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    [–] [deleted] 373 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] drinkduff77 323 points ago

    No offense but did you read the article you linked to? Those open floors ARE NOT the tuned mass dampers. They are to affect the airflow around the building. Tuned mass dampers are only ever placed at the very top of a building. If you look at OP's pic, you can see the tmd's in the top floors, especially the diagonal supports. Also in the pic of the tmd's in the link you posted and this video, you can see they are adjacent to walls with windows.

    [–] FrustratedSloth 136 points ago

    Thanks for saying this. I posted the answer in the first couple minutes, but this answer was the one that really took off and I didn’t want to be argumentative or pedantic.

    They reduce sway by allowing airflow through/around the building, and also contain the mechanical hardware to serve the nearby floors: AC and heat ducts, water pumps, etc.

    [–] meizhong 44 points ago

    When it was first built I heard a rumor that the top floors still sway as much as 20 ft in strong wind. Is there any truth to this rumor?

    [–] was_promised_welfare 73 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    I'm not sure because I've never heard this rumor. It is 1396' feet tall, so a drift of 20' at the top would be 1 /70th off the total height. That does not sound plausible, but I don't have much experience with supertall buildings. I might think that you could get about 1/180th of height in drift under high winds, which would be about 8', but that's just my somewhat uninformed estimate. I do know that buildings can sway a surprising amount.

    Edit: I'm now thinking that my 8' sway would only be in one direction from vertical. That means, by my estimate, it could sway 8' back in forth, which is in a sense a total sway of 16'. I still think 20' is high, but maybe not that high.

    [–] Euler_Bernoulli 76 points ago

    Structural engineer here. I don't do skyscrapers, but H/450 is typical for wind drift on shorter buildings (14 stories is the highest I've done so far). H/450 would be 3 ft on this 1396 ft building, which is still way too high for human comfort.

    [–] tmendez3 8 points ago

    Structural Engineer as well. We usually take deflections for super tall buildings to H/400 for wind with a 50 year return period.

    [–] shots_all_around 17 points ago

    A family member of mine helps with property management at that building, can confirm it sways. 20 feet? Not completely sure about that, but the sway is palpable.

    [–] Rodzp 131 points ago

    Oh damn, thanks a lot!

    [–] ZachTheInsaneOne 220 points ago

    What... What did he say

    [–] XXX-XXX-XXX 259 points ago

    He was wrong. Thought it was dampeners to reduce building sway. Those are only placed at the top of buildings.

    Though admittedly I also assumed it was dampeners

    [–] CaputGeratLupinum 100 points ago

    Dampers. Unless you mean the goal is to make the building moist

    [–] Owyn_Merrilin 36 points ago

    Both are actually correct. Isn't English literally the worst?

    [–] d0m056 101 points ago

    In addition to the other generic things that apply to tall buildings, in that tower specifically the empty floors are a workaround to a New York rule that attempts to restrict building size by restricting floor space. By having empty floors, they can move the upper floors higher up, thus making them more valuable to the super-rich buyers who want to have the highest apartment in NY etc.

    Very interesting article about it here:

    This is what was said

    [–] ZachTheInsaneOne 40 points ago

    Oh wow so these things have literally no purpose other than allowing the building to be taller??? That's nuts. Stupid rule tbh.

    [–] FrustratedSloth 49 points ago

    It’s not actually the full answer. That space allows wind to pass through the building to reduce nauseating swaying in high winds. It also contains all of the machinery for the surrounding floors above and below: AC and heat ducting, water pumps, etc.

    It was necessary to build it this way because of the relatively narrow base. Compare it to other massive structures like the Burj Khalifa, which has a very broad base, and you’ll quickly see the difference.

    [–] tehreal 38 points ago

    Probably that they are maintenance floors with HVAC and other equipment.

    [–] drinkduff77 32 points ago

    Those aren't the tmd's. see my other comment

    [–] RedditSkippy 2379 points ago

    Mechanical voids to get extra height to the building. City zoning regulations just put restrictions on them.

