Friday, September 3, 2010

Living breathing buildings

Friday, 3 September 2010 - Something I rarely do is to spend time downtown amongst the concrete and glass. It is a part of the city I look on and a view I admire. But as for spending time in that concrete jungle, I usually hover on the outskirts for no other reason but to avoid traffic.  On a Friday afternoon, let me just say the traffic is worth avoiding. Yet, hanging out downtown on a beautiful day just seems to be worth the traffic woes.  There is an energy to being in the heart of the downtown.

It is curious how blocks and blocks of skyscrapers - a blending of concrete, steel and glass - can seem to breathe. There is an entire world living right here under our feet and above our heads.  The skyscrapers are alive with energy, and they are often the trademark image of cities around the world.  Vancouver's skyline pictures are often taken from the water.  From the North, no image of Vancouver is the same without a picture of the sails over Canada Place.  From the south, the West End is not complete without a shot of the Burrard Street Bridge.  In Seattle, there isn't a picture of downtown that represents Seatlle without the Space Needle.  The Experience Music Project, though an extremely unique building, isn't as well known - and likely never will be. I could say the same about the New York skyline, but since the unplanned demolition of the World Trade Centre, the skyline is still taking some getting used to without the iconic buildings.

Skyscrapers provide character and identity to so many cities.  The was once known as the Sears Tower, Empire State Building, the twin towers in Kuala Lampur, the Taipei 101, the CN Tower....  these buildings are icons. There is more to these buildings than office space, observation decks, hotels, and shopping on the lower levels. They provide identity to the city in which they live, and no doubt created much discussion before the ground underneath them was broke. The race to the sky may have slowed a little, but trust me, the need for a ruler has not. These buildings are often borne out of a need to be bigger... and taller... then the next one. It's a lot like a urinal check... you know the one where you sneak a peak next door to see how you 'measure up'.

Today is Skyscraper Day. If you haven't ventured up to the top of one of these structures, take today to head up to the top. If you don't live near any great tall structures, than may I recommend you find the tallest building in town and ride the elevator. Scared of heights? No worry, I am as well.  I can go up, I just can't look down. So look out. see your city from the eyes of the skyscraper. I trust you will find that as the building inhales and exhales, it sways a little too.  Plant your feet and enjoy the ride. The view is pretty good too.

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