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Building design

What is a High Rise Building Design?

Mention the term "high rise building," and most people will give you a list of the tallest skyscrapers, from Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates to Shanghai Tower in China.

Camiel Weijenberg
July 13, 2021
Building design

What is a High Rise Building Design?

Mention the term "high rise building," and most people will give you a list of the tallest skyscrapers, from Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates to Shanghai Tower in China. However, a building does not have to be the tallest to qualify to be a high rise. For an architect working on a multi-story house, one of the questions that he/she might need to answer includes, “What is high rise building in architecture

Keep reading to learn about the internationally accepted definition of high rise building designs and their benefits. 

What Makes a Building a High Rise?

According to Section 202 of the 2015 International Building Code (IBC), a house is deemed to be high-rise if it has an “occupied floor” that is located over 75 feet above the lowest part of the fire department vehicles assess. In architecture, the term "occupied floor" is not used to mean the level of the occupied roof, as many people think, but the occupied floor of the highest story. A high-rise building is tall enough to require the use of mechanical transportation like elevators. 

The first high-rise building was built in the 1880s in the US. Later, they became very common in town residential building because of the growing population and limited space in urban areas. The development of the steel industry in the 19th century accelerated the use of high rise building designs and they became a standard feature by mid-20th century. 

When developing a skyscraper, architects have to appreciate they are dealing with very heavy loads and at times, strong wind. Therefore, most towers rely on concrete piers, caissons, or piles sank deep into the ground. The most preferable bases for the development of high-rise buildings are beds with solid rocks. However, building engineers have found ways of distributing loads even when the ground is relatively soft. 

Benefits of High Rise Building Designs

Now that you know what a high rise building design is, the next consideration is their benefits. 

Common Types of High Rise Building Designs 

When designing a high-rise commercial or residential building, it is important to have an appropriate master plan, which factors things such as weight, use, and regulations in the city under consideration. So, here common high rise building designs that you might want to consider: 

  • Braced frame tower building design: This design involves using cantilevered vertical trusses that help to resist lateral loads. The trusses work with girders to create a web of truss with columns serving as chords. 
  • Rigid Frame construction: When using this design, columns and beams are constructed to withstand moments from loads. The stiffness of the frame depends on the bending ability of column girders as well as connections in-plane. 
  • Wall-frame system: This design is made using a wall and frame that intersect horizontally for a stiffer and stronger system. The wall-frame system is recommended for buildings with a height of 40-60 stories. 
  • Infilled Frame Structural System: This high rise building design is made of beams and column framework. Some of the bays are infilled with reinforced concrete, masonry, or block walls. This design is recommended for towers of up to 30 stories. 
  • Tube Structural System: This is another unique high rise building design, consisting of exterior columns and beams arranged to form a rigid frame and interior part to support gravity loads. The design works like a hollow tube. 

High rise building designs can be complex because of height, wind and large occupant populations. Therefore architects need to be extra careful by factoring in all the critical requirements, such as elevator movements, life-systems, and following respective regulations. This is why you should make sure to have a good master plan and use the right building and construction software

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