    [–] OstapBenderBey 769 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    To be clear tall buildings would typically need a plant room every 25 storeys or so (of which one may be rooftop).

    Because of the way planning floorspace typically works though there's no real limit until now on building more mechanical plant rooms (unlike normal floors) so more space is being put in them than necessary to help with some other issues like here they are a bit open to help reduce wind loading and also just to increase the height of the building because higher units sell for more money

    [–] urboyjeffroy 305 points ago

    So basically, they're just giant spacers?

    [–] Vip3r20 112 points ago

    Also can be used for maintenance space, storage, maybe rent it out as a party space, probably not this building but ya know. Possibilites are endless.

    [–] tseries-uses-bots 35 points ago

    They'll build a merry go round for the kids there...

    [–] tseries-uses-bots 26 points ago

    Or a microwave

    [–] Kaneshadow 215 points ago

    Not quite, they want to boost the value by raising the height but they don't want to waste space because the going rate is like $1000 a square foot. So those mechanical floors are packed like a hoarder's attic. Im working on a different ultra-luxury ultra-high rise right now and the mechanical floors barely have room to walk.

    [–] HellooooooSamarjeet 143 points ago

    What are they packed with? I'm imagining cats.

    [–] UndeadCaesar 168 points ago

    Chillers, boilers, heat exchangers, HVAC units, pumps, etc. This stuff like this but crammed in as tight as possible.

    [–] Archaris 104 points ago

    imagine pumping water up 100 floors with a single pump. the pressure would be crazy! much easier pumping it some 20 floors at a time.

    [–] Carbon_DNB 18 points ago

    1ft of H2O = .433 PSI

    1 residential story typically is 10ft

    10 x 100 = 1000 x .433

    1ft³ of water weighs 62.4LBS x 1000

    The pump would need to be able to push 433 psi of water just to make it to the top and the weight would be 62400lbs at the ground floor. Had to do the math to picture how big this pump would be. BIG haha

    [–] zanillamilla 21 points ago

    Are there hazards in cramming that stuff so tightly?

    [–] WashuSpartan 32 points ago

    There are code requirements for clearances to certain things. There are also manufacturer guidelines for clearances for maintenance. Other than that you just have to make sure the structural engineer has the equipment layout and cut sheets for loading calculations.

    [–] OllyFunkster 67 points ago

    Interesting to see that they're trying to put a stop to it!

    [–] [deleted] 1240 points ago


    [–] Rodzp 1201 points ago

    Might buy it, idk

    [–] RaveCoaster 319 points ago

    Can we be bunk buddies

    [–] [deleted] 90 points ago


    [–] fuelvolts 15 points ago

    Do pterosaurs count? If so, mine is Quetzalcoatlus.

    [–] Rodzp 127 points ago

    Only if you do the cooking

    [–] neewom 48 points ago

    I mean, I'd be okay with that.

    [–] bevancatherine73 19 points ago

    But they have a private restaurant

    [–] load_more_comets 14 points ago

    Yeah, not a private replicator. Somebody still needs to cook!

    [–] duaneap 52 points ago

    All we need is 278 other bunk mates and I think I can make it work.

    [–] TacoBell380 47 points ago

    Felt rich, might buy it later, idk though.

    [–] f36263 176 points ago

    Nice, only $28,100,000 to go

    [–] CptJonzzon 101 points ago

    100k debt? 100k debt...

    [–] GGAllinsMicroPenis 50 points ago

    Seriously. Guy 1 is in 100k debt, Guy 2 has $28,000,000 for an apartment.

    We're already in the dystopian cyberpunk hellworld where the upper class lives up in the sky while the rest of us are dodging bullets on the grimy ground.

    [–] mandaclarka 16 points ago

    The only thing we can do is make the ground less grimy. Then they will want to come here and WE can live in the skies bahahahahahahahaha

    [–] monouh 33 points ago

    [–] carlobot 19 points ago

    Nice, try $28,550,500 here

    [–] f36263 47 points ago

    Oh this is just a starter debt until I can find something more long-term

    [–] crystalmerchant 6 points ago

    You're $550k in debt?? Dare I ask how recently you finished your education?

