Author: Christopher Weems, Associate Editor

Shaping the Future of Skyscrapers

Silhouettes of urban skylines render skyscrapers as simple geometric shapes. Usually the answer to the question “What is the shape of a skyscraper?” is either “a rectangular prism” or “a blocky spire.” The common tubular shape of skyscrapers is not without purpose. The shape helps tall structures resist lateral loads, such as wind and seismic activity. However, modern skyscrapers take on a variety of shapes. Advances in engineering and construction technologies have freed architects to be as creative as they want to be—for functional or purely esoteric purposes.