21 August 2011

Supertall! ~ Skyscraper Museum Goes Higher!

Justin Davidson writes Higher in New York magazine about the Skyscraper Museum's latest exhibit, Supertall!
"A decade ago, the destruction of the World Trade Center briefly made skyscrapers seem like brontosaurs, too huge and fragile to survive; why offer fresh targets? The whole endeavor seemed insane. It’s not, though. There are now 47 buildings (complete or under construction) that are taller than the Empire State, plus the newly ­announced Kingdom Tower. “Supertall!,” a burst of excited clarity in the tiny but ambitious Skyscraper Museum, makes the logic clear. Any one skyscraper may spring from vanity and bluster (generous vices that also bequeathed us the pyramids of Giza), but the urge for height is growing more intense, and it is pushing architects and builders to spellbinding levels of invention and, yes, beauty. Let emirs erect ozone-scrapers on the dunes for their self-glorification. The lessons learned there will be applied in China, which needs as many as 50,000 new high-rises -- ten Manhattans -- by 2025, for the hundreds of millions of people pouring in from the countryside. China has nowhere to go but up… and up, and up."
Not a museum for pedestrian-calibre buildings, the curators insisted...
"To distinguish the rarified air of the super- from the merely very tall, the Museum made the benchmark 380 meters or 1,250 feet -- the height of the Empire State Building -- rather than the common standard of 300 meters."

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