Sustainable Design of Skyscrapers

Paper Type:  Dissertation proposal
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1314 Words
Date:  2022-05-09


Construction of skyscrapers has evolved both in height and shapes over the years (Boake 2015, pp.54-71). This has been possible due to various factors that have necessitated a change in engineering design to align with modern-day trends and technological advances. Langenbach (2015, pp.21-41) elucidates that the contemporary skyscrapers are designed to ensure sustainable urban approach through modern innovation. Sustainability ensures energy efficiency in skyscrapers and land use (Kontokosta 2013, pp. 190-198). This paper proposes the best engineering designs and innovations that can ensure sustainability of skyscrapers in urban settings.

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Background and Context

Skyscrapers design has been one of the most intriguing engineering works to have existed. According to Saroglou, Meir, Theodosiou, and Givoni (2017, pp.437-449), modern-day technology such as elevators, fireproof columns and beam protection, cage and skeleton, and caisson foundations have enabled the construction of sustainable skyscrapers that are tall and super-thin as compared to the ancient skyscrapers.

The construction of high rise building has been on the increase. This is evident in today's megacities, where most of their skyline is dominated by skyscrapers landmark buildings. A good example is the City of Dubai, which hosts the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. The design of skyscrapers has been reinvented over years, thanks to the major inventions in the design sector, especially the development of design software such as AutoCAD, Revit, InfraWorks, ArchiCAD, Civil 3D and many others.

Al-Kodmany and Ali (2013, pp. 11-40) describe the evolution of modern-day skyscrapers to have taken place in three different phases. The researchers note that the first phase was called wild work in which several tall-buildings emerged in the world. The next stage was known as tripartite pattern phase that involved widespread use of shafts and capital to design and construct skyscrapers. Finally, the third phase began shortly before the advent of World War I and it involved sustainable approach which led to the construction of super-thin buildings as well as efficient energy utilization. This was to cater for the ever-increasing urban population. Kristiansen and Turek (2015, p.14) gives a summary of the evolution of skyscrapers.

Research problem

Due to the increase in the urban population, the need to address the housing problem has led to their modern day revolutionary techniques in the design of Skyscrapers.

Research question

How have the revolutionary engineering design techniques impacted the sustainable construction of skyscrapers?


  • To identify some of the revolutionary techniques that have led to the sustainable design of skyscrapers.
  • To identify the reasons behind the surge in the construction of skyscrapers
  • To analyze the impact of engineering design on the future of skyscrapers.


This study will examine the relationship between sustainable engineering design and the sustainability of the construction of skyscrapers. The study also seeks to compare the designs of high rise building before and after the development of the modern design software.

The Context of the Research

The urban population is ever-increasing as people move from their rural home to major towns and cities in search of employment opportunities or for studies (Davis 2015, pp.43-53). The increased urban population puts pressure on land and housing (Chudacoff, Smith, & Baldwin 2016, p. 193; Barr 2013, pp.369-391). The available land space and housing units are insufficient to cater for the growing population. Thus, there has been a need to utilize the available limited land space to meet the housing need of the urban population, necessitating the construction of high rise buildings.

Expected Outcomes

The final outcome will involve identification of the best engineering design that leads to sustainable urban approach. Thereafter, a model of a skyscraper that incorporates the identified design will be developed to test the efficiency of the identified sustainability approach. Finally, the impact of engineering design on the future of skyscrapers design and urban planning will be analysed.

Literature Review

Wells, M., 2005. Skyscrapers: Structure and design. Laurence King Publishing.

In his text. Wells argues that the design and construction of skyscrapers has been made efficient due to the development of revolutionary design software and reference models. He notes that without these software, the landmark buildings in cities would be non-existent.

Beedle, L.S., Ali, M.M. and Armstrong, P.J., 2007. The skyscraper and the city: Design, technology, and innovation. Edwin Mellen Press.

In this text, the motivation to the design and construction is explicitly discussed. Also, the authors explore some of the effects of modern-day engineering design on the future of skyscrapers.

