Designing Tall Buildings: Structure as Architecture, 2nd Edition (e-Book) book cover

Designing Tall Buildings

Structure as Architecture, 2nd Edition

By Mark Sarkisian


286 pages

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This second edition of Designing Tall Buildings, an accessible reference to guide you through the fundamental principles of designing high-rises, features two new chapters, additional sections, 400 images, project examples, and updated US and international codes. Each chapter focuses on a theme central to tall-building design, giving a comprehensive overview of the related architecture and structural engineering concepts. Author Mark Sarkisian, PE, SE, LEED® AP BD+C, provides clear definitions of technical terms and introduces important equations, gradually developing your knowledge. Projects drawn from SOM’s vast portfolio of built high-rises, many of which Sarkisian engineered, demonstrate these concepts.

This book advises you to consider the influence of a particular site's geology, wind conditions, and seismicity. Using this contextual knowledge and analysis, you can determine what types of structural solutions are best suited for a tower on that site. You can then conceptualize and devise efficient structural systems that are not only safe, but also constructible and economical. Sarkisian also addresses the influence of nature in design, urging you to integrate structure and architecture for buildings of superior performance, sustainability, and aesthetic excellence.


"Designing Tall Buildings is the best book on structures and architecture available. It appeals to both architects and engineers, capturing the "why" and the "how" of tall building construction. It explains the history of tall buildings and details the structural rationale behind the art. Mark Sarkisian is a brilliant and engaging instructor, bringing structural theory to life. This book is a must-read for all designers." - Mary Comerio, Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley, USA

"Designing Tall Buildings is a seminal reference guide that clearly illustrates the inseparability of architecture, structural design, and local context in the realization of tall buildings around the world. As one of SOM’s foremost structural engineering partners and a global thought leader on skyscraper design, Mark Sarkisian is the perfect author to give this message." – Antony Wood, Executive Director, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, USA

"Designing Tall Buildings: Structure as Architecture clearly discusses the roles that structural design and nature play in tall buildings. Mark Sarkisian communicates an intuitive understanding of the interrelationships between forces at play. Clear and well written, with definitions at the end of each chapter, this book serves as an excellent learning tool." - Jon Daniel Davey, AIA, Professor of Architecture, Southern Illinois University, USA

"Sarkisian’s Designing Tall Buildings provides a masterful discussion of the synergy of architecture and structural engineering in landmark building designs by SOM. This book has inspired both students and faculty in design studio courses at Stanford University that aspire to combine technical rigor and creative thinking in architecture and engineering through the art of tall building design."- Greg Deierlein, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, USA

Table of Contents

1. Perspective 2. Fundamentals 3. Site 4. Forces 5. Language 6. Attributes 7. Characteristics 8. Systems 9. Nature 10. Mechanisms 11. Performance 12. Environment Glossary. References. Acknowledgments. The Author. Index

About the Author

Mark Sarkisian, PE, SE, LEED® AP BD+C, is the Partner-in-Charge of Seismic and Structural Engineering in the San Francisco office of SOM. He has developed innovative structural solutions for more than 100 international building projects, including some of the tallest buildings ever constructed. A world-renowned leader in the design of high performance seismic and environmentally responsible structural systems, Sarkisian has patented numerous inventions and has additional patents pending. He teaches, publishes, and lectures frequently around the world.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Residential
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
ARCHITECTURE / Methods & Materials
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Public, Commercial & Industrial
ARCHITECTURE / Sustainability & Green Design