February 18, 2013

Mile-High Club: Rise of Supertall Skyscrapers

Clay Risen, Popular Science

AP Photo

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Bill Baker, a structural engineer with the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), was at his office in downtown Chicago. SOM is the undisputed leader in skyscraper design, and, at least on the engineering side, Baker is its undisputed king. In the past 30 years, he has overseen or worked on six of the world’s 15 tallest buildings. But 9/11 was a bad day to be king: As the World Trade Center collapsed and rumors circulated about a rogue plane headed for the Sears Tower, Baker and his colleagues watched as the symbols of their profession became objects of terror.

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TAGGED: Skyscrapers