This episode's vocabulary
- At a premium - if you get something at a premium, you pay a high price for it, esp. because it is not easily available.
- Greenery (noun) - green plants or branches, especially when cut and used as decoration.
- Skyscraper (noun) - a very tall modern building, usually in a city.
- Amenity (noun) - something, such as a swimming pool or shopping centre, that is intended to make life more pleasant or comfortable for the people in a town, hotel, or other place.
- Crane (noun) - a tall metal structure with a long horizontal part, used for lifting and moving heavy objects.
- High-rise (noun) - a tall modern building with many floors.
- Accommodation (noun) - a place to live, work, stay, etc. in.
- Infrastructure (noun) - the basic systems and services, such as transport and power supplies, that a country or organization uses in order to work effectively.
- Large-scale (adj.) - involving many people or things, or happening over a large area.
- Aesthetic (noun) - relating to the enjoyment or study of beauty.
- Shoddily (adj.) - in a way that is careless, of poor quality, and that uses low quality materials.
- To construct (verb) - to build something or put together different parts to form something whole.
- Storey (noun) - a level of a building.
- Dozens (plural) - a large but not exact number.
- To crave (verb) - to have a very strong feeling of wanting something.
- Novelty (noun) - the quality of being new and unusual.
- Inescapable (adj.) - if a fact or a situation is inescapable, it cannot be ignored or avoided
- Building code (noun) - a set of local laws relating to how buildings should be designed or built, especially so that they are safe and of acceptable quality.
- Vindictive (adj.) - having or showing a wish to harm someone because you think that they harmed you; unwilling to forgive.
- Malevolent (adj.) - causing or wanting to cause harm or evil.
- Either-or (adj.) - used to refer to a situation in which there is a choice between two different plans of action, but both together are not possible.
- Inspector (noun) - someone whose job is to officially inspect something.
- Build-up (noun) - an increase in the amount of something over a period of time.
Questions and Answers
M: Why do some people like to live in tall buildings nowadays?
R: Well, space is at a premium, isn't it? And I think most people are living in cities now, aren't they? So rather than expand outwards, many places are building upwards since it's cheaper and more efficient.
M: What are the disadvantages of leaving in tall buildings?
R: Well, it's a pretty serious fire hazard, isn't it? And the lack of greenery and open spaces can be a problem for people both psychologically and physiologically. I don't think many skyscrapers have much in the way of amenities either now that I think about it.
M: Do you think there'll be more tall buildings in the future?
R: Well, it certainly seems to be the case whenever I look around Moscow. You can see cranes constructing more and more high-rises all the time.
M: Why aren't there many tall buildings in the countryside?
R: Well, the concentration of people is lower. So it's just not necessary if we think about accommodation. Oh, the infrastructure is less developed as well so it's generally harder to support large-scale building projects in the middle of nowhere, isn't it?
M: Do you think that in the future, they're gonna start building tall buildings in the countryside?
R: I can't imagine why they would need to. Well, not for accommodation purposes. You don't have that many people. They might undertake some large-scale construction projects, like maybe another Hadron Collider.
M: Does the design of the building influence people's mood?
R: People say this, and I think there might be an element of truth to it, if something is like so badly built that nothing works properly, or if it ruins local sweet spots, for example. By contrast, if it's built to last and fits in with the aesthetic of the area and works well, then people will feel better about it.
M: Do you see that in a badly designed building, people would feel blue and less happy?
R: Well, yeah. But that's not because of how the building looks. That's because like it's shoddily constructed.
M: What types of buildings are the most popular in your country today?
R: Well, there are lots of two to three-storey buildings in Scotland. And they house the apartments and shops. And sometimes they have five or six storeys, but nothing like in Moscow, where you've got some buildings that have dozens of floors, for example.
M: What impact does the climate and the environment have on the design of buildings in different countries?
R: Well, if we take areas with heavy snowfall, for example. And you often see buildings with slopes so that snow can slide off them. In higher buildings, this isn't possible. So they're designed with roof access to allow people to push off the snow that builds up over time. They tend to have stronger roofs in this respect too so they don't collapse in on themselves.
M: So the climate does influence the architecture of different buildings?
R: Well, it influences parts of it. I mean obviously, that won't be the only thing but it has to be taken into consideration.
M: Why do people love modern architecture?
R: Well, people crave novelty. So anything new is welcomed, whether it's architecture or new app on your phone. So I don't think they love modern architecture, just because it's modern architecture. They like it because it's new.