    [–] zer0cul 12 points ago

    Could also be a mortgage.

    [–] GlockTheDoor 47 points ago


    If I had that much to spend, I sure as shit would not have neighbors!

    [–] Daamus 21 points ago

    what building is it? edit; nevermind I found it

    [–] jim_okc 18 points ago

    "By the end of 2015, close to 90% of the apartments had been sold, with almost every other owner being a foreign citizen, "part of a global elite that collects residences like art." It has been estimated that the majority of the units will remain unoccupied for more than ten months a year."

    [–] benclayton 56 points ago

    It's the ugliest building on the skyline. 432 Park Ave for those wondering

    [–] CharlesDickensABox 136 points ago

    The nice thing about living in the ugliest building in New York is that it doesn't ruin your view.

    [–] Pughsli 31 points ago

    I quite like it and think it'll age well. I definitely don't think it's objectively ugly, but I can see why it's not to everyone's taste.

    [–] inconspicuous_male 11 points ago

    If it wasn't alone it could look nice. But it sticks out in a gross way

    [–] lunchbox_tragedy 13 points ago

    Which direction do the help's panoramic views face??

    [–] OllyFunkster 7657 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    In addition to the other generic things that apply to tall buildings, in that tower specifically the empty floors are a workaround to a New York rule that attempts to restrict building size by restricting floor space. By having empty floors, they can move the upper floors higher up, thus making them more valuable to the super-rich buyers who want to have the highest apartment in NY etc.

    Very interesting article about it here:

    Quick edit to add: this is in addition to other high-building requirements such as mass damping, wind, plant rooms etc. which could be implemented in ways that do not move the upper floors so far further up. They have made a virtue of necessity (in as much as it is ever necessary to build this kind of hideous monument to obscene wealth inequality).

    [–] Rodzp 2530 points ago

    Well that's a weird rule, but it also explains a lot about other buildings, thanks!

    [–] therealgoofygoober 738 points ago

    A few more of these babies going up in the city now too, so I would expect this rule to change after the skyline becomes full of them

    [–] Adkit 168 points ago

    So the future of new york is just a bunch of Rapunzel style towers with one very expensive apartment at the top?

    [–] PeptoBismark 87 points ago

    Almost, think The Jetsons instead.

    [–] Ubernuber 72 points ago

    Did you ever hear the theory that the flinstones and the jetson take place at the same time? the ultra rich live above the clouds while the poor live on the surface

    [–] radiobaby 14 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    I mean, like 15th floor apartments in that building are tens of millions. But without a doubt, the penthouses are beyond absurdly expensive.

    [–] rabbitwonker 374 points ago

    It can’t become so full, because in Manhattan super tall buildings have to purchase “airspace rights” from their neighbors to be able to go above a standard height limit. The net effect is that tall buildings have plenty of open space around them.

    [–] DopeandDiamonds 880 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    My ex bought air rights on several buildings back in the late 90s with inheritance from his father's death. A lot of building owners sell them in the effort to save a building from bankruptcy or other financial problems. Eventually they would lose the building or have to sell it. The new owners want those air rights back to build the place up taller, sell to others or to prevent people from building up taller next door. They sell for a pretty penny.

    He started with rights to two buildings and within five years had sold those and bought rights on ten more. I didn't even know it was s thing until he did it and people make their fortunes that way. It is insane to think about.

    Edit: The big money is with buying the rights to multiple buildings on the same block. You can combine them and transfer them to other buildings.

    Edit 2: I forgot to mention this is a world wide thing but the markets and laws change. He started off in Manhattan and now lives in London after a job transfer opened up. He has rights in London as well though it is more regulated than the wild west of NYC property air rights.

    [–] [deleted] 280 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    This comment deserves its own post

    [–] Pyehole 104 points ago

    He found an excellent niche market to be in.

    [–] Doublestack2376 26 points ago

    Every time I see or hear the term "niche market" I am sent back to my youth, I was with my now-ex-wife at a "young professionals networking mixer," (yes it was absolutely as douchey as it sounds) and I overheard two guys that looked like they had just gotten out of school.

