Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

The Changing Skyline: Super- and Mega-Tall Buildings

Issue 1 and Volume 170.

BY JACK J. MURPHY Looking at the skyline across many large metropolitan areas here in the United States and abroad, you will see many construction cranes erecting ever-taller high-rise buildings, which are changing the overall skyline (photo 1). The new tall-building occupancies with distinctive structural designs may be office space, hotel, residential, or mixed occupancies. Many new residential occupancies, however, are tall “pencil” structures that occupy a much smaller lot and include unique features and amenities that may present future challenges for an emergency response. (1) Offsetting floor levels is one unique method of tall structural design. Would you have any stability concerns about an autoexposure fire under an offset? (Photos 1-2 by author.) The Evolution of Tall Buildings As large metropolitan cities became more densely populated, they needed more office space on smaller plots of land. Until 1885, buildings with a large base footprint did not exceed five stories.…

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