Look through some additional information about skyscrapers.
Give the main points using the following phrases:
It is believed that…
It could be argued that…
It has been proved that…
It has been mentioned that…
On the other hand
On the one hand
But in spite of this…
Some people claim that…
The skyscraper as a concept is a product of the industrialized age, made possible by cheap energy and raw materials. The amount of steel, concrete and glass needed to construct a skyscraper is vast, and these materials represent a great deal of embodied energy.
Tall skyscrapers are very heavy, which means that they must be built on a sturdier foundation than would be required for shorter, lighter buildings. Building materials must also be lifted to the top of a skyscraper during construction, requiring more energy than would be necessary at lower heights.
Furthermore, a skyscraper consumes a lot of electricity because potable and non-potable water must be pumped to the highest occupied floors, skyscrapers are usually designed to be mechanically ventilated, elevators are generally used instead of stairs, and natural lighting cannot be utilized in rooms far from the windows and the windowless spaces such as elevators, bathrooms and stairwells.
Despite these costs, the size of skyscrapers allows for high-density work and living spaces, reducing the amount of land given over to human development. Mass transit and commercial transport are economically and environmentally more efficient when serving high-density development than suburban or rural development.
Also, the total energy expended towards waste disposal and climate control is relatively lower for a given number of people occupying a skyscraper than that same number of people occupying modern housing.
Reading task B
1. Read the following news and try to guess what ideas they have in common and what problems they deal with.
Europe's Tallest Skyscraper Bid
A proposal for the tallest residential skyscraper in Europe to be built in Leeds has been submitted to planners. The planned £225m Lumiere Tower 1 will have 52 storeys and be 170.88m (560ft) high. If built, it would be two metres taller than the newly topped-out Beetham Tower in Manchester which is 168.87m (554ft).
Designed by the same architect, the building will house 650 apartments, office space and a dentist, as well as shops and cafes.
If approved, the building is hoped to be completed by 2010.
The building has been designed chiefly by architect Ian Simpson at Ian Simpson Architects.
Skyscraper fears for London views
Views of some of London's most historic buildings could be threatened by new planning guidelines. Westminster and City of London planners have raised concerns about the mayor's draft London View Management Framework.
Guidelines currently favour wide unobstructed views of buildings like St Paul's Cathedral and Parliament. But a Westminster Council spokesman said views of key landmarks would be a lot narrower and skyscrapers could be built behind them, ruining the view. There are plans for several new skyscrapers - including the 1,016 ft (310m) Shard of Glass at London Bridge - said to be Europe's tallest tower block. But current rules mean skyscrapers are limited to certain areas where they will not obstruct views. Peter Rees, the City planning officer, said mayor Ken Livingstone wanted to narrow long-distance views of St Paul's from places like Hampstead Heath, Parliament Hill fields, Blackheath park.
Quake Risk to Chinese Skyscrapers
Growing number of ultra-high skyscrapers in China could be at risk from earthquakes. But the architects say their buildings are safe, and undergo rigorous testing to withstand earthquakes and typhoons.
A number of Chinese cities are racing to build the mainland's tallest skyscraper. The World Financial Centre will eventually rise to 492m (1614 feet), making it one of the tallest buildings in the world. In Guangdong they plan to go even higher with a TV tower that will rise to 600m (1970 feet).
Earthquakes are common in China. One of the worst quakes in the last century took place in Tangshan in the north of the country, killing almost 250,000 people.
Largest Skyscraper This Year Starts In Moscow
Despite the probable cancellation of the Russia Tower and a number of other major projects in Moscow not everything is affected as the Zvenigorodsky Multifunctional Complex proves.
With 252.82 metres of height and 62 floors, not to mention an enormous amount of internal space the project marks the largest to start in Moscow so far this year. In total it will contain 202,500 square metres of space for offices and a 160,000 square metre shopping mall in a huge sprawling low-rise wing that is longer than the tower is tall, plus underground parking for 3,400 cars.
The tower is composed of two distinct visual elements. The front of it is a circular part with a diagrid running up it, whilst intersecting with it is the length of the tower clad in glass with white render creating strong vertical lines. At the top are two levels of angled roofs in lieu of a crown.
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