Design for Vertical Urbanism: “Eco-Strata” Height Relative Variables (HRV) in Tall Building Design

John Jory
PhD Candidate
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

It wasn’t until 1803 that the world’s population reached one billion, yet this year it has surpassed 7.5 billion people. With concomitant urbanization, we now have an urban majority – 28 megacities of 10-million-plus individuals – and increasing high-rise development. Significantly tall buildings are key to compact dense development, a future-oriented urban response offering land, infrastructure, and occupational efficiencies.

In this study, a case is made for the reconsideration of urban tall building design by utilizing factors that vary over height and influence design, performance, and utility. Height variable effects arising from the urban canopy and boundary layers, urban heat islands and canyons, seasonal/diurnal cycles, solar, wind, temperature, pressure, daylight, shade, view, access, and air quality are defined by the construct “height relative variables” (HRV). It is expected that significant benefits may result from the systematic design integration of HRV using “eco-strata”: a construct defining a model to locate the influences and effects that differ internally and externally over tall building height; a design paradigm whereby energy flow, exchange and generation, and configuration and use, are linked to height variables; tall buildings that no longer simply repeat levels, irrespective of their relative height, but optimize function, design, and performance vertically.