An economical and proven building system, high-strength masonry is gaining popularity in high-rise buildings. Because it is both wall and structure, reinforced loadbearing masonry is an all-in-one system that not only reduces construction time and lowers costs but also provides excellent weather protection, subdivides interior space, provides superior fire resistance, forms acoustic barriers, and has thermal mass. HOW IT CAME ABOUT Several key developments helped make high-rise structural masonry possible. These include changes in building code requirements, the use of prism testing, the development of high-strength concrete block and hollow structural brick, and building design concepts. ADVANTAGES Advantages of high-strength masonry include: 1. The same material can be used for both structure and the finished surfaces of the walls. 2. The repetition of fixed separation walls from floor to floor allows faster construction. 3. Because the system uses masonry for both walls and structure, fewer trades are needed. 4. Steel need not be fireproofed because it is protected within the masonry walls. 5. Floor to ceiling heights are reduced because the system has no beams. Structural loadbearing masonry buildings are now seen on the skylines of a growing number of cities in both seismic and non- seismic areas.