The Increasing Demand on High-Rise Buildings and Their History

Manuel Correia Guedes and Gustavo Cantuaria


Large-scale urban centres have entered the twenty-first century with a paradox to discuss. As the cities touch the skies with their growing skyscrapers, they also reach out to attract and embrace as many people as possible. Aiming to become an important financial, commercial, cultural, technological, or touristic place, and therefore attract investments, they need to grow. The more the cities grow, more people are needed to make it grow. With more people, more infrastructures are necessary. In this on-going trend, tall buildings appear both as protagonists and antagonists.

On the positive side, tall buildings may claim to be environmentally friendly in the process of urban densification, as they take up minimum space (on the urban plan), help mobility due to proximity to public transportation, and maximise the potential use of building installations. On the other hand, they also raise suspicion because of characteristics such as deep plan, lack of natural ventilation, urban shadows, sealed glass facades, solar reflection, and glare. In addition, arguably the biggest dispute is overcoming the perception of being vanity icons, driven by power and greed—into a more humane view, based on sustainable habitats. Shifting values is indeed the essence and core of the urban agenda of this new millennium.

Tall buildings traditionally resonate with domination, individualism, self-centredness, and egocentricity. That is passe, demode, and cliche. This new era is not one of looking solely within, but soulfully outwards. The ultimate challenge of tall buildings is one of collaboration. It’s a symbiotic relationship, one of integrating the

M.C. Guedes (*)

Departamento de Engenharia Civil e Arquitectura,

Instituto Superior Tecnico - Universidade de Lisboa, Gabinete 2.67, Av. Rovisco Pais, Lisbon 1049-001, Portugal e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

G. Cantuaria

Faculdade de Arquitectura, Universidade de Brasilia, Brasil

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 A. Sayigh (ed.), Sustainable High Rise Buildings in Urban Zones, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-17756-4_5

natural environment with the built environment in the most thoughtful and responsible manner. A genuine sustainable agenda.

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