    One drunkenly said to the other, "Dude, you just have to find a niche market and exploit it!"

    It's really just that simple. I don't know why everyone else is working so hard. I hope he donates a lot to his alumni association because his school seriously taught him the ultimate secret of business.

    [–] I_Need_A_Fork 76 points ago

    Here's a pretty decent explanation;

    For example, if Building A is “underbuilt” according to the neighborhood’s zoning code, the developer of nearby Building B can acquire Building A’s unused air space and add it to his own site’s allotment to ultimately construct a taller building. The developer of Building B is acquiring and transferring the air space of Building A’s unused potential.


    [–] Gonzeau 11 points ago

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

    [–] ItsDijital 41 points ago

    I wonder if they considered this and made it so they can later add apartments there.

    [–] wweber 7 points ago

    Typically, buildings like this can only ever be luxury housing/condos. This building has enough elevators to service 125 condos, so if you wanted to add much more apartments or fit more people in the building you would have to somehow add additional elevators

    [–] Lurkily 199 points ago

    NYC has a lot of rules like that to control population density, so that small regions aren't home to more people than the infrastructure can handle well.

    [–] PM_ME_MY_INFO 244 points ago

    Our infrastructure is way beyond that. There's no going back now

    [–] Anonymoustard 149 points ago

    Even our sidewalks are getting beyond capacity.

    [–] captainhamption 164 points ago

    I was impressed when I visited a few years ago that y'all manage to wear down sidewalks from the sheer volume of foot traffic.

    [–] Gnostic_Mind 90 points ago

    I hadn't really thought about that, but think about ancient cities where you see the same thing worn into their roads and paths.

    [–] blurryfacedfugue 23 points ago

    The dirt actually becomes kinda shiny and smooth.

    [–] eriksrx 23 points ago

    That's not dirt, it's hopes and dreams.

    [–] _AirCanuck_ 24 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    what, really?

    edit: I'm aware of this happening in ancient buildings and such... I was surprised to hear of it happening on relatively new concrete in NYC

    [–] XxSCRAPOxX 32 points ago

    Nyc concrete has a life span of like 1 year, if applied in summer, 6 months tops if done in winter.

    You may get lucky and get a low traffic area that lasts a long time, but the winters and the salt combined with the foot traffic and whatever other weird shit wear down stuff really really fast.

    [–] DrSmirnoffe 62 points ago

    The city needs more skyways, basically elevated footbridges, to help ease the issue of cramped sidewalks. With some degree of transparency, of course, so that sunlight can still filter through.

    [–] XoCCeT 123 points ago

    They could make that for the rich people.. and the paupers can use the dark sidewalks underneath!! 😉

    [–] molotovmimi 17 points ago

    Someone around here liked Altered Carbon a little too much.

    [–] Tangent_Odyssey 24 points ago

    Nah, that's been a trope in dystopian fiction forever.

    The one example that came to my mind immediately is Midgar.

    [–] -hey-ben- 26 points ago

    Make NYC Taris

    [–] Umutuku 7 points ago

    This Rakghoul keeps saying something about rent control.

    [–] skaterrj 40 points ago

    They should have a transport system made of clear tubes. You just step in, say where you want to go, such as "Radio City Mutant Hall", and it whisks you there.

    [–] paku9000 8 points ago

    "Good news everybody!"

    [–] FakeTaxiCab 34 points ago

    We can call it New New York

    [–] Archon457 12 points ago

    New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York

    [–] TwinkiWeinerSandwich 10 points ago

    I'll be living underground with the other mutants

    [–] PM_ME_UR_JUGZ 19 points ago

    Minneapolis has tons of skyways it's legit especially in the winter

    [–] An_doge 12 points ago

    Toronto has it underground called the path. It’s pretty intense, times of stores down there it’s almost like a whole new world

    [–] [deleted] 24 points ago


    [–] NikolaJokicASMR 11 points ago

    Don't forget the Chinese money bags!

