Designing Tall Buildings

Structure as Architecture

By Mark Sarkisian

© 2012 – Routledge

210 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415894807
pub: 2011-09-19
US Dollars$49.95
Hardback: 9780415894791
pub: 2011-09-19
US Dollars$180.00

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About the Book

The first of its kind, Designing Tall Buildings is an accessible reference that guides you through the fundamental principles of designing high-rises. Each chapter focuses on one theme central to tall-building design, giving you a comprehensive overview of the related architecture and structural engineering concepts. Mark P. Sarkisian provides clear definitions of technical terms and introduces important equations, to help you gradually develop your knowledge. Later chapters allow you to explore more complex applications, such as biomimicry. Projects drawn from Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s vast catalog of built high-rises, many of which Sarkisian designed, 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.


"Sarkisian is highly recognized as an innovative and visionary structural engineer with many years of many signature works of architecture, especially towers, to his credit. This is the perfect moment for his comprehensive book which takes stock of the most important achievements and best practices."

John Loomis, Professor of Architecture, Author

"Those who are not afraid of mathematical equations, technical graphs and diagrams, but lack the basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of designing tall buildings should check out Designing Tall Buildings….Sarkisian provides clear definitions of technical terms and introduces important equations."

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Table of Contents

Foreword. Introduction 1. Perspective 2. Site 2.1. Wind 2.2. Seismicity 2.3. Soils 3. Forces 3.1. Code-Defined Gravity Loads 3.2. Code-Defined Vertical Force Distribution for Wind 3.3. Code-Defined Vertical Force Distribution for Seismic 3.4. Gravity Load Distribution and Takedowns 3.5. Load Combinations 3.6. Design Axial, Shear, and Bending Moments 4. Language 4.1. Force Flow 4.2. Structural Framing Plans 4.3. Structural System Elevations 5. Attributes 5.1. Strength 5.2. Serviceability 6. Characteristics 6.1. Dynamic Properties 6.2. Aerodynamics 6.3. Placement of Structural Materials 6.4. Floor-To-Floor Heights 6.5. Aspect Ratios 7. Systems 7.1. Material Quantities 7.2. Practical Limits of Structural Systems 7.3. Major System Details 8. Nature 8.1. Screen Frames 8.2. Cores and Pre-stressed Frames 8.3. The Infinity Column 8.4 Growth Patterns 8.5. The Stayed Mast 8.6. The Perfect Tube 8.7. The Logarithmic Spiral 9. Mechanisms 9.1. Unnatural Behavior 9.2. Conventional Beam-To-Column Tests 9.3. Wood Dowels and Steel Pins 9.4. Pinned Joints 9.5. The Pin-Fuse Joint 9.6. Managing Large Seismic Movements 9.7. Combining Natural Forms and Mechanisms 10. Environment 10.1. Automobile Analogy 10.2. Conventional vs. Enhanced Seismic Systems 10.3. Reduction of Seismic Mass 10.4. The Environment Analysis Tool 10.5. Reducing Environmental Impact through Advanced Organic Theories

About the Author

Mark Sarkisian, PE, SE, LEED® AP, is the Director 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