TMCnet Feature
October 28, 2020

The Telecom Factor of Big Building Design and Construction



When people think of skyscrapers and other prominent buildings going up in major cities, many things go through their heads. Maybe it’s the sight of a giant crane moving laterally across the sky, the chatter of power tools, or the beeps of trucks backing into the construction site.



Perhaps it’s the real estate developer behind the project, the unveiling of the original design, or memories of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. At the very least, most people probably think of the building itself; the architecture, location, and purpose.

One of the last things people tend to associate with tall building design and construction is telecommunications. As it turns out, the telecom factor is more vital and more evident than most people assume. Let’s take a look:

Broadcasting

What do most skyscrapers and other exceptionally tall buildings have in common? They have one or more giant antennas mounted at the top. It’s one of the more iconic skyscraper construction features going back to the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings.

The reason is simple: skyscrapers act as broadcast towers because of their incredible height. Allowing for broadcast antennas on the top is a matter of courtesy on behalf of the surrounding region, which will benefit from the strong signals coming from the building.

Attaching radio masts to the tops of skyscrapers also serves another purpose: design. They’re an easy way for a building to appear much taller than it is while also fulfilling the aesthetic most people come to expect in skyscraper architecture.

With that said, not every high rise building is capped by a large antenna. That’s partly because it often interferes with the look, feel, and function of historic buildings and luxury developments. Developer portfolios, like the one seen at HFZCap.com, feature buildings in which rooftop space is used for amenities, utilities, or both.

The other reason you don’t see broadcast towers on top of every tall building in New York and other major cities is that it wouldn’t do much good; the tallest buildings in the area can provide the strongest broadcast signals. Anything below that height - no matter how tall - and the signals would likely bounce around rather than beam evenly outward.

Data Centers

It’s increasingly common for data centers to occupy several floors of skyscrapers and other tall buildings. For one thing, it’s a more affordable option compared to building standalone facilities. That benefits the services operating these data centers.

Another reason for the growing number of data centers in many mixed-used high rise developments is the revenue potential. Having multiple floors occupied by a dedicated data facility is reassuring to most real estate investors, who like knowing there will be stable tenants for many years.

Infrastructure

Skyscrapers and other tall buildings are like miniature cities. As such, they require dedicated infrastructure spread throughout the entire structure. That means, among other systems, miles upon miles of telecommunications wires and cables.

To effectively design a supertall building in the 21st century, architects and engineers must fit all of this telecom infrastructure alongside electrical systems, plumbing, waste disposal, elevator systems, and support structure. All the while designing a visually attractive building that occupants find comfortable and functional for years to come.

Skyscrapers and high rises are notable for their height, architecture, and juxtaposition with the skyline. However, they’re also vital in the world of telecommunications and impressive examples of telecom infrastructure on a relatively small scale.



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