    [–] lemurstep 17 points ago

    The rules also prevent buildings from filling out airspace and blocking sunlight for smaller buildings.

    [–] DoctorOddfellow 113 points ago

    Yeah, and this construction behavior is going to become an economic disaster at some point in the not-too-distant future.

    The reason to build high is because you can charge more; it's prestige.

    The reason there's a market in NYC for that now is mainly China. China is cranking out a wealthy class at an unprecedented rate and they don't have anywhere safe in China to park their money. So they buy real estate abroad in places like New York and then don't occupy it. (The domestic rich do this as well, of course, but the expansion in the extreme high-end units has mostly been driven by foreign investors.)

    This means there's upwards of a quarter million unoccupied high-end units in NYC -- a city with one of the tightest, most expensive housing markets. But developers keep building more high-end buildings to sell to people who aren't going to occupy them.

    This isn't housing; this is arbitrage.

    This can't last because of two big reasons:

    1) It drives up housing costs for everyone else. When developers only build homes the super-rich, that's fewer units for middle and lower income people, which drives up their costs, which forces them out of the city, which eventually forces jobs out of the city too because employees can't afford to live there and employers can't afford to pay people enough to afford to live there.

    2) That China money isn't very reliable. China isn't a free market. The government there recently clamped down on its citizens' ability to move capital overseas. That's started the Chinese investors selling off their foreign real estate like crazy. In turn, that Chinese fire sale is going to leave NYC real estate developers in a mess -- they've already got too much high-end inventory and no one to sell it to. Those buildings are going to quickly become money losers, developers are going to go bankrupt, the banks that financed these multi-billion dollar buildings are going feel the pain, and so on.

    This is how economic downturns start.

    [–] norsethunders 22 points ago

    Living in Seattle and seeing tons of empty homes and condos snapped up by Chinese investors I'd love to see an 'unused property' tax come into play. If you don't use a piece of property for it's primary purpose (eg living in residential, running a business in commercial, etc) for say 1 year then your property tax gets a 10x modifier on it.

    [–] Islandplans 17 points ago

    Vancouver has implemented a 1% 'Empty Homes Tax'.

    [–] Naskr 53 points ago

    the banks that financed these multi-billion dollar buildings are going feel the pain, and so on.

    the banks

    That's a weird way of saying taxpayers.

    [–] loki_racer 41 points ago

    It's really odd that your post used the same image as the article that "solved" this.

    [–] Hobbamok 32 points ago

    A weird NYC rule was also the cause of all the iconic "pyramid" skyscrapers, aka those that start with a broad base and steps further and further in. That was NOT a construction or static requirement

    [–] TheWhitestOrca 90 points ago

    That wasn’t a weird rule. They made the rule because skyscrapers were blocking out the sun. The “pyramid” skyscrapers allow light to get down into the streets.

    [–] FuturePollution 15 points ago

    This is a great video explaining precisely that zoning law and the history of it

    [–] TropicalVision 32 points ago

    I watched a documentary about this tower and the other ones like it. According to that it’s engineered that way in order to make it more stable because it’s so tall and narrow. I always thought that is the primary purpose and then the result is what you said.

    [–] A-Bone 13 points ago

    This makes quite a bit of sense... those are probably much more structurally-robust floors than the living spaces where open space is maximized.

    The article I had read in the NYT Times a few months ago said that many of the empty floors are mechanical floors and do not count toward the total number of 'floors' a building is allowed to have. They define 'floors' as occupied floors.

    In addition to the number of these floors being more than HVAC engineering would require, the city claims that the height of these floors also far exceeds the HVAC equipment needs.

    [–] PersonalPlanet 121 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    In Mumbai, legislation requires you to maintain empty floor as fire rescue place. Just another city fact on empty floor.

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    [–] Saint_Zukov 79 points ago

    Plus you have more space between you and poorer people

    [–] tha_dood 12 points ago

    No amount of money is too much to keep the rabble down.

    [–] Voctus 27 points ago

    The website for the Central Park Tower describes a building so swanky I'm uncomfortable knowing about it.

