Design the Future, Discover the Past Amateur architects can learn about each stage of skyscraper-making from the planning stage to putting on the "cladding," or exterior, in Skyscrapers! Super Structures to Design and Build by Carol Johmann, illus. by Michael Kline. A brief history of the skyscraper precedes a series of hands-on learning activities, including determining the best foundation and then constructing a frame. The author intersperses information about the Sears Tower, the Woolworth Building and San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid. ( Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
This is a fascinating look at skyscrapers from a kid's point of view. The first tall buildings were built in Chicago as a response to the fire of 1871. There was great demand to replace the large number of homes and offices lost in the fire. The break-through material was steel, which was used by William Le Baron Jenney to build the Home Insurance Building in Chicago in 1885. When steel could be produced cheaply in the late 1880's, the construction of tall buildings was ready to boom. Each step in the process of designing and building these structures is detailed with photographs and illustrations, and with accompanying projects that are very kid friendly and use common household materials. One project is to build a tower with marshmallows and toothpicks and see if it will support its own weight. Will it support a book on top? Skyscrapers need to be designed to withstand the powerful force of the wind. One third of a skyscraper's structure serves as a brace against the force of the wind. For anyone who has admired a tall building, this is a fun and informative publication. 2001, Williamson Publishing,
— Kristin Harris
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-From Chicago's Montauk Block, built in 1881, to the Millennium Tower in Tokyo, still in the planning stages, this lively text describes the history and structure of the world's tallest buildings and offers some facts and enticing projects. The well-organized chapters move logically from the earliest planning stages and history of these buildings through structural challenges, demonstrated with both anecdotes and activities, and conclude with a look toward the future. It should be noted that although the World Trade Center is not prominently featured, it is described as a standing skyscraper. Beginning with the creation of a building plan, the book offers young readers the opportunity to explore structural engineering, city planning, architecture, and construction. Activities include laying a concrete floor with sand, cornstarch, and two Popsicle sticks; testing a building frame made from toothpicks and marshmallows; and building an elevator with a small cardboard box and an empty thread spool. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs of actual structures and cartoons depicting both genders participating in construction and design, this companion to Johmann and Elizabeth J. Rieth's Bridges (Williamson, 1999) is a solid purchase.-Rita Hunt Smith, Hershey Public Library, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.