The lasting power of the tower

The skyscraper is not a new preocupation of the city. In the Middle Ages Bologne was dominated by 180 privately owned towers. These excentric expressions of individual identity reached astonishing heights in excess of 90m. Their construction pushed the limits of engineering and design, driven, much like todays skyscrapers, by a desire to express private wealth and identity. Sadly only a handful remain today. The character and identities of great cities has always been, in part, defined by the ambitions and eccentricities of its wealthy patrons. We would all do well to remember that character is created and not just preserved in aspect.