Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, New York City
Requirements in tall buildings are very different to those in low buildings, especially in façade elements, where the difference is more evident. There are not the same conditions at 10 meters above the floor than 500 meters from the floor, and in the last years the buildings have even greater height.
One of the most important requirement that changes with the height is the wind load, that increase a lot; but not only the wind load is a more restrictive issue, there are others new or different requirements like the durability, the resistance to the UV radiation, the need of lightness or an easy assembly systems.
But, Do we need these requirements in other industries? Have other materials these properties? The answer is YES. Eolic or Aircrafts industries have these requirements or even more restrictive requirements.
So then we need to make another question: Airplanes or Air generators are made with concrete, steel or bricks?. The answer is NO. These new requirements need to be solved with new materials, like for example COMPOSITE (FRP Fibre reinforced polymers).
Composite materials are the combination between fibres with resin or polymers, and it has been used in the aircraft industries since 70`s due to its strength, lightness and free form possibilities. Nowadays in tall buildings we need these properties, and therefore we need to use these materials.
In the last years, composites are used in buildings, primarily as structure reinforcements, and also as external or internal claddings. It is necessary to start to use these materials as primary or secondary structure, as well as façade elements or other parts of Highrise buildings, taking advantage of its great possibilities.