.

Book Review: 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture
Richard Weston (2011)

“100 Ideas that Changed Architecture” focuses on 100 concepts, theories and innovations that fundamentally shaped modern architecture.  One page of text and one page of images are devoted to each idea.

Exhibition Review: Towers and Skyscrapers. From Babel to Dubai.
La Caixa Foundation, Barcelona

This exhibition evokes the human urge to rise to challenges and overcome physical constraints. These architectural forms reflect humankind’s fascination with verticality.

Exhibition Review: Skyscraper Art and Architecture Against Gravity
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

MCA's exhibit spotlights the investigation of skyscrapers by artists from around the world, emphasizing the impact tall buildings can have on society and our collective memory.

Book Review: Ken Yeang Eco Skyscraper Volume 2
Lucy Bullivant (ed.) (2011)

This book is an update to his “Reinventing the Skyscraper” of a decade ago. Current projects include ecocells that provide light and ventilation to below-grade spaces.

Book Review: Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings
Aurora Fernandez Per, Javier Mozas & Javier Arpa (2012)

Density has become the new, desirable component in housing projects, both public and private. The projects illustrated in this book are creative, diverse and fill a need.

Book Review: Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings
Bungale S. Taranath (2011)

This book mostly discusses the hunger of today's cities - the energy required to keep them in motion.

Book Review: Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings
Bungale S. Taranath (2011)

Following up on his Reinforced Concrete Design of Tall Buildings (2009), Taranath now presents Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings which presents all you ever wanted to know about steel and composite structures.

Book Review: The Heights – Anatomy of a Skyscraper
Kate Ascher (2011)

If there ever was a book that might be called “Skyscrapers 101,” this is it. The Heights offers an introduction into the nuts and bolts of the tall building, covering all aspects of building it, living in it, supporting it and dreaming it.

Book Review: Designing Tall Buildings – Structure as Architecture
Mark Sarkisian (2011)

Those who are not afraid of mathematical equations, technical graphs and diagrams, but lack the basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of designing tall buildings should check out Designing Tall Buildings.

Book Review: The Urban Towers Handbook
Eric Firley & Julie Gimbal (2011)

One of the reasons why it is quite hard to make general statements about tall buildings is because they come in so many shapes. Arguably, every tall building is different, given their urban context, ambitions and the time in which they were designed.

Book Review: Triumph of the City
Edward Glaeser (2011)

If you were looking for a book which puts unbridled support into words for the thought that a city, or actually urban density, is good for mankind, then this is it. Offering many examples, thoughts and ideas, Glaeser, a Professor of Economics at Harvard, attempts to show that success for a city is tied to growth.

Book Review: High-rise Living in Asian Cities
Belinda Yuen & Anthony Yeh (2011)

One reason why reading about residential tall building development in Asia is so fascinating is that the context in which tall buildings are developed is so fundamentally different compared to how these buildings are shaped in Western cities.

Book Review: Children & Their Urban Environment
Claire Freeman & Paul Tranter (2011)

Especially in a western context, a dense urban environment, such as a city center, is generally viewed as a place more appropriate for adults as families typically prefer the relatively safe and more suitable environment of the suburb for raising children.

Book Review: Imagining Ground Zero
Suzanne Stephens (2004)

Imagining Ground Zero presents the commissioned, unofficial and unrequested designs for the new World Trade Center. As such, it offers the official proposals, the five schemes considered by the city and other groups involved in the decision.

Book Review: Man on Wire
Philippe Petit (2008)

On a lighter note, on the morning of August 7, 1974, young French funambulist (one who performs on a tightrope) Philippe Petit illegally rigged 200 feet of steel cable between the two World Trade Center towers and walked between them repeatedly, lying down at one point and making eight crossings in all.

Book Review: Divided We Stand. A Biography of New York City’s World Trade Center
Eric Darton (2001)

Darton focuses on the strong personalities involved, and especially the political, financial and real estate power play which surrounded the development of the former World Trade Center.

Book Review: Twin Towers. The Life of New York City’s World Trade Center
Angus Kress Gillespie (1999)

One journalist who did write about the towers prior to 9/11 was Angus Gillespie. Balancing between popular journalism and academic research, he penned his research and interpretations of it in a book called Twin Towers: The Life of New York City’s World Trade Center.

Book Review: The Flatiron. The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It
Alice Sparbeg Alexiou (2010)

The story captures the growth and spirit of the city, its slumps, its businesses and the structure of the buildings themselves. By introducing the many people involved, by describing the construction and the materials and by including the human side of the story, the building itself is being brought to life and is given a place in the history of tall buildings.    

Book Review: Designing High-density Cities for Social & Environmental Sustainability
Edward Ng (2010)

Designing new structures in high-density urban areas has many challenges. This book contains articles from urban planners and architects that are meeting these challenges head-on. The flavor of this book is of sustainable environmental issues for tropical cities, although other aspects for temperate climates can also be applied.    

