This Earthquake Resistant Skyscraper Is The World’s Best High-Rise Building


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An international architecture competition hosted by Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) declared LBR&A Architectos’ Torre Reforma as the winner of the International Highrise Award. There were over 200o towers in the competition which were built in the last two years. The Mexico City office building was given the award for its innovative earthquake-resistant design. Torre Reforma, which stood second in the Emporis Skyscraper Awards last year is the tallest building in the city and rises to a height of 809 feet. The unusual design is a result of local building regulations which says that skyscrapers should be no more than twice as high as the width of the street.

If a building exceeds this height, as Torre Reforma does, the upper part of the building must be recessed or tapered. The floorplan of the tower is divided into sections, and each one hosts its indoor garden. An existing historic house on the site was also retained and integrated into the main lobby. The building is rated as LEED Platinum for its sustainability and features rainwater and greywater recycling. It also focuses on natural ventilation. Wind power is also used to reduce grid-based electricity requirements.

Torre Reforma’s walls reach 60m deep into the ground. The concrete for the walls was poured slowly to create seams between the layers, serving as predetermined breaking points and making sure that the building itself will remain unaffected in the event of a massive earthquake. Moreover, its walls incorporate large openings analogous to a car’s crumple zone. The system has already proven to be effective. During the earthquake of 2017 in the region, the only damage the building faced were some harmless cracks in the concrete seams.

DAM says, “In contrast to the internationally enduring trend toward residential towers as well as ever-larger mixed-use projects in Asia, this year’s prize-winner is once again a classic office building. Here, however, it is only the type of usage that is conventional. The prevailing problem of earthquakes in Mexico City calls for an intelligent support structure concept, which lends the 246-meter-high office tower its striking appearance. In doing so, Torre Reforma by L. Benjamín Romano places Mexico’s capital on the world map of ground-breaking high-rise architecture.”

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