Book Review: How to Build a Skyscraper

Book Review: How to Build a Skyscraper

One definition of the skyscraper is that of a building that likes to stand out. This is especially true for the tallest ones. Not only do they represent the city and its context, they are often also a symbol of the time during which they were designed and built.

The book How to build a skyscraper is a selection of 46 global landmarks, each of them presented in four pages. Two pages of text discuss the general and structural information, which is accompanied by a full-page photo and a drawing with a section of the facade taken off, so you can see the structure of the skyscraper. The buildings are sorted in order of longitude, starting with the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco and concluding with the Q1 tower in Australia’s Surfers Paradise.


general information


structural information

Each profile contains a ‘facts & figures’, including a fun-to-know key fact. The text is compact but focusses on the bits in which the building stands out. Obviously, the title How to build a skyscraper should not be explained as being some sort of manual, but as a way to emphasize the fact that there are many reasons why skyscrapers look the way they do. How to build a skyscraper is aimed at a general audience interested in the world’s famous skyscrapers. Read this, and you know a little bit more about each of them!


Overview of the skyscrapers discussed in this book, inlcuding their location in a world map

John Hill, the author, is the New York based founder of the popular weblog A Daily Dose of Architecture. Recently mr. Hill did a presentation on the book at the Skyscraper Museum in New York, which can be watched in full in the video below.

How to Build a Skyscraper
author: John Hill
publisher: RotoVision (flip through an excerpt here)
october 2017 | hardcover | 192 pages | ISBN-13: 9782888933434

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