~ someone professionally involved in the creation of skyscrapers

skyshaperstop row: lift boy | site managers | construction workers • bottom row: alderman | project developer and architects | structural engineer

There are many, many ways in which someone can be involved in the creation of a skyscraper, mainly through design, development, construction and supplying. The portrait images above are just a few examples of skyshapers. These were taken during a book-project about the Montevideo skyscraper in Rotterdam.

Next to the guy with probably the most exciting skyshaper-job, the construction crane operator, also think of the more invisible tasks, such as handling building permits, dealing with legal issues of erecting a skyscraper, or real estate agents.

One of the fascinating things about skyscrapers is the understanding of the kind of group effort it takes to erect one. Someone involved from the beginning to the end might spend 10 years of his professional career on one and the same building. These being rather extraordinary projects is cause for bumping into surprises all the time, and it requires a good deal of experience and creativity to solve these as they come. As difficult as that may be, most will find it challenging to be part of it. It is off course no wonder everyone involved is proud to be so.

However, skyshapers are generally not eating their own dog food. One thing I always do when addressing a group of skyshapers during a conference is asking how many of them actually live in a skyscraper. Usually there are just a few people raising their hands, mine included.

I’m not saying one needs to be living or working inside a skyscraper in order to be a good skyshaper, but doing so does help to become more aware of the small but important skyscraper specific details. Typical examples are developers cutting costs on shared spaces and utilities, such as garbage chutes, or architects who value exterior design over resident experience.

Skyshaper was coined for this dictionary.