Harry Blutstein and Allan Rodger
Governments, industry and the communities are developing a consensus that the current pattern of human activity is ecologically unsustainable, and that this must change.
The paper explores issues that will need to be resolved for a successful sustainable tall building of the Third Millennium. This will not just incorporate sustainable features, like energy efficiency, but a more fundamental change in the systems - technical, economic, organisational - involved in delivering the project, not to mention re-defining the project itself. The role of externalities also needs to be addressed.
Any project is shaped by constraints, which are part of the creative process. In a sustainable building the constraints need to be identified to allow the imaginative solutions to be developed.
To achieve fundamental changes in delivering a tall building project will require strong drivers. These do not exist, as the development of a project is fragmented between the developer and end user. As companies with a deep commitment to sustainable development begin to appreciate that their accommodation represents a significant component of their ecological footprint, then they will need to look more carefully at the supply chain that delivers that accommodation, and seek to influence it to ensure a sustainable outcome.
High buildings and high density living have gone together since the earliest days of urbanisation, though the driving forces leading to such urban form have varied from time to time and place to place. For much of human history security has been a dominant issue shaping the urban environment. Defence of civil society (and its livestock and artefacts) against a hostile and lawless countryside saw the formation of defensible walled cites and sometimes within these there were hostile competing forces (see the tower palaces of northern Italy 1). It could be that the corporate fortresses of the present day are the symbolic successors of these imperial fiefdoms 2 .