Exhibition Review: Sullivan's Idea
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Until January 2, 2011

Louis Henry Sullivan was one of Chicago's most famous but misunderstood architects. Curated by Tim Samuelson and designed by Chris Ware, the exhibit is a retrospective of Sullivan’s career.  While this exhibit highlights his mastery for his original, organic ornamentation in terra cotta, cast iron, and metalwork, it also illustrates his mature skyscraper style.

Book Review: Marina City. Bertrand Goldberg's Urban Vision
Igor Marjanovic and Katerina Ruedi Ray (2010)

The Marina City complex in Chicago is truly a modern development even in today’s terms. Designed by Bertrand Goldberg, it defined the term “urban pioneer” in its progressiveness. It was designed as multi-use and is located on a former industrial/commercial site along the Chicago River. This book also includes the history of Mr. Goldberg’s career up to and after Marina City.

Exhibition Review: Mine the Gap
John David Mooney Foundation, Chicago, May 15–22, 2010

What to do with a big hole in the ground? This was the focus of the 2010 Chicago Prize Competition called MINE THE GAP. The competition examined one of the most visible scars left after the collapse of the real estate market in Chicago; a 70-foot deep and 86-foot wide hole that was to be the foundation for Santiago Calatrava's spiraling tower.

Book Review: Skyscraper. The Politics and Power of Building New York City in the Twentieth Century
Benjamin Sitton Flowers (2009)

This book, whose topic can only be guessed by its subtitle, is a study of the motives and backgrounds of those who commissioned three of New York City’s most iconic tall buildings: the Empire State Building, the Seagram Tower and the World Trade Center.

China Prophecy Exhibition Review: China Prophecy: Shanghai
The Skyscraper Museum, New York, 24 June, 2009 – 11 April, 2010

Tall building development in Asia remains a core focus of the Skyscraper Museum. A recent major exhibition held a lens over two cities: New York and Hong Kong. A joint lecture by the Chicago-based firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP on the design of towers in Shanghai therefore served as an insightful postscript to this novel exhibition.

Reinforced Concrete Design of Tall Buildings Book Review: Reinforced Concrete Design of Tall Buildings
Bungale S. Taranath (2009)

Increasingly, reinforced concrete is the material of choice for the structure of tall buildings worldwide. However the unique geometries and rigorous performance requirements of modern high-rise buildings necessitate strong familiarity with the principles underlying reinforced concrete design and an understanding of the behavior of the material.

Urban Design Book Review: Urban Design
Edited by Alex Krieger and William S. Saunders (2009)

This book is a collection of essays. The contributors are international and include academics and practitioners. Fumihiko Maki is based in Tokyo. Wouter Vanstiphout is based in Rotterdam. Denise Scott Brown and John Kaliski provide an American viewpoint. Each of these and the many other contributors provide an insight into what is Urban Design.

Green Metropolis Book Review: Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability
David Owen (2009)

If you are looking for arguments why tall buildings can be good for sustainability, David Owen’s Green Metropolis is your source. In the book, Owen praises living in urban densities as the most sustainable way of living.

Building the Business of Architecture: The Burnham Brothers and Chicago in the Golden Twenties Exhibition Review: Building the Business of Architecture: The Burnham Brothers and Chicago in the Golden Twenties
DePaul University Art Museum, Chicago, IL, 9 July - 16 September, 2009

A small and possibly overlooked exhibit is the ‘Business of Architecture’ at the DePaul Art Museum. It may be overlooked because this museum is hidden within a university and the subjects, Hubert and Daniel Burnham, Jr., are not major figures.

Big, Bold, Visionary: Chicago Considers the Next Century Exhibition Review: Big, Bold, Visionary: Chicago Considers the Next Century
Chicago Tourism Center, Chicago, IL, 4 September - 11 October, 2009

This exhibit in the Tourism Center is a continuation of the Burnham and Bennett’s ‘1909 Plan of Chicago’ centennial celebration. Instead of educating the public on the 1909 Plan, this exhibit thinks ‘outside of the box’ by asking current Chicago architects to design for Chicago’s future.

Eco Master Planning Book Review: Eco Master Planning
Ken Yeang, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated (2009)

When talking about town planning in the first of his ten books on architecture, the Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio proposes the following on site selection: The ancients sacrificed the beasts which were feeding in those places where towns of fixed camps were being placed and they used to inspect the livers.

High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, Third Edition Book Review: High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, Third Edition
Geoff Craighead, Butterworth-Heinemann (2009)

Just when you thought you knew it all after having read the second edition of High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, the author Geoff Craighead managed to expand the topic to a whopping 664 pages in the fully updated and expanded third edition of the book.

Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper Book Review: Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper
Scott Johnson, Balcony Press (2008)

This new book by California-based architect Scott Johnson is a book about architecture. Specifically, it is a book about the Tall Building prototype that evolved from roots in Chicago and New York City to encompass the entire globe in the 21st century. Professionals in the urban environment will find this book worthwhile.

