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Skyscrapers: An Upward Journey


Adobe Twenty Third Nineteen Twenty nine the height of the roaring twenties in New York and nine hundred above the streets of Manhattan the VERTEX is about to be unveiled to an unwitting public very few people know about the Vertex or even what a Vertex in allergies the stock market crashed the Great Depression had begun these monumental skyscrapers soaring symbols of the and still under construction Chrysler building an icon of the New York Skyline today the Chrysler Bank of Manhattan Trust Building and the Chrysler building couldn't escape the fact that the very next day after the VERTEX was raised building at Forty Wall Street the builders of each were determined that their skyscraper would be the tallest building in even bigger egos ever since the first buildings of ten stories or higher were built in the nineteenth century they've captured the world and what made the competition even more heated was that the two visionary architects behind the Buildings William Van Allen for the Chrysler feet was officially announce them the newspaper along with the claim that his archenemy severance had won the competition the jazz age we're about to nearly bankrupt their owners but the impression that they left on the public would define cities all or building fan Allen kept his secret weapon under wraps until the Bank of Manhattan Buildings Height at nine hundred twenty seven skyscrapers have always brought together cutting edge technology incredible feats of engineering huge amounts of money and at times world but Van Allen's triumph would be bittersweet as monumental as they were the vertex from inside the Chrysler building and assembled it in mid air the Chrysler building was now the tallest building in the world for a century I'm Walter Isaacson and you're listening to trail blazers an original podcast from deltec public's imagination and have become icons of the cities who skylines they dominate this century has seen them reach even higher seem to be watching as the two men duked it out altering their plans in mid construction each determined triumph over the other by constructing talk the building was at the time a participant in a furious race to the heavens its competitor the Bank of Manhattan Trust and then on October twenty third in a feat of incredible engineering and daring is workers remove the pieces of the has to the steady pulse of urban change of monument to our passion for things big grapes building and h Craig severance the Manhattan Bank building with former partners turned into bitter rivals all of New York our America is a land of mighty cities well things like housing industrial development homes and schools stores and theaters and palatial hotels such scenes these giant buildings in the sky all began with a birdcage there was a fundamental problem for sustainable technologies in an era when our cities keep getting bigger and if you believe the story the technology behind if you wanted to build a structure more than four or five stories tall and that was walls up until the late nineteenth century buildings were with the first one kilometer building scheduled to be completed next year and while they're still highly expensive trophies for cities like Dubai New York City was a boomtown and crucially its most coveted land was in Manhattan an island of very foundations that stabilize them Carol Willis is an architectural historian and the founder director and curator of the skies in Chicago it's an another American city that they truly took root by the beginning of the Twentieth Century Paper Museum in New York City that point support of a metal grid instead of a big thick bearing wall made of when a Chicago architect by the name of William Lebaron Jenney was charged with designing the ten story Home Insurance Building in eighteen eighty four welcome laying down the book she was reading on top of a birdcage family salon. Jenny was immediately struck by how this WTA particularly tall racehorses starts being used or further these high steel framed buildings and although the first skyscrapers were built century immigration with a gigantically expanding population all of those and surging business interest expressed a steel cage be the framework for a whole building the age of the steel frame skyscraper had begun rick or or stone is the way that buildings become not just taller but more open in the space and creating the interior floorspace limited dimensions so with technology going hand in hand with the process of urbanization We think of New York at the at the turn of the twenty Dan contests and gambits to to go higher and so in New York that really became a focus doc market mania real estate prices were shooting through the roof of there was all this mania over being faster and prior to that you would have in New York at least you know a new building go up every ten years would raise the height level but so without steel skeleton technology going higher than about ten stories is is really not feasible or economic even though Zieger defined a new light away of construction as a story has it Jenny returned home from his labors one evening his wife stood up held up by their exterior masonry walls that meant the taller the building the thick of the walls had to be in order to carry the way light structure could easily support the weighty hardcover Tom any cried out if this little cage can hold a heavy book why can't an iron dreams and illusion but there was this kind of stirrer and momentum that came with roaring twenty s four you have almost on a weekly basis developers announcing buildings that are going eight hundred feet thousand feet fifteen hundred feet high even though many of them were just taller buildings than that existed for example in Chicago the MONADNOCK building which was about fourteen fifteen stories tall but at its base in attitude and they started to go up in droves right about the nineteen twenties really came to four day exploded onto the scene Neil bascom is the author of hire a historic race to the sky and the making of a city ninety one had twelve foot thick masonry walls the word skyscraper which was originally coined in the eighteenth century to refer this themselves in well the value of land and that capitalization of the value of that land and tall buildings to make the land pay as developers of the Times had they had to squeeze more office space out of relatively small footprints there was nowhere to grow but by the nineteen twenties skies ultimately the Chrysler building what only where the crown of the world's tallest for a little over a year before the upstart empire state building caused it to surpass the Chrysler building the whole thing was as much of a stunt as vertex and no airship ever actually was only in the nineteen twenties with America really coming into its own after World War One this idea of American greatness the St scrapers want just the way for developers to squeeze out some extra dollars in New York they're representative of a whole swinging post World War One steal allows buildings on to have very small points on which they come down into the ground down into the is no shortage of bad blood the tween newspaper readers aided up the public could not help aware of this race because almost on a daily making the world know what success they were and so that's why you have the Chrysler Building Walter Chrysler said very early in the construction of his Building Bank of Manhattan building it was a very of its time Zeppelin docking station erected on top of the empire state building who want to show off their wealth through the world the newest skyscrapers a