This presentation examined how to change the inversely proportionate relationship between a tall building's height and its physical connectivity to the surrounding city, so that the tower becomes an active contributor to the urban fabric and enhances commercial viability. Using the high-rise, mid-rise, and low-rise strata of a tower as distinct zones, each with its own opportunities to connect to the street, the possibilities for programming were discussed in the context of the challenges of stacking uses while maintaining access and efficiency. How can external connectivity be reestablished at each layer, and how can a building's uses interact with one another internally to create a sense of place and community?
Whether the goal is revenue generation, social interaction, or resiliency, the benefits of layered programming can outweigh the costs. High-rise strata can be sources of revenue by providing commercial amenities that create opportunities to connect the tower with the public. Mid-rise strata, where floor-plate efficiency can be increased by stacked elevator lift cores, such that a mid-level sky lobby is required, can allow public access to aid commercial success. Low-rise strata can involve leveraging podiums as connective tissue.