Log in

View Full Version : the Citicorp building

2004-08-02, 02:32
I get almost obsessed sometimes with tall buildings or other monstrosities that are manmade. I used to be obsessed with the Twin Towers in the sense that I couldn't help but notice them or even feel an eeriness whenever looking at them. Modern architecture is clever and it creates buildings which don't look stable. The architects get credit for their cleverness by designing something that still stands and is cheaper to build. The problem with modern buildings is that although they can withstand normal forces like wind, they can not withstand unforseen forces such as acts of terrorism. The very property and design of them which is called clever is also a weakness which makes them fall down when put to the extreme tests.

One building that scares me now is the 915 foot / 279 meter Citicorp building, located at Lexington Ave. and 53rd Street in Manhattan. It has a slanted roof for solar panels. Another oddity of it is that it does not have any beams touching the ground on its four corners. Look at the picture (http://www.newyork-net.de/images/CitiCorp2.jpg) of its base and you can see that the main support columns are in the middle of the four sides rather than on the corners. Whenever I see the building I feel that it is unstable.

And it's not just me. Read some excerpts from various sites about its weak design:

A computer driven load mass damper enables the reduced number of vertical supports and ensures the stability of this complex structure.

LeMessurier once uncovered a potentially fatal flaw in the Citicorp Building after a graduate student questioned him. The building's beams had been bolted rather than welded, leaving it vulnerable to some hurricanes. After the flaw was discovered, the Citicorp building's beam were welded together, LeMcsurier said."

Most of the building's load (half the gravity and all the wind load) is directed to the trussed frame on the outside of the tower. The core carries the remaining gravity loads.

The four columns were originally designed to stand at the building's corners, but this design would have interfered with the new church's desire for a "free sky." Structural engineer Le Messurier decided instead to move the four columns closer to the structure's center, thus clearing space for the church under the corner of the building.

To reduce swaying of the structure in heavy winds, a revolutionary system was designed in the building's crown on the 63rd floor. A tuned mass damper (TMD) consists of a 400-ton concrete slab that counteracts swaying much like a shock absorber. The damper reduces swaying of the building by up to 40%.

They raised the terror alert today in New York, and this Citibank building is one that they are worried will be attacked. That's what got me thinking about it to start with.

When my wife was in the hospital for a week she had a room which had a view of the building. It was raining a lot and at night when the lights were on the building it looked like a monster similar to the avatar (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/image.php?u=6&dateline=1077848420) of Beejus amidst the fog of the low clouds. I didn't find a night picture of it from that angle, but see this picture here (http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/citigroup/images/citicorp_lex.jpg) and see if you can see what I mean. The black area would be its mouth and at night the top corners are lit, looking like eyes.

What kind of things do you find in your world that are fascinating or awe inspiring?

2004-08-02, 04:26
that building really is scary. That mouth looks like it could chomp up families by the dozen.

I think when you are looking at a large building from the outside, you look at it as fragile and unstable, but when you are inside, on a higher floor, you feel a sense of security.

In Queensland there are no buildings like that, so i have never actually BEEN in a building of that massive size.

Where i live, there are alot of rainforrests... with REALLY REALLY MASSIVE trees..., i'm talking about stumps that are as thick as a third of my house, trees that shoot straight up into the sky, so far up, that u can't even see their leaves. I find them fascinating, but i also find it frustrating that i can't capture their beauty in a photograph, because they are just too big to take a picture of. Every time i try, the picture just comes out brown... all i see is a shot of brown bark.

Also when i go to the rainforrest, i see ghosts of really massive trees... just an empty outline of the tree, because a parasite plant has crawled up it and strangled it, and the actual tree itself has died and rotted... u just see its outline because the parasite still lives on, kind of like a cocoon shell with branches that twirl and connect together like a beautiful maze. it's really fucking cool.

2004-08-02, 11:26
Those tall modern buildings swing in the wind, and you may be able to feel it. Normally you would feel secure in them, but if you feel the swaying then you realize that you are in a tall tower.

I recall being on the roof of 2 WTC, the South Twin Tower, in October 2000 and imaging what it would be like to be in it if it started tilting. I have had dreams that I am in a tall building and it starts lurching forward as if it is going to tip over.

There are not too many large trees on Long Island, but I remember seeing more of them when I grew up in Maryland. There was one behind the house that was about three times the height of the house. I used to worry it would fall on top of the house. I've been to California and seen the large trees there.

It's hard to capture what we see with photography. It could be done if the paper were enlarged to a huge poster size. Otherwise what we see when we get our 4 by 6 inch prints is smaller than what we see in real life. When taking pictures, people tend to not get close enough to the subjects and leave too much background, which doesn't look as good once the pictures come back.

2004-08-02, 12:08
sounds like you associate large towering objects, directly with some type of doom. You must think about it often, if it is creeping into your dreams.

When i was younger, i used to think the door opening of the car, and me rolling out of the car onto the road. That was a repetative dream of mine.
I had a strange relationship with cars... everytime i went to the beach, i would always close the door on one of my legs... it's like i forgot to put one of my legs in the car, and slammed the door anyway.

My boyfriends car has been making a strange strong virbrating noise and sound, and this morning, as he was driving, his wheel came right off... he said he was lucky he was only doing about 30 km/h.
I was in the car with him yesterday, doing about 100km/h down the expressway, i remember sitting there with him while the car was shaking and i remember him saying "farout, this is bad". I'm glad the wheel came off today, during such low speeds and that no-one was hurt.

Sometimes things strangely work out, even when they go wrong.

I really hate cars, i find it to be such an unnatural way of transport. I was in a car not too long ago where the person was driving nearly 200km/h along a curving road (i think that is like 130m/h?), and i just remember thinking... christ i don't trust this person to drive me around at 50km/h letalone 200.

I've heard of those big trees in California... something Red tree, i dont know. I remember seing on a documentary that California has trees that date back to BC times. I don't know if thats true. Apparently they are like 3000 years old or something lol. who knows.

2004-08-02, 13:15
When my wife was in the hospital she was on the seventh floor in a room that looked onto the highway. One time when I left I pulled over into the breakdown lane to wave to her and I could barely see her. She was just one small face in a massive building. I found it disturbing and helpless to see someone I loved so much to be reduced to a little face in a window of a large building.

When we see a plane crashing or a building fall down, we see that rather than seeing hundreds of people dying. The monsters that are created by mankind overshadow the people inside of them.

Some people use city skylines to boost their egos. That is why they are so popular in movies and in scenes with celebrities. It's as if they're posing in front of their toys. And also the power and wealth that tall buildings represent, they try to latch onto and make their own.

I noticed when I was younger that people who are ugly look worse in manmade settings than outdoors. In particular my grandmother, who was of British ancestry and didn't age well, looked rather diminished and decrepit indoors, but outdoors could still look decent and respectable.