Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Humanity’s aspirations have their most obvious and enduring architectural manifestation in the tall building. Examples range in time and treatment from the biblical Tower of Babel to the boggle-the-mind Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In 2009, Steven Holl, FAIA, set the heroic typology on its side with the Vanke Center, a massive mixed-use building in Shenzhen, China. A new monograph, Horizontal Skyscraper, takes its title from Holl’s nickname for the structure, which floats horizontally over the ground on eight freestanding cores. Essays by Holl, Li Hu, Yehuda Safran, and Lebbeus Woods explain the theory behind the many drawings and photographs of the project. • $35; William Stout Publishers, December 2011