Santiago Calatrava is rumored to be constructing a corkscrew-style twisting skyscraper in Chicago downtown. At 115 stories, it can easily be the tallest building in the U.S. But as Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne pointed out recently, it would be the only kind designed for residences and not offices. Primarily all high rises all over the world are built as office skyscrapers, often with large anchor clients and rarely are such building advertised for residences. But as Otis White writing for Governing.com mentions that New York always has had people living in high rises albeit 10 to 45 stories tall. I will add Mumbai and Tokyo to that list.
Mumbai has its share of high rise residential buildings, mostly in South Mumbai and recently in suburbs like Powai and Goregaon. Kalpataru Developers in Mumbai have built or are building several residential high rises especially in the Parel Mills area. I worked for a brief time on one of their projects and although they are located in the middle of lower income class neighborhoods, they are attracting top dollar (rupee?). Space constraints in certain cities have always encouraged vertical growth especially if the city is bound by geographic limitations. But again as Otis writes, does this also herald a change in housing preferences? Are people now more willing to live in downtown cities and actually live several feet away from the ground? Living in a high rise always has denoted disconnection from the more natural elements of a settlement. But at the same time, dense city life has been considered more efficient and lends certain vibrancy to a settlement that no suburban community can match.