residential tower

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Kacy.H

Senior Member
Chinese
Central Park Tower, a 1,550-foot skyscraper under construction in Midtown, soon to be the tallest residential tower in the city. (the New York Times)

Hello, people. Can I call any tall residential building a residential tower?
For example, if I live in an average tall building in the city center, can I say I live in a tall residential tower in the city center?

I don't know when I can use 'tower'!
Many thanks!
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I have heard of the "Trump Tower", but in Britain I think we tend to use the term "block" more than "tower" to refer to a tall building.
    There is also a "tower block".
    I think that in America a "block" usually means something else - an area of land between streets, regardless of whether it contains only a single tall building.
     

    Kacy.H

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Britain I think we use the term "block" more than "tower".
    There is also a "tower block".
    I live in a tall block in the city center.
    I live in a tall block building in the city center.
    I live in a tower block in the city center.

    teddy, do I use them correctly? Thank you!
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    I wouldn't use 'residential tower' for a random tall residential building.
    The context is important. There are five or six extremely tall, narrow residential buildings being constructed in Manhattan right now. They're much higher than anything around them, and they have altered the skyline greatly. To me, 'tower' (noun) implies that the building 'towers' (verb) over the buildings around it, whether or not that's physically true. 'Tower' in this context and, I think, in the names of buildings like Trump Tower convey the idea that one should think of the building as impressive, not just tall.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think the key is more on the word residential than tower.

    Most very tall buildings, which can be called towers, in the past and probably still today are commercial buildings - company headquarters, leased office space, etc.

    So the writer is saying this is, by contrast, a residential tower. It's dedicated to living space, not commerce. The characteristics are somewhat different. It's not the tallest skyscraper in the city, it's specifically the tallest skyscraper devoted to being a living space.

    (I don't hear the word skyscraper much any more, actually. I wonder if the wonder has worn off that word.)
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    I agree with kentix and add that 'skyscraper' is used frequently in the New York Times, but probably in contexts that are not particularly informal. I'd guess it's been replaced by 'high-rise' in ordinary informal AmE.
    'Residential high-rise' and 'apartment high-rise' refer to the same type of structure.
    I can't think of any other word that people use commonly as a general term for such residential buildings.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I would call it a high-rise building. That would be normal for me. Only one building in the city I live in is over 1000 feet and that's not residential.

    We had a building about 800 feet with Tower in its name but it got bought and renamed so now it doesn't include the word Tower.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I agree skyscraper is not common in current usage.

    In my city, there are some older brick apartments down town that are 5 stories maximum, and a lot of 3 story wooden apartment buildings built since the 1960s.

    Now we are building a lot of concrete highrise apartment or condo buildings. Most of them are at least 20 stories. I don't know what the cut off height is to call something a highrise. There are some buildings built say 30 years ago that are about ten stories and still look like high rises in their predominantly lowrise neighborhoods.

    I do see phrases like "luxury towers" in promotional material, and if the developer needs to, they could specify "we will have xxx amount of office space, xxx amount of retail space, and three residential towers in the new project.

    But the people who buy those apartments will just say "I live in a highrise."
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I've seen the word condo a lot online. But the dictionary says it's a informal word, so I hesitate to use it. Is it really informal?
    Condo is an abbreviation of condominium. I suppose in some print genres you might need the full word. But people rarely say it, and around here it's a major form of housing so people say condo a lot.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, condo isn't slang or an among-friends-only type word. It's very commonly used because condominium is a long word and a bit annoying to say repeatedly. However, a legal document would surely use the word condominium.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    'Condo (or condominium)' and 'condo apartment' are phrases that designate the type of ownership of the apartment.
    Those phrases nothing to do with the physical size of the building. A condo building can be three stories high or 30 stories high.
    I'd call anything over 20 stories a highrise, but in a neighborhood where all the other buildings are, for example, no more than four stories high, a highrise might be 12 stories high. To me, anything over 10 or 12 stories high has to be considerably taller than it is wide in at least one horizontal dimension to be called a highrise. Otherwise it's just a big apartment building.

    NOTE to English learners:
    'Condo' (the building and apartment type) is completely different from 'condom' (aka, contraceptive sheath, prophylactic). A couple of etymologies have been suggested for the latter. Don't confuse them in speaking or writing.
     
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