The term “skyscraper” was originally meant to be used to mean anything that stood out – a tall man, a tall tree, a sky-sail, etc. Skyscraper is made of two words, sky and scraper (means ‘to erase’). Thus, the word skyscraper was originally coined together to indicate anything that erases the sky by sticking out and blocking it. The term was first applied to buildings in the late 19th century to indicate a tall building. Come 21st century, the definition has been re-visited once again, thanks to the concept of ‘horizontal skyscraper.’ By the way, do you know who invented this concept called ‘horizontal skyscraper’?
The concept of ‘horizontal skyscraper’ was introduced by New York-based American architect, Steven Holl for his Shenzhen project. Borrowed from the concept of elevated roads, horizontal skyscraper project known as Vanke Center, by Steven Holl involved raising of the 1,296,459-sq.ft building on eight cores as far as 50-meters apart and positioning the building right under the 35-meter high limit of the area. The result is a structure as long as the Empire State Building is tall on the outskirts of Shenzhen, China.
The building appears as if it were once floating on a higher sea that has now subsided; leaving the structure propped up high on eight legs. The decision to float one large structure right under the 35-meter height limit, instead of several smaller structures each catering to a specific program, was inspired by the hope to create views over the lower developments of surrounding sites to the South China Sea, and to generate the largest possible green space open to the public on the ground level.
The underside of the floating structure becomes its main elevation from which sunken glass cubes, the so-called Shenzhen windows, offer 360-degree views over the lush tropical landscape below. Covering the entire length of the building a public path has been proposed to connect through the hotel, and the apartment zones up to the office wings.
The project was completed in 2009 and has won several awards, including an AIA NY Architecture Honor Award, a Green Good Design Award, and was named Best Green Project in the Good Design is Good Business Awards.