The skybridge as an evacuation option for tall buildings for highrise cities in the far east

A. Wood, Wan Ki Chow, D. McGrail

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Consequent to the World Trade Center (WTC) tragedy, research into the safety of tall buildings has been concentrated almost exclusively on the improvement of structural systems, fire proofing, and vertical evacuation systems. While this work is vital toward making tall buildings safer, it is in itself not enough. The problem should be considered at a more fundamental design level, not as an alternative but in addition to the improved safety provisions suggested before. Horizontal evacuation at height is proposed through creating skybridge linkages between towers. This is a good choice when vertical (usually downward) evacuation routes out of the tall building cuts off in a fire. A skybridge can increase the evacuation efficiency without increasing the number of fire stairs. This is well demonstrated in the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There are many big cities in the Far East having so many highrise buildings (in highrise cities) built closely together. The possibility of linking currently empty refuge floors with skybridges is worthwhile to consider, especially for building clusters owned by the same developer. Skybridges retrospectively into an existing tall building cluster in the central business district of Hong Kong is taken as an example. Possible improvement on the evacuation efficiency is suggested. This can be extended to be a strategy toward the possible inclusion of skybridges in high-rise design as an improved fire safety provision of tall buildings all over the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-124
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Fire Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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