Public Spaces in Tall Buildings at the Base, Middle and Top

Fatin Anlar
Senior Associate
FXCollaborative, New York City

Over 70-80% of world’s population will live in urban centers by 2050. Many more tall buildings will be required to accommodate this population growth and the significance of public spaces and their integration into buildings–to live, work and play–will be essential.
Buildings are for people and the objective of any building is to function well and to support of human health and well-being. Tall buildings are often seen as iconic landmarks but it is clear that they must embrace their surroundings, and encourage social and cultural activities. When tall buildings meet ground level, instead of forming a typical podium condition, it is crucial to connect the building to its context, be sensitive to topography, promote social activity and create purposely-planned gathering spots for cultural events. This presentation will focus on relevant tall building ground-level applications completed in Asia and Europe. The success of tall buildings depends on its ability to enhance the quality of life of their occupants. In order to revive public life in tall buildings, new forms of public spaces–sky-gardens, atriums, observation decks–have significant potential to promote social interaction, communication and collaboration. Many tall buildings incorporate strategically located gathering spaces that are day lit with panoramic views, and act as a buffer between interior and exterior environments while reducing energy use.
Case studies– several built projects located in multicenter cities in the USA, Europe, Middle East and Asia–will be used to illustrate how the incorporation of civic spaces at various levels into tall building design can enhance and elevate the quality of life for occupants.