Volume 37, Issue 4, April 2002

Since September11...

Debating Over the Skyscrapers Future

The Sears Tower is now one of the tallest buildings in the United States, but architects are wondering if any more like it will ever be built after the attacks of September 11.

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., recently brought together a panel of architects, engineers and professors to answer a question that has been on the minds of many since September 11: "do skyscrapers have a future?" (See October USGlass, page 64, for related story.)

The moderator was Robert Campbell, an architecture critic for The Boston Globe, who led a panel that concluded that despite these tragic events, skyscrapers will live on—even if they are looked upon differently, and more cautiously, than in the past.

"A skyscraper is our unique contribution to architecture," said Witold Rybcznyski, author and professor of architecture and urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. "They're novel, and this is a country of trying new things. They're about technology, and America has always been about technical innovation … The skyscraper does have a future. We just need to be more skillful in the way we design them."

However, some on the panel—including Leon Krier, a British architect, disagreed. "Tall buildings are vicious and immoral," Krier said.

ASA Reports Findings on Pentagon's Resilience
The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) has done an extensive study on the structure of the Pentagon and its resilience in the attacks of September 11—including research on an unbroken glass display case just 40 feet from where the Boeing 757 crashed into the building. ASA attributes this resilience to planning on the part of those at the building. The part of the Pentagon that was hit had been renovated and equipped with a number of blast-resistant features, including new windows, according to Lee Evey, the official in charge of the renovations.

"I'm here to tell you that had we not undertaken this effort in the building, this could have been much, much worse," Evey said.

In addition, the renovation included the placement of steel beams to reinforce the existing concrete structure and the placing of Kevlar inside the walls between the frames to offer protection from shrapnel.

Glass Companies Donate to Recovery Efforts
While people from around the world are assisting in the ongoing recovery efforts from September 11, a number of companies in the glass industry are donating supplies to these works.

Kingsport, Tenn.-based AFG Industries has donated 300 pounds of glass to Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh. The glass will be used by volunteer teachers and students to make 100 flag cases for the families of the September 11 tragedy.

AFG's Cinnaminson, N.Y., plant, the nearest to Pittsburgh, shipped the glass.

Oldcastle Glass Inc. has donated $800,000 to the American Red Cross, New York Times 9/11 Neediest Fund and the United Way. The Oldcastle Disaster Relief Fund received $400,000 from company employees at its locations throughout North America. The fund was established following the terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., and New York. The company sent $415,000 to the Red Cross in October and planned to send the balance to the other two organizations once all of the donations had been received.


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