Skyscraper (review)

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1985, Vol. 55, Issue 3, Pg. 57-59

Document Type: Feature article


The 1984 novel Skyscraper, by civil engineer-writer Robert Byrne, tells the suspenseful story of the collapse of a new, 66 story skyscraper in New York City. As well as being compelling fiction (the book was reprinted in condensed form by Readers Digest Condensed Books), the novel is of interest because the author did extensive research into high-rise design and construction and problems of building failures. His hero is a civil-forensic engineer, and the attractiveness of a civil engineering career in that specialty is played up. The building, 850 ft tall and exceptionally narrow for its height, collapses because, in the name of economy, considerable weight is pared off floors and curtainwall. But in the face of the design wind load, this reduced weight leads to an inadequate factor of safety against overturning. Excerpts from the book are presented.

Subject Headings: Structural failures | High-rise buildings | Building design | Wind loads | Construction management | Failure analysis | Professional development | Floors | New York City | New York | United States

Services: Buy this book/Buy this article


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