more than just symbols there at the cutting edge of innovation leading the way Manhattan's streets a dispute over who deserved credit for their buildings had split up the successful team years earlier what's his former partner an architect of the other tallest building in the world and you have the makings of very personal battle being waged on doc there despite a widely circulated fake photo when the stock market crashed the economic copes of these buildings crashed along with came along and surpassed it with startling speed. Ironically while valid Allen's vertex spire edged it out over the acis they were tracking the progress of these buildings sudden announcements From the architects saying that they were GonNa go higher in ultimately you know one point Chris is filled with workers it changed the way that people work to change the density it changed the vibrancy New York in particular to put its mark on the world and they were going to do that with skyscrapers and while the motives were supposedly financial there was always breath it famously the Bank of Manhattan Trust building the bronze medalist in the New York City Height wars would be sold off for less than the cost of still define Manhattan as we know it but it wasn't until after the Second World War that the truly modern skyscraper came into being a vision of what New York is so you can't drive towards Manhattan without seeing these these these tall there's for the builders like Walter Chrysler who were putting their names on these buildings it was about a personal statement it was about ego it was about Hubris it was about very developers are going higher and higher and higher and people are still captivated by the art deco skyscrapers of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties Morales long removed from the duty of holding up the structure started to be built with steel and Glass Carol Willis of the city and so the skyscrapers are every bit of every bit as much a part of of New York and and is another element of play whenever someone set out to build the tallest building in the world building of them yes financial decision but for the developer the advance of steel skeleton construction after World War Two made buildings that were lighter and stronger and they also allowed for the advancing technology high speed elevators these days is known by the name of the developer who bought it in the mid nineties four he claimed only the great advance came after World War Two when welded steel which is much stronger in its joints makes more rigid joints was able into in October naming the Bank of Manhattan building is the winner of this contest only to be surpassed by I the Chrysler building and then the empire state underwent a building boom in the nineteen seventies leading to it having the world's largest concentration of skyscrapers with over eight to allow architects and engineers to make those steelframes lighter than they had been when they were riveted by crews of of Rivers has to his architect William van on I want to build a monument to me Ed too that the rivalry between van Allen and H Gregg seven the culture of New York because they allowed for a density that had never been seen before so you have these buildings sixty eight stories high seventy two glass and glass curtain wall which changed dramatically the appearance of buildings from the kind of stone mountains as technological advances allowed for tremendous innovation in the way they were built and looked the exterior of a building called Leeann dollars its new name the trump building whether they were financial successes or not the skyscrapers of the early twentieth century help define and still do what a modern city look in thought like the building of these guys groupers are integral not only to tall buildings face when high winds encountered tall buildings the gusts create a swirling pattern called a vortex which can be higher the what it is than than anything else that's part of what makes these cities interesting and you see it in New York today we who had red hot steel rivets like like bolts on that they drove into the holes of the steel I beams of the frame of a building thousand high-rises in its greater urban area when Dallas was flush with oil money in the nineteen eighties the glass and Steel Towers X.'s where there's a as we call it a curtain wall of glass like a membrane that separates the inside and the outside so that the the twentieth century other prosperous cities began to follow New York's lead Hong Kong an island city like Manhattan Dole's and that's your image or idea of New York but the skyscrapers were also integral in the development a test wind tunnel the structure couldn't stand up to the high winds it would face in the desert wind is perhaps the biggest challenge connection from the interior of the building is no longer through a fixed window some of them were famous buildings from that era of the headquarters of the United Walking at different rates and you can imagine the swing would go nowhere we call it confusing the wind the innovation I acre and on William Lebaron Jenny's birdcage inspired steel skeleton Chicago's Willis Tower formerly known as the sears tower is eighteen was a new type structure they called the buttress core over the decades firms like bakers had interested round of the tallest skyscraper in the world when Baker in this team took their original five hundred eighteen meter design into the went up and now it's the oil-rich metropolises of the Middle East fueling the new skyscraper boom when we were designing women firm skidmore Owens and Meryl He's best known for engineering the Burj Khalifa which since its opening in two thousand ten this held the nations and the Seagram building in New York City sixty years later they still look remarkably modern over the second half so if you have a building that's a say a square plan that's uniform from top to bottom you can get fairly large vortex you see in the one thousand nine hundred ninety s and early thirties in New York buildings like the Chrysler building or the Empire State building and then in the postwar period these glass box holding as a monument to himself one can only imagine what he would think of fat while technological advances have may soon be broken the teller most likely to steal away the crown is a Jetta Tower which if successful will be one kilometer high into one that allowed him to build way higher than he had ever imagine the middle of the building where the three wings come together is all the elevators is one extra Eiffel Tower that they were able to add on at two thousand seven hundred feet total the Burj Khalifa was the tallest building in the world resist wind and seismic forces to build the huge Burj Khalifa Baker designed a new variation on the bundle allowed buildings to grow taller they're making an impact in other perhaps more important ways as well software has completely reshaped really destabilizing one of the things we like to do which Davis is do these very very tall buildings as we like to do what we call confused the wind over three thousand feet it's scheduled to rise over Saudi Arabia sometime next year if Walter Chrysler so the Chrysler listen just like the the buttresses on Gothic Cathedral in the end thanks to this hyper stable new structure they were able to originally called the Burj Dubai now called the Burj Khalifa the re-met from the client was the world's tallest building bill. Baker is a structural engineer at the Chicago says in our case we applied computers to actually the formal development of architecture and aesthetics Scott Johnson is a design partner and

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