Taipei 101    Book Review: Taipei 101   
Georges Binder, The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. (2008)

he theater of Tall Building design has shifted from North America to Asia. The newest World’s Tallest Buildings are now in Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Taipei. The current (but soon to be eclipsed) world’s tallest building is the TAIPEI 101 in Taipei, Taiwan. This new book by Georges Binder displays this tower and its accompanying complex.

 Chicago Model City Exhibit Exhibition Review: Chicago Model City Exhibit
Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago, IL, 11 June - 20 November 2009

Inspired by the models of Shanghai and Beijing, the Chicago Architecture Foundation has organized the creation of a 1”=50’ physical model of Chicago, now on exhibit in the lobby of 224 S. Michigan. Besides the model there are posters and videos to explain the planning issues that have created this metropolis.

 Skydeck and the Ledge at Willis Tower Exhibition Review: Skydeck and the Ledge at Willis Tower
Willis Tower, Chicago, IL, Open 9am to 10pm daily

The 103 floor of the Willis Tower is the observation floor. It is known as the Skydeck and now includes the Ledge. This new attraction has cantilevered glass floors, walls, and roofs over Wacker Drive, 103 floors below. There is no other place like it.  The facts about the renamed Willis (from Sears) Tower are still staggering.

High Rises: Social Living Book Review: Highrises: Social Living
Agata Losantos and Ana G. Canizares, LOFT Publications (2007)

This is a very interesting and well-illustrated book about multi-family projects. The 26 projects illustrated are mostly European (17), with some from N. America (5), Asia (2), and Australia (2). This seems to imply that the Europeans have a better grasp of Social Living in multi-family complexes.

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe          Exhibition Review: Buckminster Fuller: Starting With The Universe
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA, 14 March - 5 July, 2009

The name ‘Buckminster Fuller’ has become a household name. We recognize him as the person who designed geodesic domes and wanted to cover Manhattan with one. Some of us may remember that he created a strange looking car that never caught on in Detroit’s auto industry. In this exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art...

The Invention of the European Tower Exhibition Review: The Invention of the European Tower
Pavillon de l'Arsenal, Paris, France, 14 May - 4 October 2009

As Europe is best known for its historic architecture, the modern skyscraper is not a vernacular European typology. By focusing on tall buildings in nine European cities - Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rotterdam and Vienna – this exhibition outlines the history of the European tower.

Ecology.Design.Synergy Exhibition Review: Ecology.Design.Synergy
Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA, 18 March - 17 May 2009

Green Technology has been with us for many years now. Some projects are more ‘green’ than others, as rated by LEEDS in the United States and other rating systems throughout the world. Instead of thinking within a rating system this exhibition of works by Behnisch Architekten and TranSolar looks at the holistic approach to building design.

Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture Exhibition Review: Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture
Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK, 19 February  - 24 May 2009

Le Corbusier (1887-1965) has been celebrated in "The Art of Architecture" exhibition in Liverpool, Fall 2008 and in the Barbican, London Spring 2009.  Many of the models had come from his own studio and had been touched and crafted by 'Corb' and his assistants. There is a fascination in seeing his spectacles.

The American Skyscraper 1850-1940: A Celebration of Height Book Review: The American Skyscraper 1850-1940: A Celebration of Height
Joseph J. Korom, Jr., Branden Books (2008)

This book is an encyclopedia of early skyscrapers in America. Well written in a chronological-order style, it presents a clear story of the progression from midrise to what we now call ‘Skyscraper’. The author, Joseph J. Korom, Jr., has researched a broad array of American skyscrapers to compile 287 buildings into this book’s 472 pages.

MULTIPLE CITY – Urban Concepts 1908 | 2008 Exhibition Review: MULTIPLE CITY – Urban Concepts 1908 | 2008
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany, 4 December 2008 - 1 March 2009

The “MULTIPLE CITY” exhibition presented current urban developments worldwide as mirrored in central urban concepts of the past 100 years.  Their juxtaposition and interrelationship with leading historical and contemporary ideas illustrate and explain the complex and multi-layered developments of urban planning.

The Skyscraper and the City: Design, Technology, and Innovation

Book Review: The Skyscraper and the City: Design, Technology, and Innovation
Lynn S. Beedle, Mir M. Ali, and Paul J. Armstrong, The Edwin Mellen Press (2007)

It is a rare occasion when a book is published whose contents can truly be defined as a ‘life’s work’. Such is the case however in ‘The Skyscraper and the City’, which presents a compendium of the work of the late Lynn Beedle.


Vertical Cities: Hong Kong | New York Exhibition Review: Vertical Cities: Hong Kong | New York
The Skyscraper Museum, New York, USA, 16 July 2008 - May 2009

The typology of the skyscraper spawned from a once unlikely collusion of technological milestones.  It has become a multifaceted solution to congestion and dispersion alike and an icon on which cities like Hong Kong and New York now base their identity.  What was once endemic to a few select metropolises along the Great Lakes.