High-rise Building Design: By Arcmax Architects and Planners
The definition of a high rise building may vary across geographies, however, a typical high rise building would have more than 7-10 floors or the height of the building is more than 23-25m. Skyscrapers are typically building with more than 40 floors. These high rise buildings are generally designed for office or residential purpose.
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High Rise building design Basics:
All high rise building have a steel / RCC framework which provides robust support to curtain walls. The curtain walls are non-structural outer walls of a building which merely separate the inside of the building from outside weather. Conventional buildings have load bearing walls, but high rise building curtain walls can be either suspended or bear on the steel framework. Most high rise are identified by large glass window areas due to steel framework and curtain wall. However, some of the old high rise still have conventional concrete walls with small window area.
Most high rise building have a tubular structure to resist lateral loads like wind, earthquakes etc. as they are designed like a hollow cylinder. High rise building are also designed to have setbacks which make them appear slender, minimize wind exposure and transmit more sunlight.
Principles of High Rise building design
Some of the basic expectations from any high rise building design would be:
- Creating a safe, habitable living area for inhabitants
- Building must support its own weight along with that of its occupants and their belongings.
- Provide resistance from wind and earthquake
- Provides safety from fire
- Offers comfortable climate and ventilation for occupants
- Ease of access and utilities on higher floors too
This makes designing of High rise building one of the most complex tasks as it involves maintaining thin balance between occupant expectation, civil engineering, environment and construction.
A good building design is essential for high rise as any lapse in it could catastrophic. With so much cost, manpower, economics and engineering at stake, this is just not acceptable. So the only way to ensure a perfect design is to test in simulation mode and real world. One can learn from previous engineering failures to ensure that those mistake are not repeated again. If an engineer can think of some unknown factor, then it can be tested in simulated environment. Here are some of the prime factors in high rise building design which needs careful monitoring and planning:
- Loading: In a high rise the weight of the structure (dead load) should higher than the weight of material (live load) that it will support. In fact the structural weight in lower levels of high rise should be much higher than material weight, but this is not always visible to naked eye.
- Vibration: Wind pressure causes vibrations in high rise and wind pressure increases with height. Loads associated with winds are larger than structural and live loads.
- Structural Frame: In 1895, cast iron was replaced by steel for frame structure. Steel allowed different shapes to be created and also ensured robust connections. Problem with steel is as height increases you need more material to support the structure, which makes it inefficient and expensive for skyscrapers.
- Tubular Systems: They are hollow cylindrical structures capable of resisting external forces from any direction. This makes them a necessity in high rise building design
- Elevator: In case of high rise elevator is not a utility carry people to higher floors to lower floors and vice versa but a necessity. The taller the building, more number of elevators you need to carry people. However, more elevators mean lesser floor area for commercial use. Double shaft technology is new age solution to this problem.