US President Donald Trump’s apparent inability to accept sustainability and climate change as critical issues brings to mind the observation of another famous US citizen Mark Twain who reportedly said: “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” The great American man of letters – that is Twain not Trump in case you had any… Read More
LA Skyslide – A Playground in Building Façades
The Los Angeles landmark building, the U.S. Bank Tower, had recently begun offering something new alongside a magnificent view. The Skyslide, a fully transparent 45-foot-long slide jutting out from the building over 1,000 feet up, has seen exhilarated visitors travel over the city skyline, protected by only 1¼ inches of a toughened glass tube.
Façades are not just the visible skin of a building, covering the skeleton of its structure. The façade itself can make the building’s personality, whether it’s seeking gravitas and authority — like the Royal Albert Hall — an invigorated business or cultural area — like the development of London’s Canary Wharf in the 1990s — or simply playfulness and engagement, as with the new Skyslide.
But the U.S. Bank Tower is not the first building to play with transparent façades: the Grand Canyon Skywalk allows tourists to travel along a horse-shoe glass bridge over 2,000 feet above the canyon floor below; Las Vegas, home of the glamorous frontage, sends guests at the Stratosphere Hotel on a rollercoaster over 1,000 above the Strip; the Shanghai Pearl Tower allows visitors to view the city from over 1,100 feet above the city, from an observation deck with an inch-and-a-half thick glass floor; and the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan, is made up of two 40-storey towers joined by the world’s highest glass-sided escalator.
The UK doesn’t miss out on the fun either: the Blackpool Tower has a glass-floored observation deck at 486 feet, and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, designed to resemble a billowing sail, has a transparent deck over 300 feet above the sea.
What all these buildings have in common is an understanding that any building is not only bricks, mortar and steel: every building also exists as an object to be viewed, to be used — and even to be played with.
You may also like
OUR urban space is key to our well-being and our buildings are important aspects in our battle to achieve and maintain this. Throughout the world carefully designed buildings have been instrumental in revitalising areas of large cities, commercially and aesthetically and perhaps more importantly improving our quality of life. Chicago may be the infamous… Read More
Today’s façades reflect commercial intent, push design boundaries, change environments and showcase engineering capabilities. Are modern day façades merely used as a tool to showcase design progression and engineering egos? Are we considering the façade skin and the role it plays in influencing the urban landscapes of our future? With so much emphasis placed on… Read More
As the global economy tries to recover from its last dip, huge investments are being made in the construction industry, both in established and emerging markets. It’s anticipated that the volume of construction output will grow by more than 70% to achieve an annual worth of $15 trillion worldwide by 2025 (Source: Global Construction Perspectives… Read More