What’s the Deal With All the High-Rises?

When casting your eyes over our sprawling city landscapes, you will see it is awash with cranes and metal scaffolds.

Why are we investing so much into these structures? Rest assured there is method behind the madness, WSP’s Seetha Poduri explains.


According to the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats (CTBUH), a leading global not-for-profit organisation, the number of ‘Skyscrapers’ above 200 metres built in Australia, in 2017 was 144.


In the last decade alone, this number has more than quadrupled. Since the year 2000, the total number has grown by a staggering 402 per cent, internationally.


For the time being it looks as though the cranes and scaffolding will only continue. For 2018, in Australia alone 160 tall building developments are estimated to reach completion.


Bar graph depicting the increase of tall building completions since 1960 

Graph above: Image courtesy of CTBUH / The Skyscraper Centre 


Ms Poduri, a Senior Engineer in our Melbourne Structures team, believes that the buildings market is driven by demand. This demand has seen some AUD 4.8 billion worth of project constructions in the Sydney CBD alone with another AUD 3.1 billion worth of approved developments.


Ms Poduri says, “Driven by rising populations and urban densities, infrastructure spending and a shortage of land, there is no denying the trends in high-rise developments. These tall buildings are the consequence of a booming Australian infrastructure economy. Such developments will shape our city skylines and will accommodate demand for new offices, residential and mixed-use facilities.”


In fact, in a study of 100m+ buildings in Australia, residential (45.4 per cent), office (36.5 per cent) and mixed-use (12.1 per cent) make up for the majority of our high-rise developments. These developments are spread largely across Australia’s eastern seaboard, with Melbourne (33.3 per cent) and Sydney (32.5 per cent), our most populous cities, accounting for the majority of the investment.


Wayne Bretherton, WSP’s Director for Property & Buildings, ANZ says, “With population density at the forefront of city planning, we see more hi-rise buildings being developed globally. Increasing urbanisation is rapidly changing the face of our cities around the world, with vertical cities soon becoming a reality.


“Further, with emerging technologies we can reduce our carbon footprint and with every building comes an element of place-making. We can design these buildings in a way that will give our societies now and into the future, reason to thrive.”


Industry Representation

Ms Poduri was recently inducted onto the CTBUH’s Future Leaders Committee. She says, “With WSP’s services spread across some iconic developments in Australia such as Queens Wharf in Brisbane, 6-8 Parramatta Square in Sydney and West Side Place in Melbourne, I have some amazing high-rise experiences from Dubai and Mumbai in particular to share with my peers and vice versa. It is a great opportunity for me to grow my network and learn all about the new and innovative trends in tall buildings. It is also a way to put WSP’s name in front of a global audience.”


Seetha Poduri is a CTBUH Future Leader 


Beginning with WSP in 2014, Ms Poduri moved from WSP’s Dubai office to Melbourne earlier this year. During her time in the Middle East she also worked on iconic projects such as The Royal Atlantis and DMCC Burj 2020-T2 tower.


Mr Bretherton says, “It is fantastic that Seetha is representing the firm in front of CTBUH’s global audience. It is an amazing opportunity for her and we look forward to seeing her hone her skills further as we continue to develop amazing projects.”


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