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Old July 31st, 2011, 03:40 AM   #1
vachej
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It's the plan, not the elevation, that matters.

I fear I detect a most disturbing trend in skyscraper design. More than
ever it would seem the would-be high-rise designer emphasizes height above plan,
bulk rather than beauty is his canon of aesthetics, the look of the
the building from the outside rather than the sense of the building from
inside. Now why is that ? Why always this tendency toward the
humongous rather than the humanistic ? The skyscraper really,
is nothing more than a strategy to multiply a single plan. You
stack up one floor again and again, in order to get more use out
of a given lot. Its understandable that along the way this
would get all mixed up, that the purpose would begin to degrade
into a mere question of size, of who has the most length, that
we'd end up making a monkey out of the whole enterprise.
All right. The time has come now contemplate the inside.
Lets see what architects can do artistically, aesthetically for
the poor folks who have to spend 8 hours a day in these things.
.
Accordingly I propose that a thread or really a subcategory
should be started as a repository for skyscraper plans, for
showing how and why a design is good in plan, how it
will really serve the needs of the occupants, will be a place
of refuge, of serenity, constitute a pleasant place to
work with others, to stimulate thought, to intensify
productivity as well as pleasure.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 10:28 AM   #2
vachej
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The atrium is a most hospitable configuration for public buildings.
With reinforced concrete you could invision a skyscraper as
as series not merely of repeating floors, but of stacked atriums.
I cannot understand why no one else has thought of this.
The stacked atrium skyscraper would give all the charm of
the atrium while allowing you to get the high densities of
towers. As an example Ive put together an atrium office
that repeats every three stories. Furthermore theres no
need to keep each story on the same level. Subtle level
shifts as you turn the corner lend interest, and intensify
the vital sense of prospect and refuge:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/treehou...n/photostream/

Last edited by vachej; July 31st, 2011 at 10:12 PM.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 05:23 PM   #3
Gherkin
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I find it hard to believe that a skyscraper with stacked atria has not been designed before. The gherkin in London, for instance, has atria in every floor, which are rotated about the radial plan:

http://plus.maths.org/issue42/featur...kin_inside.jpg
http://wiki.uelceca.net/20072008/fil..._floorplan.jpg

I also find your image a little disturbing, it is based on an interesting idea but it is soulless, a really uninteresting space to work in, the architecture needs to be improved to make it an inspiring place to spend your 9 to 5. The image does not really show something that will 'intensify the vital sense of prospect and refuge'

And you talk about it not as 'stacked floors'... but surely each atria would contain a few identical stacked floors, which are themselves repeated upwards throughout the skyscraper?
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Old August 1st, 2011, 10:07 PM   #4
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Thanks Gherkin for your insights and criticisms. As the great patron saint
of architecture, Louis Sullivan admonished, every building, every set of
plans has defects and we must so accept that fact, must cheerfully accept
just criticisms where they are offered.

And indeed as you point out, each atria is nothing more than repeating
floors. Really for an office tower, all is repetition. In fact really all
I did was sketch out a little office space, surround it with pillars, and
then stack each into bays. I then grouped the bays which you can
do in Revit, it allows you to nest things ad libitum. I had a group of
stacked bays for the length of the atrium, one for each corner, and
one connecting the corners. Its all nothing more than a nesting of very
simple designs. Nothing more than a way of grouping office workers
in little cubicles that split the difference between being completely
exposed, completely entombed in offices. When youre seated you
have more or less a private area. When you stand up all is connected.

Youre very much correct that what Ive drawn is devoid of ornament.
I will post later an example of how you could add decorative elements
to the basic forms. For now I just wanted to show 'schematically'
the simple idea of the stacked atria tower:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/treehou...n/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/treehou...n/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/treehou...7627208578833/

Last edited by vachej; August 1st, 2011 at 10:16 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 09:00 AM   #5
vachej
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View across the work atrium with rudimentary decorative fretwork:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/treehou...n/photostream/

Again nothing special here, just basic Frank Lloyd Wright 'subdivision of space'
type ornamentation of structure to get us pointed in the right dirction.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 10:14 PM   #6
Gherkin
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I think you should be more ambitious than a 3 storey atrium - how about something like 5 - 10 storeys? Something impressive that can also be stacked into a skyscraper design. And if the atria in the building are to be focal points then why are there so many huge columns blocking the view!? There are ways around this - and most new office buildings are devoid of columns. People, especially in offices, prefer open plan. You can then play with all sorts of things like bridges or escalators across the atria (think Lloyds Building London), and perhaps some form of landscaped area (trees etc) at the base of each atrium.

I'm still curious to know if a stacked atria has been applied to a skyscraper design before. I think the problem would be service cores, the stairwells, lift cores etc. Potentially it could be done if the service cores were either side of the atria, like The Index in Dubai


The open plan office spaces with stacked atria could then sit between the two cores.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 10:15 AM   #7
vachej
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The firm of Robert AM Stern and Associates has built a tower in
Philadelphia, the ComCast Center which incorporates three, three story
atriums. The thing is these atria are empty, put to the edge
of the building, failing to appreciate that atria only work
when they form the very heart of the building, the empty
space around which the hub of life in a building turns.
And so at the risk of sounding arrogant I have to say that
I seem to be the only one so far proposing to build atria based
towers preserving the atriums form and function,
and yet as some waggish architect once put it, 'better an honest arrogance
than a hypocritical humility'

http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com...pload_id=12642
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Old August 5th, 2011, 03:17 PM   #8
Gherkin
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A quick Google and Heron Tower in London has stacked atria:

http://www.constructionreviewonline....rnational.html

Quote:
The building will provide office space set out as ten three-storey villages and one six-storey village. Each village will operate as an individual, self-contained unit.

"Heron Tower became the tallest building in the London in April 2010." The richly textured northern elevation of the tower reveals the "villages" and the stacked atria

You can see clearly the stacked atria on this building also: http://www.kpmb.com/index.asp?navid=30&fid1=0&fid2=28


Infact, this project was pretty much what I was talking about on my last post
http://www.metaefficient.com/archite...-daylight.html
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