"There is abundant evidence to show that high buildings make people crazy."
I've been becoming a big fan of Nikos Salingranos' work lately (he us #11 on the Top 100). His models of urban space as networks are very interesting.
But what do you think about his 'tall building' theory? He believes that tall buildings are almost always bad ideas, from both social and environmental points of view. The taller a building is, the more of its interior space that must be taken up with structural materials. He argues that 4-6 story buildings are an optimum balance between energy efficiency and density. (You can see his whole talk at the bottom of this post.)
However, Salingaros does admit that certain tall buildings can be good parts of the urban fabric. While Salingaros is probably intending to talk about older 'skyscrapers', like the Flatiron Building in New York City, when I see this list of good qualities I think of the the IDS center. Of all the large skyscrapers I've been in, the IDS center with its "crystal court" is by far my favorite. Somehow it manages to reasonably mimic an actual public space.
If tall buildings are indeed energy sucking gateways to insanity, the IDS center might be the best of the worst.
[Salingaros' 20 minute talk on the social and energy costs of tall buildings.]
Hey, look at that. Twin Cities. That’s the IDS Building, the big glass one. Tallest skyscraper in the Midwest - after the uh, Sears, in, uh, Chicago, or John Hancock Building, whatever. You ever been to Minneapolis?
Steve Buscemi - Fargo (1996)