The Future of Tall Buildings

Architects' Datafile November 2021

Do tall buildings have a future, in the context of Covid and climate change?

Designers sit at a crossroads – will tall structures continue to be a major global focus for investment in the difficult context that developers now face? What is the realistic case for widespread urban tall building development post-Covid, in a world struggling to tackle climate change? We surveyed architects to find out their views, homing in on some of the key factors facing designers of tall buildings in the coming years.

One of the most impactful recent changes which looks set to continue is the move to an emphasis on mixed use rather than purely commercial space in a post-pandemic future. Our survey bore this out, respondents saying tall buildings cement the trend by being predominantly mixed use. The survey also looked at how the Grenfell tragedy has affected traditional approaches to ‘tall’ buildings in the UK.

With other issues including China restricting tall building design, there are clear challenges for architects in this sector (who include UK architectural practices with a presence overseas). The results contain revealing findings on this key future design issue.

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