Last week I looked at one striking difference between east – west architecture.
In Asia and the Middle East, architecture has gone vertical, with the tallest still being the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 828 metres.
The world’s other top ten tallest buildings are in Shanghai, Mecca, Shenzen, Seoul, Guangzhou, Beijing, Taipei and Shanghai.
The only top ten building outside Asia and the Middle East is New York’s One World Trade Center (Number six on the list, at 541 metres).
The rise and rise of the city state does, of course, play a not inconsiderable role. Major conurbations now dominate commercial and cultural life as never before.
But in a place like Dubai (pictured above), surrounded by desert and therefore with plenty of building land, building towards the stars is more an exercise in civic vanity and economic marketing.
It’s a game that architects in the west also played, particularly in America. The macho skyscraper came to stand for a new brand of modernity.
Ask anyone to visualise symbols of American power, and the New York skyline will be one that springs to mind.
But now, western architecture seems to be grasping at softer, less masculine, forms of design.
It’s a new kind of low-rise architecture that reflects our innate connections to the world around us.
Western architecture is reaching towards a more “instinctive” form of design. It’s using greater amounts of natural building materials to create a different kind of tomorrow’s world.
It is a new fusion of form and function that has no need to build supertall as symbols of power, wealth or progress.
Of course, in cities such as London, the skyscraper is still being built. But they don’t have lofty ambitions to be the biggest or the tallest.
But, just perhaps, it suggests a nascent east-west divide as to how tomorrow’s megacities should look.
However, as a supplier of advanced glass and glazing systems, it is an architectural debate in which Wrightstyle is merely an interested observer.
Because buildings will still need glass and glazing systems – whether on the ground floor or somewhere in the clouds.