M: Do you think that there should be famous buildings in the country?
R: Well, it's unavoidable since people's memories of events are tied to places where they happen. Like you take the Kremlin, for example. And all of the decisions taken and events that have occurred there and are likely to. It's kind of inescapable.
M: Do you think safety standards are important when building people's homes?
R: Oh definitely. You can't live in a place if you stand a good chance of dying in it. And people spend so much time at home. They deserve a safe place to live.
M: But do you think sometimes safety standards are sacrificed for design?
R: I can't think of a time when that's happened. Oh, well, not in the case of homes anyway. And no, not for people's homes. I can't think of a time when that's happened. Maybe, oh, in favelas in Brazil, for example. There's no building codes. And, you know, I imagine sometimes they collapse. But that's not because people are vindictive or malevolent. That's just because of the situation that people find themselves in there.
M: But sometimes companies use cheap materials or they don't...
R: Well, I don't think people, there aren't any building companies in favelas, people build their own homes there.
M: Hmm, but what about in cities? In large cities, companies don't take care of materials they're
using or they don't control certain things and then the building collapses.
R: Yes. Or even to a lesser extent, there are, oh, you see this in new apartments in Tver, for example. There the ceilings are so low, I don't really know how tall people cope. But again, I suppose that's just because of what they have available to them. They would probably make the case that that's what's happening.
M: Who should be responsible for enforcing strict building codes? The government or the people who build the homes?
R: Well, I don't think that's an either-or situation, do you? I mean it's more a case of the range of options available to both. So the government can hire inspectors to specialize in this area, and go around looking for potential problems, while the people building the homes are already there on the ground to make sure they uphold the laws and codes while the inspectors are elsewhere. So it's a shared responsibility, isn't it?
M: Rory, thank you very much for your answers!
R: I hope there was a nice build-up of vocabulary.
M: It is a nice build-up of vocabulary on buildings and architecture.
M: Yeah, it is a tricky topic, isn't it? Architecture and buildings.
R: Not for me.
M: Yeah. Rory is an educated native speaker so whatever, space, buildings, you know, education, mirrors, make-up.
R: Just don't ask me about cosmetics.
M: Yeah, he can even talk about make-up and cosmetics. So buildings, you say about tall buildings that rather than expand outwards, many places are building upwards.
R: And you build up, though, you expand out. You don't expand up. Well, you could, but it's not normal.
M: Okay. So people are building tall buildings, or many places are building upwards. Yeah. And can we say high buildings?
R: Well, no, high-rise buildings.
M: Right, high-rise buildings, or skyscrapers, or tall buildings, right? People are also tall. But what can be high? High heels?
R: What's the difference between high and tall? Come on. Why do we use different words? Because in Russia it's the same word.
M: Yeah, in Russian it's the same word, maybe in your language, dear listener, it also is the same word. It's just collocations are different. We say like tall buildings, but high hills.
R: Is it not something to do with the position of something. Something tall is touched to the ground in some way, whereas something high is not necessarily touched the ground. It could be talking about the roof of the building, for example, it's quite high up. So here we're talking about a specific point in space that is unattached to the ground by anything that we're thinking about.
M: Wow. Yep. That's quite logical.
R: As opposed to tall like, you could say that Vanya is a tall person because he's standing up. He's on the ground.
M: Right. But high heels. Heels are attached to the shoe.
R: Well, yes, but the heel is, I suppose you could argue that the heel of the person is not on the ground.
M: Right. Yeah, yeah.
R: Because it's emphasizing this point that it's in the air. Because it's high. It's up. It's off the ground.
M: Yeah. And we say like, my foot, and the heel of my foot. This parts of the foot. Yeah. And also, like, shoes have heels. So that's a bit confusing. All right. What are the drawbacks of living in tall buildings? And you said serious fire hazards.
R: Yeah, like, I think if you have a fire in a tall building, it could be like a really big problem and lots of people die. When 9/11 happened, there was a huge problem with like, the fire was the thing that they targeted first. Obviously, the firefighters went there to put out the fire as quickly as possible because it would just spread upwards and kill lots of people.
M: Yeah, we see fire hazards, right? So hazard like, dangers. So dangerous of fires, right? So serious fire hazards. And you can also mention lack of greenery, greenery like green bushes and flowers. So no greenery and lack of open spaces. So lack of space in tall buildings. Also, you've used amenities, you say amenities, but also we can say amenities. Right?
