The Rise of the Mile-High Building

The rise of the mile-high building

If you’ve sat in an airplane’s window seat, you know what the world looks like from a mile up. It’s that point during takeoff and landing when you can pick out an individual car beetling along a highway; when, on a clear day, you can see the city bleed into its suburbs and trace the outline of a mountain range beyond but still find your favorite bocce court if you know where to look. Individual humans are barely detectable from this height, but humanity’s traces ooze to the horizon. In the not unimaginably distant future, this will be the view from someone’s breakfast nook.

The mile-high skyscraper makes a little more sense to build now than it did when Frank Lloyd Wright designed one nearly 60 years ago. Wright imagined, on the fringes of Chicago, a habitable 528-story sundial called the Illinois. That idea wasn’t buildable then; its successor would still be risky, financially ruinous, slow to construct, and inefficient to operate. But that doesn’t mean a mile-high skyscraper won’t get done. “Going big has been a trend ever since the pyramids. It has little to do with practicalities,” says Jay Siegel, an executive and engineer with Allianz, the company that might one day insure this theoretical Hubris Tower. The technology of supertall buildings is a bit like genetic testing or nuclear energy: a volatile form of power. Technological capacities have outpaced our judgment. We know we can do it, but we don’t know when not to do it. And so some endlessly wealthy mogul, most likely in South Asia or a Gulf emirate, will eventually move into a preposterously expensive penthouse so far above the Earth’s crust that the air is thin and gales hammer at the glass. A mile’s not science fiction. It’s not even an outer limit. ….

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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