Designers at the architecture firm Ken Pendersen Fox announced earlier this month of plans to construct a skyscraper more than a mile tall. The structure would stand in the center of “Next Tokyo,” the proposed idea for a city in the Tokyo Bay.
The building would be about the same height as nine Brooklyn Techs, including the rooftop antenna. It would house approximately 55,000- and would include on site amenities for its residents.
Marcus Wong 17’ suggests that, “It would be an exceptional accomplishment for Japan, as well as a breakthrough for engineers and architects to build such a tall structure.” However, as much as he considers it an astounding architectural feat, he notes there are risks associated with building such a megastructure. Wong mentions, “Japan is often victimized by high magnitude earthquakes and tsunamis.” This occurs because it is located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an area of great tectonic activity. He further expresses his concern that even the slightest error could result in “…a tragic accident waiting to happen.”
Unfortunately, such accidents are a common occurrence in Asia, where construction standards are often low and the use of poor quality construction material is prevalent. For instance, in April 2013, structural failures caused the Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh to collapse, leaving around 1,100 innocent people dead and more than 2,000 injured. In the event of such a disaster, a mile-high building may not only pose as a threat to the people in it, but also to the surrounding structures and population.
Anika Bushra, a junior in the Environmental Science major believes that the structure would be a great addition to Japan by providing jobs for the people that live there, and boosting the pride of citizens. However, she explains that “safety should be a first priority when taking on such an immense project … prior to construction, great effort should be put into the design in terms of stability, sustainability, strength, and safety,” something she considers to be the four S’s of sustainable construction. Additionally, Bushra, an avid environmental enthusiast hopes that designers will not only consider the safety of other humans, but also that of the surrounding environment.
Tall buildings make it almost impossible to avoid the issue of light pollution, which is inevitable in any urban area. This negatively affects migrating birds that become confused by the lights. In fact, helpless and incapable of avoiding them, almost a million birds each year, crash into skyscrapers, or even fall out of the sky.
As Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous American architect and designer once said, “The good building is not one that hurts the landscape, but one which makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before the building was built.” Though the Idea of a mile-high building is still in planning, many factors must be taken into consideration in order for the structure to ensure overall sustainability.