R: Yeah. So that's, well, things that are designed to make life more comfortable like, well, usually people think about it in terms of bathrooms, but of course big buildings have bathrooms but they don't have things like shops, food courts. This kind of thing. Although I suppose in modern skyscrapers, it could be the case.
M: Yeah, in modern skyscrapers they have swimming pools and headdresses, whatever. We call them amenities or facilities.
R: There's a great one, at Kuntsevo Plaza, they have a swimming pool about midway up, and you can see, you shouldn't be able to though cuz that's like a violation of people's privacy.
M: Some skyscrapers have skating rinks.
R: Really? Cool. But obviously, they have less because there's less space.
M: Yeah. Yeah.
R: Sorry. They have fewer amenities because they have less space.
M: Yes, true. Now it's grammatically correct. So amenities, amenities, or facilities. You've used this nice word, you can see cranes constructing high-rise buildings. So what do you call this machine? That's a crane.
R: That's a mistake, though, because the cranes don't do the constructing, they just carry the materials. But you know what I mean? Like they use a crane to build a building. It's fine.
M: Yeah, yeah. And when you see like, something's being been, is being, being, being, something's being, being, something's being built. Right. This language...
R: I liked your first one.
M: Something's being built. You see this huge thing. So yeah, it's a crane. Large-scale building projects. Another good collocation.
R: Yeah. Well, large-scale building projects is just building a big building.
M: Yeah, for example, in the countryside, it's hard to support large-scale building projects.
R: I'm trying to think of like an example of a large-scale building project in the countryside. Is the Large Hadron Collider? Hold on a sec.
M: Okay, dear listener, he is checking some technical stuff. I don't think that they are building skyscrapers in the countryside really. Hmm. How is it in your place? I wonder. In Moscow, we have the Moscow City with Moscow skyscrapers. And we have some random skyscrapers scattered around the city. Yeah, so we don't have this in uniform. So it's like skyscrapers are all over the place. But not as many as in New York, of course. So Rory?
R: So the Large Hadron Collider is on the border between France and Switzerland.
M: Is it a tall building?
R: No, but it's a large-scale construction project.
R: Which is what I was thinking of, and it does cover parts of the countryside actually. However, that is a really specific project, you know.
M: Yeah, but the question is, was also about tall buildings, right. So why aren't there many tall buildings in the countryside? So?
R: Well, the Large Hadron Collider doesn't have tall buildings? It must have tall buildings. Hold look, look there. Yes, it does. There's like, there are towers as well.
M: Oh, okay. Towers. Okay, that sounds tall enough. So also, you can say that tall buildings don't fit in with the aesthetic of the area. That's a nice reason.
R: Yeah. So the aesthetic of the area is just like how it looks.
M: Yeah. The beauty of the area.
R: Well, not necessarily, like, if it's aesthetically pleasing then is beautiful. But the aesthetic of the area is just how it looks. Like, if you think about, oh, God, the aesthetic of a town like Magnitogorsk, which is just like a big factory. Then if you build like, a nice, pretty Cathedral there, it would look really weird because everything around is just factories.
M: Yeah, yeah. Or if you just are in a nice green countryside and there's this skyscraper out of concrete and glass, like, whoa, that's weird. It's out of place. A tall building has storeys, or any building has like storeys. For example, I can say I live in a two-storey house. Storey. It's spelled s t o r e y s. So story meaning like floors.
R: Yeah. This is more common in the UK I think. You don't really see this in American English. I've never seen it.
M: So you can say like, oh, a 50 storey building. Right?
R: That'd be pretty big in the UK.
R: Are there buildings that tall in the UK? 50 storeys is huge.
M: Yes. It's big. Or you can say like, okay, there are 10 storey buildings, 20 storey buildings, right? And then you use a synonym, you say, dozens of floors. So floor is also like a storey, right?
R: It's probably easier to say floor, but if you run out of synonyms, then just say storey. Storey is a band nine word for sure. No one uses... Yes.
M: Yeah. Because it's confusing, like a story. Oh, that's a good story. No, I mean five storeys. Like a building.
R: I remember being in primary school and when someone like, said, oh, it's a multi-storey building. I was like, what does that mean? Like, lots of things happen there?
M: Yeah, a lot of stories in this building. Yeah, a multi-storey building, by the way. Yep. And, for example, in Moscow, many people live in block of flats. I live in a block of flats. So in a building.
R: Not many people live in houses here.
M: Some people live in houses.
R: Super rich people.
M: No, rich people. Yeah, yeah. But again, we have an extensive countryside outside Moscow.
R: It's called the rest of the country.
