The reemergence of our core cities as more active and vibrant communities brings pressures and challenges to those who design. The density of buildings, traffic, the scarcity of land, and a competitive spirit among developers are all factors that work together to push modern buildings higher.
Sometimes, especially in motion pictures, we envision high-rise buildings as towering skyscrapers. While this is the romantic and not always incorrect vision, a “high” rise can be as short as eight to 10 floor levels. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines a high-rise building as a building with an occupied floor that is 75 feet above the level where the firefighting apparatus would stage firefighting operations. That low threshold requires several specific features to be designed into buildings to promote life safety and allow for emergency responders to safely and quickly access the higher levels of the building, thereby saving lives and considerable invested resources. With that fairly simple definition, all high-rise design challenges should be the same, right? Perhaps some additional discussion is warranted before we make that determination! more