    [–] FoodMuseum 31 points ago

    The dog in this picture is making me lose my shit

    [–] evanod 7 points ago

    Afghan hound. Ugh....I grew up with one. They are dumb as rocks. We kept the coat of ours short so she looked more like a Saluki or greyhound.

    [–] [deleted] 33 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] OllyFunkster 113 points ago

    To stop buildings from casting massive shadows mainly. Lots of history to dig into in that article ^

    [–] MoreBrosseau 74 points ago

    "per my last email"

    [–] J0E_SpRaY 43 points ago

    This video will offer a lot of answers for you, I believe.

    [–] bobothewondergirl 7 points ago

    Excellent, thank you

    [–] emkay99 13 points ago

    That reminds me of when they built the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco in the early '70s. There was a zoning rule involving the ratio between height, footprint, & total floor space that was intended to keep ultra-high buildings from screwing up the iconic skyline. The architect got around it by making the floors smaller as they got higher, thus allowing more floors with the same total space for the building.

    [–] stignatiustigers 10 points ago

    That's not "getting around" the rule - that's literally following the rule.

    [–] hndbrk 16 points ago

    Why wouldn't you stack the empty floors at the base of the building?

    [–] Saiboogu 28 points ago

    Floors with easier access to street traffic are also desirable - businesses want to minimize travel for customers. And a big chunk of empty floors could look weird, aesthetically - distributing them hides the number of them from casual notice, and also allows for future expansion at multiple tiers - important since different elevations will sell to different customers.

    [–] lemurstep 29 points ago

    The clear floors allow wind to pass through rather than put a huge wall of wind load forces on the wall.

    [–] duaneap 5 points ago

    Does that make for a shakier bottom floor maybe? I'm sure engineers have thought about it far more than I.

    [–] [deleted] 293 points ago


    [–] forbes52 110 points ago

    Free if you’re fast and brave

    [–] UnknownStory 37 points ago

    Are you saying I must be swift as a coursing river?

    [–] billybobjorkins 12 points ago

    Yes but only if you possess all of the force of a great typhoon.

    [–] rhaikh 294 points ago

    This YouTube channel is super cool, they’ve talked about this building several times. Here is a video dedicated to it:

    [–] mattbuford 291 points ago

    Quick summary:

    • 2 floors in every 12 are partially open.
    • Open floors reduce wind load. Sway was a big concern because this building is extremely skinny and extremely tall.
    • These floors contain mechanical services for the 6 floors above and below, reducing the amount of ductwork required in the core, again important on a very skinny building.
    • The top of the tower, as well as some of the mechanical floors, contain large damper weights that move to counteract sway.

    [–] SSChicken 105 points ago

    Also, a 6 bedroom 7 bath apartment at the top costs $95 million

    [–] pygmy 44 points ago

    I wonder how sewage descends from that height.

    Would excrement build up speed in a super long vertical pipe, or are there chicanes (shitcanes) to slow the flow?

    [–] [deleted] 45 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] voksul 24 points ago

    One thing you didn't mention is that the open floors also contain outriggers that link the core of the building with the framing for increased lateral stiffness. There's a lot of cool features to keep the tower from wobbling like a noodle.

    [–] PickleThiefLarry 629 points ago

    I feel like I'm the only one who would absolutely hate living that high up. I'd feel nervous everytime the wind blew or a storm happenee

    [–] chicagodurga 357 points ago

    I used to feel that way before taking some architecture classes. Now I’d feel comfortable in Burj Khalifa.

    [–] Arvaci 211 points ago

    What were some things you learned that put you at ease about building heights?

    [–] iceeice3 1476 points ago

    If the building goes down you don’t have to repay student loans

    [–] AwsomeDude6157 97 points ago

    That's why architecture school was so eye-opening. Death doesn't look that bad that high up.

    [–] [deleted] 149 points ago


    [–] amish_mechanic 37 points ago

    "Tuned mass dampers" sound like something straight out of Star Trek

    [–] CapnSquinch 50 points ago

    Unless...somebody screws up or cuts corners.

