It’s never just a fire if it’s in a skyscraper, is it? It has to be an inferno.
Skyscrapers might represent the height of lavishness and offer incredible views, but they’re death traps all the same.
Except that they’re not, really. Not anymore. With every inferno, earthquake and terrorist attack over the last half-century, every new landmark architectural brief, building technology has got better and better. Though comparisons to 70s disaster films are expected, high rise no longer needs to be seen as a shrine to all the bullshit in the world since the design has come to the rescue.
Today’s tall buildings aren’t just silhouetting on the skyline. They have scenery far beyond their panoramic views. This is excellent since with rising urbanization, and the rise of the megacity, plenty of us will probably end up living in one.
Bad by design
When it comes to skyscrapers, a design disaster has been the father of invention. It’s due to horrific earthquakes in Japan and San Francisco that in any quake today, the 25th floor of a modern skyscraper is one of the safest places to be. While the building sways instead of collapsing, you will be very safe from falling debris and stampedes of scared people in the street.
Since 9/11, engineers and architects have worked harder than ever to enhance fire safety and evacuation possibilities. Where one of the issues in tall buildings has been firefighter access, whose hoses will usually only reach 50ft, this is now a huge consideration in any new skyscraper building project.
The new Freedom Tower, on the site just north of the Twin Towers, has a staircase for emergency crews. Protected and pressurized by 3ft. concrete walls, it runs through the very heart of the building, guaranteeing firefighters have access enough to handle the flames in good time.