Occasionally, however, such a design does get built. Case in point is New York-based reiser + umemoto's stunning office project O-14, which has actually just been topped out in the architectural fairyland of Dubai, and is projected to be completed next year. Like SOM's 1961 Hartford Building on Wacker Drive . . .
. . . O-14 wears its structure as an exoskeleton. Unlike the more conventional Hartford, however, 0-14's exoskeleton creates a column-free interior. It also provides solar shading, and pairs up with the glazing set a meter within to create what is the equivalent to a double-skin facade, whose chimney effect channels hot air - of which I hear there's a lot in Dubai - up through the cavity, cooling the surface of the window wall.
The exoskeleton is of self-consolidating concrete cast around a "basket weave" of reinforcing steel, with the large circular openings created by inserting cut polystyrene voids in the "basket-weave" rebar matrix. You can see an illustration of the process in photographs accompanying this fine article on Arcspace, from which we've
reiser +umemoto's website also includes their interesting entry in a competition to design a new home for the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. Like everyone else in the world excepting the bunker-loving Gigi Pritzker Pucker, Mayor Daley and their minions, the architects recognize the importance of making a "building that is at once light and inviting." (Since it's designed with Flash, we can't provide a link to the project's page on their website - you just have to burrow to find it.)
In an amazing coincidence, Lucien Lagrange, working independently, completely unaware of reiser + umemoto's design for O-14 , came up with a strikingly parallel concept to counter Mies van der Rohe 860-880 Lake Shore Drive apartments when the Chicago architect assumed he would get his hands on the Athletic Club site right across the street.*
*important note to attorneys here.