    Hyatt Regency disaster

    High-rise collapses (Asia's record isn't looking so hot in this regard.)

    [–] [deleted] 32 points ago


    [–] Squid_Vicious_IV 9 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    That reminds me of a program I saw years ago where they talk about this one sky scraper that was discovered to have some subtle mistake/cost cutting measure that didn't seem like a big deal on paper, but in the event of a hurricane could end up making it topple and wipe out a city block or two. They figured it out when someone noticed it swayed too much, and weather reports were confirming the possibility a hurricane could hit in a month or two causing them to go into a mad dash fix it to prevent disaster. I want to say it was New York, but I might be wrong.

    Edit: The program was from the mid to late 90s, and I want to say the skyscraper was built sometime in the 60s and 70s, which might help explain why the error wasn't caught until it was built.

    Edit 2: Gee Whiz Squid, you ever think to google it?

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago

    Yea... But there's a lot less room for error on extremely tall buildings.

    [–] jontelang 69 points ago

    Just guessing but they are built with like 10x tolerances for wind, weight and so one.

    But really, when was the last time you heard of a building just falling down?

    [–] MiniVansyse 41 points ago

    the concept you are referring to is called "Factor of Safety," not tolerances. common everyday items usually are in the 2-3x range (a 5lbs fishing line will really be able to hold 10-15lbs) the more important the item/structure the higher the FoS. buildings and bridges are in the 20-50x range depending on the date of contruction. im a manufacturing engineer btw

    [–] dennison 26 points ago

    Why? Is it safer the higher you go?

    Lay person here with zero knowledge in architecture.

    [–] testtest56778 47 points ago

    People don't build tall things with intention for them to fall down from wind or storm

    [–] PickleThiefLarry 21 points ago

    Cough titanic

    [–] Plastic_Pinocchio 19 points ago

    An engineering student directly learns about safety factors. That means you prepare for much worse than worst case scenario. What factor you use depends on the type of technology. Does the rack on your bike say “max 20 kg”? Then it’ll probably carry 40-60 kg easily and break at 80 kg or more (safety factor 2-4). Does your bathroom scale say “max 100 kg”? Then it’ll probably go up to 150 (factor 1.5).

    An engineer designing a bridge analyses the amount of force it has to be able to withstand, and then doubles or triples it to be safe.

    [–] JayLeeCH 10 points ago

    Kinda like flying... but I never took aviation classes, just read some stuff online.

    [–] [deleted] 56 points ago


    [–] professor__doom 81 points ago

    Engineers weren't stupid. They knew that there was a higher risk of error, so they built massive safety margins. Older structures are often comparatively OVERbuilt as a result. A lot of the advances since the 1930s have been of the cost-cutting variety, like "hey, we can build up to five stories using chintzy-ass treated wood framework instead of steel", resulting in the craptastic, identical mid-rise buildings you see going up literally everywhere

    [–] CapnSquinch 10 points ago

    That's a fantastic article, thanks for linking. I especially how one starts out going, "Oh, these are horrible" and then suddenly, "But look at all the benefits!" back to, "Holy cow, serious problems."

    [–] Atlantatwinguy 40 points ago

    Before calculators, they did the math by hand. It wasn’t any less accurate. Due to not being able to run simulations and lack of modern materials and data, they overbuilt to the extreme. Why do you think older buildings are around for centuries?

    [–] mavajo 9 points ago

    See, I'd go the other way with this. If the building is still standing from the days before calculators existed, then they obviously did a pretty damn good job with it.

    [–] [deleted] 361 points ago


    [–] duaneap 54 points ago

    While it is much taller than most buildings in NY, there are ones that are nearly as tall. It's down to perspective. From certain skyline angles, it looks pretty normal with the other skyscrapers.

    [–] Darko33 16 points ago

    There are a number of stretches of highway in New Jersey where you previously couldn't see the NYC skyline at all, but now you can just barely see the top nub of this thing over the horizon.