M: Yeah, and there there are usually, there are like two-storey buildings, houses, Russian style houses. Or again, there are mansions, the really rich houses.
R: What is a Russian-style house?
R: Like Baba Yaga?
M: Yes, Baba Yaga.
R: So all the Russian houses walk on chicken legs?
M: A typical Russian house would be with a grandmom. And it's going to be in the countryside with a garden with potatoes and carrots. It's like a lovely cottage. Two-storey cottage out of wood.
R: I want to live there? How much? I buy!
M: I'll tell you. Yeah, you can transfer all your money to this account using my phone number. Right now. Yes. Anyway, why do people love modern architecture? One of the reasons could be people crave novelty. Crave novelty. What?
R: It's just another way of saying people want new things. You see this when like, the latest iPhone comes out or something. People are like, I must have the iPhone even though it's only like to me one nanosecond faster than another phone. Like, the last four I should say. I think that's ridiculous. But that's the reason why people do it is because their brains are wired to like enjoy new things.
M: Yeah. So novelty, meaning new things. People crave something, they want it very much, right? Can I say, oh, I crave...
R: A cigarette?
M: I crave a cigarette. Okay, can I say I crave living in a tall building? I crave living in a skyscraper.
R: I can't imagine like, people would crave something like that.
M: But technically is the sentence correct?
R: Technically yeah. It's more common to say I'd like to live in a large skyscraper. You usually crave something that's difficult to come by or it's like a product. You don't really crave like, a prolonged experience. Yeah.
M: Okay, nice.
R: It usually is to do with consumption, though. You don't really consume diamonds. You usually crave cigarettes, crave novelty, and you consume the experience and then that happens. So you crave things that you can consume and enjoy.
M: Crave adrenalin?
R: Yes, but they don't crave the adrenaline, they crave the rush that the adrenaline creates. Because that's the experience they consume when they do all these sports, for example.
M: People crave adrenaline rush. All right.
R: It's an energy drink. They should pay us for a sponsorship.
M: So when you talk about famous buildings, well, yeah, famous buildings are called landmarks. Famous sites like the Kremlin. Like Stonehenge. No, Stonehenge is not a building.
R: No, Stonehenge is a landmark or a monument.
M: Just some stones.
R: It's not a bunch of stones. It's an ancient historical site of great significance.
M: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever. Thrown by the devil himself.
R: How would you like it if I said that about... There's a similar site in Russia. It's called the Russian... What's the name of that place in Peru?
M: Machu Picchu.
R: Yeah, the Russian Machu. What's that called?
M: We don't have it.
R: You do. There's a Russian Machu Picchu. Claire's been there. It's filled with dead people.
R: Yeah, there's a crypt and all kinds of things there.
M: So apparently, Rory knows more about Russian culture than me. Well, I've been to Peru. I visit Machu Picchu by the way. Okay. Well, at least I know about Peruvian Machu Picchu. And I don't know anything about Russian Machu Picchu. Anyway, so the Empire State Building, for example, is a famous building.
R: Oh, it's, um, hold on a second. It's the ancient ghost. They're in Dagestan.
M: No, Rory, I'm into food. I'm into more material things rather than Russian Machu Picchu.
R: Well, you might not be into your food after you go to these places.
M: I don't think it's ancient. They might have built it like 10 years ago. Russian Machu Picchu. Yay. Visit. All-inclusive pass, only 5000 rules with a guide. For tourists like Rory.
R: It's called Gamsutl.
M: Is it in the mountains?
R: Well, it's Dagestan, everything's in the mountains.
M: Okay. Well, yeah. When we talk about safety, we talk about building codes. Strict building codes.
R: It's 5000 years old.
M: Oh my God!
R: They didn't have building codes 5000 years ago, and it's important to point out that building codes is just another way of saying like the rules for buildings basically.
M: Yep. Yep. And we should follow the building codes. And there should be some strict rules on what to do in case of fire hazards and inspectors. Inspector.
R: Inspector Gadget. Sorry.
M: Safety inspectors control this situation and write this strict building codes.
R: Well, they don't know, the inspectors enforce the code. The code is written by bureaucrats and the government somewhere. Civil servants.
M: Yeah, we enforce law, and we enforce building codes. Thank you very much for listening. Now, we're all done with tall buildings, architecture, and your favorite tall building.
M: Say thank you.
R: Oh, thank you.
M: For listening.
R: Oh, yes. Thank you for listening! Anything else I should say?
M: Yes. Now say bye and smile.
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