Taranath, B.S., 2016. Structural analysis and design of tall buildings: Steel and Composite construction. CRC press.

Taranath analyses some of the possible future trends in the construction of high rise buildings and the possible use of composite materials as the main construction material for skyscrapers

Research Design

The research will involve literature search from online libraries in which various research studies involving skyscraper sustainable design approach will be analyzed. The best available design will be selected and areas that require improvement will be outlined.


The first step will be the identification of a landmark high rise building over the internet. After the identification of the appropriate building, the possible areas of improvement will be identified and examined for the possible solutions using modern day design software. The final step will be the visitation of the site the building is located to find the facts about the actual building. The research will require mostly materials available over the internet.

Work Plan

The project will involve assembly of the relevant materials for research, hiring of personnel, procuring materials for the model, actual modelling, and testing. Table 1 below shows the schedule for the project.

Activity Duration

  • Assembly of research materials 2 days
  • Actual research 5 days
  • Hiring of personnel 5 days
  • Procuring modelling materials 5 days
  • Actual modeling 15 days
  • Testing the model 2 days

Project Budget

The research and model will require funding to ensure that the research objectives are met. The costs of research and modelling are categorized into transport costs, material costs, labour costs, and miscellaneous costs. Table 2 below shows the breakdown.

Category Cost (South African Rand)

  • Materials 60,000
  • Transport 3000
  • Labor 30,000
  • Miscellaneous 5000
  • Total 98,000

Generally, population pressure in urban areas has led to the need of designing skyscrapers that enhance sustainability in urban life. The design includes land space maximization and energy conservation. This proposal is aimed at identifying the best sustainability approach in skyscrapers that can cater for the ever-increasing urban population.


Al-Kodmany, K. and Ali, M.M., 2013. The future of the city: Tall buildings and urban design. WIT press.

Al-Kodmany, K., 2015. Eco-towers: Sustainable cities in the sky. WIT Press.

Barr, J., 2013. Skyscrapers and skylines: New York and Chicago, 1885-2007. Journal of Regional Science, 53(3), pp.369-391.

Boake, T.M., 2015. The Evolution of Tall Building in the Gulf: From the Sensational to the Sensitive. Architectural Design, 85(1), pp.54-71.

Beedle, L.S., Ali, M.M. and Armstrong, P.J., 2007. The skyscraper and the city:

Design, technology, and innovation. Edwin Mellen Press.

Chudacoff, H.P., Smith, J., and Baldwin, P., 2016. The evolution of American urban society. Routledge.

Davis, K., 2015. The urbanization of the human population. In The city reader (pp. 43-53). Routledge.

Kibert, C.J., 2016. Sustainable construction: green building design and delivery. John Wiley & Sons.

Kontokosta, C.E., 2013. Tall Buildings and Urban Expansion: Tracing the Evolution of Zoning in the United States. Leadership and Management in Engineering, 13(3), pp.190-198.

Kristiansen, K. and Turek, J. eds., 2015. Paradigm Found: Archaeological Theory _ Present, Past and Future. Essays in Honour of Ev_en Neustupn_. Oxbow Books.

Langenbach, R., 2015. Timber Frames and Solid Walls: Earthquake Resilient Construction from Roman Times to the Origins of the Modern Skyscraper. In Historical Earthquake-Resistant Timber Frames in the Mediterranean Area (pp. 21-41). Springer, Cham.

Saroglou, T., Meir, I.A., Theodosiou, T. and Givoni, B., 2017. Towards energy-efficient skyscrapers. Energy and Buildings, 149, pp.437-449.

Scheer, B.C., 2017. The evolution of urban form: Typology for planners and architects. Routledge.

Taranath, B.S., 2016. Structural analysis and design of tall buildings: Steel and Composite construction. CRC Press

Wells, M., 2005. Skyscrapers: Structure and design. Laurence King Publishing.

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Sustainable Design of Skyscrapers . (2022, May 09). Retrieved from

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