“Tall buildings affect cities in two different ways that have almost nothing to do with each other. One is as sculptural objects framed in the sky, where their impact is artistic or symbolic. The other is where the buildings meet the ground and create either pleasant or oppressive spaces where people walk and congregate. Architects regularly misfire with big buildings that are bad by both measures, but the tendency is to fail more often and more egregiously at street level.
One reason is that it’s fairly difficult to make a 500-foot-high building seem humane and welcoming to a 5-foot-something biped approaching it. The other is that a building’s owners are naturally more concerned with the way the building reads in the skyline, because that’s where its marketable image gets fixed in the public eye. “