March 15, 2005

Wow, that's a tall building!

I have never took the time to really think about how important a skyscraper really was, not only to a city, but to the people who live there.

In Donald McNeill's "Skyscraper geography," a skyscraper holds major importance over a city. The first surprising fact was that the US has only three of the world's 15 tallest buildings. This, of course, I am assuming will change over time. There is so much competition going on, according to McNeill, with who has the tallest/largest skyscraper. These buildings are definitly powerful objects in society.

The World Trade Center gave a different form of importance to society. "...the World Trade Center site provided yet another twist: a skyscraper as monument and memorial." After the fall of the Twin Towers, there was a new awareness: "architects and developers to improve evacutation, fire and structural technologies."

Many skyscrapers were built for the publicity and to gain attention. After reading the section "Knowledge flows in the design," I felt that cities wanted skyscrapers to scream out to people, "Look at me, look at me!" The most important part of this is that it worked. A skyscraper becomes the main view of a city--it's as if it wasn't for a specific skyscraper in a city, a person would not be able to recognize (by looking at it) what that city is. The skyscraper is the main view, these are the buildings in "adverts, in-flight magazines, postcards, and even Hollywood feature films."

Why is there a race for the tallest building in the world? McNeill gives a good explaination, "The skyscraper has always played a role in the representational strategies of financial and political elites to endow their city or nation with projected self-consciousness."

It seems to me that a city is taking on the characteristics of a human. The more beautiful a building is, the more people would want to see it. A city does not want to lack skyscrapers, due to feeling self-conscious. What a way to view the characteristics of a skyscraper! I never would of thought!

Many examples were also given of tall buildings that took place in movies. In Batman, there was the city Gotham and the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz. I completely agree with McNeill that skyscrapers are important parts of any city, even made-up ones.

Posted by Anne Stadler at March 15, 2005 10:37 AM | TrackBack
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