9781324006411 198


How the World's Tallest Buildings Are Reshaping Our Cities and Our Lives

May 2022

Stefan Al (Author)


The global boom in skyscrapers—why it’s happening now, how they’re made, and what they do to cities and people

We are living in a new urban age and its most tangible expression is the “supertall”: megastructures that are dramatically bigger, higher, and more ambitious than any in history. In Supertall, TED Resident Stefan Al—himself an experienced architect who has worked on some of the largest buildings in the world—reveals the advancements in engineering, design, and data science that have led to this worldwide boom.

Using examples from the past (the Empire State Building, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower) and present (Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, London’s Shard, Shanghai Tower), he describes how the most remarkable skyscrapers have been designed and built. He explores the ingenious technological innovations—in cement, wind resistance, elevator design, and air-conditioning—that make the latest megastructures a reality. And he examines the risks of wealth inequality, carbon emissions, and contagion they yield while arguing for a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable built environment for everyone.


"Lighter concrete, faster elevators, and even faster-growing cities are part of the formula architect Stefan Al lays out in this foundational book. Rather than describing the latest supertall skyscrapers, he shows us what makes them possible and why cities and companies think they are necessary. Mixing personal experience, history lessons, and explanations of technology that are clear and simple, Al's book shows how and why a new generation of skyscrapers is now under construction around the world." — Aaron Betsky, author of Architecture Matters



152 x 229 mm • 320 pages


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