Building Tall: China on the Rise; NYC No Slouch

Charting a Year of Skyscraper Construction

Visual Capitalist has a couple interesting (and, appropriately, visual) articles I wanted to share. The most recent, “Upward Momentum: Charting a Year of Skyscraper Construction,” includes the graph above as an example of how Southeast Asia (and China, especially) are coming on strong in high-rise building. However, it also notes “A New Era of American Skyscrapers,” in which it says the U.S. is embracing taller buildings again after a 20-odd-year lull. “Last year alone, the U.S. added 14 new skyscrapers into the mix, particularly in New York City (NYC), where construction cranes dot the horizon. In the past decade, NYC has added 25 new skyscrapers to its iconic skyline,” the source reports.

As Visual Capitalist shows and explains in “A Century of New York City’s Evolving Skyline,” this NYC trend is showing no signs of slowing down: “Between now and 2022, 44 skyscraper projects are expected to be completed in the United States, with the vast majority being built in the Big Apple.” This second article delves much further into the NYC skyline, with a bit of history and forecasting.

Would Wood Be Good?

Of all the recent advances in tall-building construction, perhaps the most counterintuitive is the nascent move toward wood as the primary material for high-rise towers. Yes, wood construction is environmentally friendly. It comes from trees that trap atmospheric carbon dioxide (a gas that, most scientists say, is the cause of manmade climate change); it’s a renewable resource; and, according to experts, the manufacturing process for wooden building products emits less carbon than that for any other material used in construction.

But, wood isn’t as strong as steel and concrete, right? And, an even bigger concern: wood burns. It’s not hard to imagine a giant timber tower being quickly devoured by flames. It’s an image that’s hard to shake.

A recent article posted on the website Fast Company, however, may put these fears to rest. In it, author Jesus Diaz tells of Mjøstårnet, an 18-story, 265-ft.-tall project being built in Brumunddal, Norway, that will soon be the world’s tallest all-wood building. With the help of a five-part mini-documentary produced by construction company Moelven, we learn that the latest engineered-wood building materials are both strong and fire-resistant. We also learn of innovative construction techniques being employed on this jobsite.

It’s not likely that wood will replace steel and concrete in every future high-rise project. But, it does appear to be a viable option for many types of buildings.

thyssenkrupp CEOs Take Themselves Out to the Ballgame

thyssenkrupp Elevator recently inked a deal with the Atlanta Braves to establish its thyssenkrupp Americas complex, including what will be the tallest elevator test tower in the U.S., on property just north of downtown Atlanta. Housing more than 800 employees, the new complex will be within a stone’s throw of SunTrust Park, home of the National Baseball League’s Braves. Company executives took the opportunity to watch a Braves game when they were in town for the announcement, and Communications Specialist Dennis Van Milligan captured this video of thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck and thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas CEO Rich Hussey taking in some of the action, being welcomed by the announcer, and checking themselves out on the jumbotron!