|Mixing business with pleasure - David Graham starts his descent from the top of Customs House.
Broom with a view - rock climbers love their cleaning jobs: Most people dream of working their way to the top. But it’s the exact opposite for a group of Canberra window cleaners. The 14 employees of Touchdown Building Service spend their workdays cleaning the exterior of Canberra’s largest buildings – and the job isn’t done until they hit terra firma. The army of thrill-seekers conducts all manner of highwire activities, from cleaning windows to installing birddeterrent spikes. The type of job isn’t important, as long as it involves dangling precariously several metres above the ground.
And the views are to die for. Surprisingly, Touchdown Building Services spokesman David Graham described the job as a ‘‘stress free’’ way to make a living. Mr Graham said the majority of the industrial window cleaners are rock climbers seeking to mix business with pleasure. ‘‘The scare factor is what people think when they see us working, but it doesn’t worry us,’’ Mr Graham said. ‘‘[We] see people through the glass at their desks and we’re glad we’re on the outside of the building. It seems to give [the office workers] a bit of a thrill, it must take them out of their mundane work routine.’’
Mr Graham said Canberra had a number of large buildings that require cleaning about twice a year, meaning there is always plenty of work for the adrenaline junkies. He said the design of modern buildings meant they required cleaning by abseilers. ‘‘The architects who design these large buildings don’t stop to think about how to clean it, birds nesting, and stuff like that.’’ But the job isn’t as easy as just hanging from a rope. Each industrial window cleaner must complete a week long Australian Rope Access Association course before they are hired.
|One World Trade Center at Ground Zero rises up into the air March 9, 2011 in New York City. Construction continues at the Ground Zero site on the signature skyscraper, with workers up to nearly sixty floors of the building's planned 104-story height.
|A general view of the Shard building on January 13, 2011 in London, England. The Shard will be the tallest skyscraper in the European Union on its completion scheduled for 2012, standing at 1,016 feet.
|The moon rises behind the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest skyscraper. The Burj Dubai skyscraper stands over 800 meters (approximately 890 yards) and is currently the tallest structure built by men.
|New highrise office buildings and hotels, many of them still under construction, stand illuminated in the new City Center and West Bay district at sundown on October 24, 2010 in Doha, Qatar.
Chicago-based firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture recently announced that it has won an international competition to design the Wuhan Greenland Center，which will likely be China’s third-tallest building，and the fourth tallest in the world，when completed in about five years at 606 meters (1，988 feet) high. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer in Wuhan near the meeting of the Yangtze and Han rivers. A project of the Shanghai-based Greenland Group，the 119-level Wuhan Greenland Center will be comprised of about 300,000 square meters of floor area, including about 200,000sm of offices，50,000sm of luxury apartments and condominiums，a 45,000sm five-star hotel, and a 5,000sm，27-meter-tall private club with spectacular views at the tower’s penthouse level.
Still under design， Wuhan Greenland Center features a uniquely streamlined form that combines three key shaping concepts—a tapered body， softly rounded corners and a domed top—to reduce wind resistance and vortex action that builds up around super tall towers. The building’s extremely efficient aerodynamic performance will allow it to minimize the amount of structural material (and its associated embodied carbon) needed for construction. The tower’s three corners rise from its tripod-shaped base and taper upward, culminating in an arched tip above the dome at the top. The corners will be of smooth curved glass，contrasting markedly with the more textured curtain wall cladding the body of the tower. The curtain wall will enclose a composite concrete core with steel framing. Apertures in the curtain wall at regular intervals will assist in venting wind pressure against the tower; the apertures will also house window-washing systems and air intake and exhaust systems on mechanical floors.