As cities cope with rapid population growth—adding 2.5 billion dwellers by 2050—and grapple with destructive sprawl, politicians, planners, and architects have become increasingly interested in the vertical city paradigm. Given the large-scale problems of skyscrapers, any improvements in their planning, design, and construction would be significant. This paper examines a new crop of skyscrapers that employs green design elements, including aerodynamic forms, greeneries, energy-saving systems, innovative renewable energy techniques, water-saving technologies, rainwater catchment systems, and the like. The examined projects illustrate foremost sustainable design features, strategies, and techniques that help to meet the functional requirements while resulting in attractive forms. They include towers that are completed, under-construction, on-hold, proposed and on the drawing boards. In an attempt to capture a wide-range of innovative ideas and concepts, this paper examines 30 major projects representing major world’s regions that have been active in constructing tall buildings including Southeast Asia and the Far East, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. The discussion section also engages the reader with additional buildings that have employed similar sustainable design. The paper concludes by identifying design approaches that could twin sustainability with iconicity, and highlights some of the shortfalls of intended sustainable design.
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