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Smith + Gill Architect on Super 'Scrapers

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Chicago architect Robert Forest of local firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture appeared on an English language Chinese radio program recently to offer his expertise on the rising number of super tall skyscrapers like his firm's 3,280-foot Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, set to be the next world's tallest when it's completed.

The interview for China Radio International English, which was posted today online, is a fascinating listen, in which Forest, whose partner Adrian Smith at the Chicago firm also happens to be behind Dubai's 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa, discusses the physical and practical limitations of this new breed of cloud-piercing structures and some of the innovative approaches architects are now taking with them.

"We're even exploring in really tall buildings bringing that public space up into the buildings so you have a non-traditional building that has spaces that the occupiers or tenants can go to within the building that act as parks in the sky," he says in the broadcast. Sound like a sci-fi sky city to anyone else?

Other thought-provoking considerations Forest mentions include natural factors like wind that come into play at higher altitudes, elevator efficiency, and financial restraints. And the trend shows no signs of slowing down, though here in Chicago we haven't heard much talk about super scrapers since Spire plans crumbled. But who knows what the future holds. While we might not be directly engaging in the architectural pissing contest that's now happening in other parts of the world, we do, after all, have a reputation as tall building pioneers to uphold.
·The Science Behind Super Tall Buildings [CRI English]
·Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Designs World's Tallest Skyscraper [Curbed Chicago]
·A Vision of Future Supertall and Megatall Skyscrapers [Curbed Chicago]