Hanging A Building In Air
Hanging a building in the air sets a new style. Innovation idea from December 1963.
Up went a pair of hollow concrete towers. Concrete beams joined them. Next came steel trusses, crosswise. From the ends, tubular steel hangers dropped nearly to the ground. Floor joists of steel were welded to the hangers, and to steel inserts in the towers.
By that novel plan, a six-story office building has just been hung in mid-air in Mexico City. First, of its kind, the suspended Monterrey building will resist damage by earthquakes, which shake ordinary structures with whiplash effect at the top.
A maximum of unobstructed floor space is another advantage. Entirely free from internal columns, the 92-by131-foot interior is pierced only by the two 19-foot square towers.
One tower contains elevators; the other, a fire escape, air-conditioning ducts, and electric-wiring conduits. The towers’ concrete cell foundation literally floats in mud underlying the city’s thin crust of soil.
At the top of the building, a glass-ended restaurant does without internal columns, two U-shaped frames support a concrete roof formed in a catenary – the natural curve of a hanging cable or flexible member.