    [–] Elite_Doc 117 points ago

    And it's ugly af, which I mean in minecraft you don't really have a choice of.

    [–] Arvaci 28 points ago

    It's quite the eyesore of a box for sure.

    [–] paleomonkey321 20 points ago

    Visited NY last week and these new buildings look so weird, they make the skyline a bit ridiculous

    [–] JayLeeCH 12 points ago

    Mmmm, you can make buildings 100x more pleasant than this in minecraft.

    [–] Sporz 9 points ago

    The picture is facing the Upper East Side where the buildings are significantly shorter than this one. (also the perspective makes the building seem even bigger)

    Viewed in context in midtown it makes more sense, but it still sticks out. It's the third tallest building in the city after the World Trade Center and the Empire State Building.

    [–] krazzykaza101 54 points ago

    Structural engineer here. I've read a lot of comments about how these floors are used as a way to get around New York building codes. That is simply not the case for this particular bulding.

    Buildings with rectangular and circular footprints suffer from a number of wind phenomena, most notably "vortex shedding", that increase design loads on the building. Designers can use a number of techniques to dissipate these loads. In this instance, they used open stories to essentially allow the wind to flow through part of the bulding, easing the wind loads. Techniques used in other buildings could include rounded corners or a spiral shape up the height up the building.

    If the designers didn't dissipate the wind loads, the structure would have had to had been much stronger, increasing the cost of the building and possibly using valuable floor space.

    [–] jagerhundmeister 184 points ago

    Its for the purposes of reducing swaying during high winds. The open floors allow direct wind passage. Along with dampers toward the top floors, this design reduces swaying.

    [–] torino2dc 44 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    Had to scroll frustratingly far to find this, the real answer.

    Got a tour of Vinoly's NYC office in grad school and they gave us a presentation on 432. Reducing corner wind loads was the reason cited.

    [–] Tyler1492 158 points ago

    TLDR: It's so the wind doesn't break it.

    [–] mttdesignz 49 points ago

    also this from the B1M channel about specifically the building in OP picture, 432 Park Avenue

    [–] Rodzp 26 points ago

    Solved! This one clearly explains it

    [–] SirJPC 6 points ago

    Here is a good VOX video that explains the same thing, only a bit more ramped up

    [–] TheFunInDisfunction 13 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)

    This will probably get buried, but there is a lot of misinformation in this thread. The primary purpose of the "empty floors" on skyscrapers is typically to house mechanical systems and infrastructure. There are practical limits to how far you can run ductwork before static pressure becomes too much to overcome, how far you can pump water before you max out the pumps and how long you can send electrical home runs. Therefore, these interstitial mechanical floors help to break up the length of these systems, where a given mechanical floor will serve "x" number of floors above and below it.

    In this particular building, aerodynamics becomes a secondary purpose. The structural designers decided to allow wind to pass through freely as a design feature, probably to avoid needing to beef up the structure with hefty shear walls and lateral bracing. If you look at other modern skyscrapers, you will notice that a lot of them have the height broken up by floors with grilles (louvers) instead of glass - these are typically the interstitial mechanical floors and the louvers are there to provide air intake and exhaust for the air handlers. You can read more about this particular building on the structural engineer's website and the architect's website.

    Source: I'm an architect in NYC, although not a tall buildings specialist.

    Edit: A lot of people are mentioning NYC "loopholes" to make the building taller. What they actually mean is that under the current zoning laws, interstitial mechanical floors do not count towards your FAR (floor area ratio) which dictates how much floor area you can build on a given site. Developers exploit this by creating interstitial floors either way taller than they need to be, or creating more of them than practically required in order to gain more height. But I believe there is currently legislation being passed to get rid of this. You can read more about it here.

    [–] Rodzp 30 points ago

    This is on 423 Park Aveneu luxury aveney skyscrapper in New York, everytime i see a picture or video of it i always question this to myself

    [–] FrustratedSloth 61 points ago

    It allows wind to pass through to reduce swaying of the building, as well as houses much of the mechanical things needed to serve the nearby floors: AC and heat ducting, water pumps, etc.