We are living in a new urban age and its most tangible expression is the “supertall” building, megastructures that are dramatically bigger, higher, and more ambitious than any in history. Author, architect, and TED-Resident Stefan Al has worked on some of the largest buildings in the world. He reveals the advancements in engineering, design, and data science that have led to this worldwide boom.
Drawing on examples from the past (the Empire State Building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower) and present (Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, London’s Shard, Shanghai Tower), he describes how the most remarkable skyscrapers have been designed and built. Al explores the ingenious technological innovations in cement, wind resistance, elevator design, and air-conditioning that have made megastructures like the 160-stories-high Burj Khalifa a reality. And he examines the risks of wealth inequality, carbon emissions, and contagion these buildings yield, arguing for a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable built environment for everyone.
Al’s book Supertall: How the World's Tallest Buildings Are Reshaping Our Cities and Our Lives (W. W. Norton) is available for purchase.
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