Up into the Sky

by Greg Brouwer, Associate Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Reston, VA.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2002, Vol. 72, Issue 1, Pg. 50-57

Document Type: Feature article


What is the future of the skyscraper? The events of September 11 have sparked numerous questions regarding the history and future of tall buildings in America, and before the World Trade Center towers are put to rest, they will be intensely scrutinized in this regard. Why did they remain standing for as long as they did? How, exactly, did they come crashing down? What, if anything, can we learn from their destruction? Were tall buildings ever a good idea? Are they a good idea now? While none of the engineers interviewed for this story suggest that a building can, or should, be designed to withstand the impact of an airplane, they all share the opinion that redundancy and resistance to progressive collapse must be researched more thoroughly for future building design.

Subject Headings: Building design | Load and resistance factor design | Terrorism | High-rise buildings | History | Accidents | Aircraft and spacecraft | Progressive collapse

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