Skyscrapers: Cities in the Sky

Real Estate Development

Summer 2012

Kate Ascher, instructor

Urban development in the twenty-first century takes many forms, but none quite so interesting as the skyscraper. With swelling cities and growing concerns about the environment, vertical living has become the preferred way of life for millions of people around the world. But just how these tall buildings are designed, constructed and operated remains a mystery to many–even to those who live in them. This course looked at every aspect of life at great height–from the origins of tall buildings in New York and Chicago, to the economics of skyscraper design, to the technologies that lie behind skyscraper construction and operation, to the sociological and urban design implications of this popular urban form, to the shape and nature of the skyscrapers of the future. Supported by a variety of readings on the subjects of tall buildings, it drew on case studies relating to skyscrapers around the world and featured occasional guest speakers involved in development or construction.