Yale School of Management

Video: Pelli on Buildings that Connect the Sky with the Center of the World

In what was to be one of his last interviews, César Pelli articulates his vision for very tall buildings, saying "tall buildings connect the sky with the center of the world..."

August 19, 2019

Source: Case Research & Development, Yale University School of Management

Case Excerpt:

Pelli was adept at developing and adapting new technologies to high-rise buildings. George Iacobescu, now CEO of the Canary Wharf group and head of operations during the initial construction of Canary Wharf, described Pelli as his hero:  "I think Cesar Pelli has conquered the most elusive technique in development, to make the buildings look classical forever and to make them very simple to execute. I think he mastered the art of it, which everybody else is still struggling today with."

The building's central core supported the structure and also housed the utilities, including elevators, power, and water. The imposing high-ceilinged lobby was 36 feet high, clad in 90,000 square feet of marble, with one retail space, a high-end restaurant. The basement levels of the building include retail areas, a transport interchange, and links to the Canada Square shopping mall.

Each level was designed for flexible use, energy efficiency, and ease of construction. Each floor was constructed on a metal deck extending outward from the core, creating an open space unimpeded by structural columns. The internal space could be configured to meet the requirements of each tenant. The floors were raised to allow access to utilities. Natural light reached the core, with coated glass in the windows for energy efficiency.

- From  Yale School of Management Case Study #17-017, “Canary Wharf: Financing and Placemaking”

Case Excerpts Videos