The Future of Tall Building Renovation

Joseph Basel
Gilsanz Murray Steficek, New York City

Tall buildings require an incredible investment of resources and materials to construct, and demolition presents an array of daunting challenges. As the building industry takes increasing responsibility for its outsized contribution to climate change through construction-related and operational emissions, there is substantial interest in renovating dated or sub-functional buildings rather than demolishing and replacing them. Additionally, repurposing older buildings can reopen a dialogue with the surrounding urban context, capitalize on the tangible appeal of buildings with some history and texture, and on the lower return-to-market time when compared with total replacement. A substantial part of the future of tall buildings may involve excavating and reinvigorating their comparatively recent past.