Tall, supertall (heights of 300 meters or 984 feet or taller) and even megatall (at least 600 meters or 1,968 feet) buildings are being added to city skylines around the world. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign architecture professor Abbas Aminmansour specializes in the design of steel and reinforced concrete structures and of tall buildings. He is one of four Fellows selected globally in 2022 by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and a member and past chair of the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings. He spoke with News Bureau arts and humanities editor Jodi Heckel about the challenges of building supertall.
Why do developers build tall and supertall buildings?
The primary reason is the need for space, both residential and commercial, in urban areas. Globally, about 10 million people move to urban areas each month. Some very large cities don’t have much land available to build on, driving developers to build tall, supertall or even megatall buildings. There have even been cases when project owners purchased what are known as the excess development rights from adjacent buildings to build a taller building on their site. And there are the personality aspects of some developers and occupants to want to build taller than the competition or to have a condo or office address in a supertall building.