02 June 2003
Today sees the opening of the exhibition Sky High: Vertical Architecture at the Royal Academy of Art, curated by architect and Royal Academician, Norman Foster. Part of the annual Summer Show, the exhibition presents both early high-rise buildings and some of the most innovative skyscrapers currently being designed around the world, through the use of scale models, videos and interactive programmes.
Some 60 projects are displayed covering all forms of tall buildings, from the earliest iconic skyscrapers in Chicago and New York, to the latest projects in America, Europe and the Far East by talented new designers as well as by internationally renowned architects. Historical designs, including the Chrysler Building by William Van Alen and the Seagram HQ by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, are displayed alongside recent and proposed projects including: the Petronas Towers by Cesar Pelli; 30 St Mary Axe for Swiss Re by Foster and Partners; London Bridge Tower by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Shanghai World Financial Centre by Kohn Pederson Fox, which when completed will be the tallest building in the world. The exhibition offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the future of tall buildings by exploring the technological, social and cultural developments underlying the changing nature of vertical architecture.
Sky High examines the historical evolution of the skyscraper around the world, and the impact of tall buildings in shaping urban development, exploring questions of density, alternative land use patterns and sustainability. In addition, the exhibition examines the special role of residential skyscrapers in the dense megacities of the Far East, and the new forms of vertical architecture now emerging in the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated book Sky High: Vertical Architecture by Chris Abel with a foreword by Norman Foster.
Norman Foster commented:
"This exhibition and book provide a timely opportunity to explore the arguments in favour of higher densities and, in selective locations, the use of taller structures. Taller buildings can accommodate more people, at greater densities, seeking to create a higher quality of urban life. While the tall building may not be the only key, with finite resources, and with less and less land on which to build, it is a vital component of the future city."