Skyscraper Awards Spotlight Originality

Commercial News » Commercial Real Estate Edition | By Kevin Brass | July 15, 2010 3:49 PM ET

Pondering this year's Best Tall Building award winners, architecture geeks will find much to love and loath.

The annual awards, presented by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, recognize projects that have made "extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and that achieve sustainability at the highest and broadest level."

In others words, skyscrapers must show something more than a little flash and sparkle to win. To their credit, CTBUH judges don't simply pander to the outrageous towers designed to gain attention, projects that offer plenty of bells and whistles on the outside, but little engineering on the inside.

That said, skyscrapers are meant to be ostentatious and grand, jaw-dropping and brash, inspiring devoted followings with their flair. Some may disagree, but this year's regional winners deliver the goods:

award-tall-building-europe.jpg Europe
Broadcasting Place
Leeds, United Kingdom
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Judges noted that the irregular elevations, a key part of the design, were tailored to optimize daylight and reduce solar penetration. "An innovative analysis of the building facades was undertaken, to calculate the optimum quantity and distribution of glazing/shading at all points on the façade in order to ensure high levels of natural day lighting but without overheating."

award-tall-asia.jpg Asia Australia
Pinnacle @ Duxton
ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism

A massive public housing project with more than 1,800 units in the center of the city manages to offer livability by "weaving continuous Sky Gardens on the 26th and 50th stories through all seven of the tower blocks."

award-tall-americas.jpg Americas
Bank of America building
New York
Cook+Fox Architects LLP

The Bank of America building was honored for its "exceptionally high indoor environmental quality," thanks to "hospital-grade, 95 percent filtered air; abundant natural daylight; an under-floor ventilation system; round-the-clock air quality monitoring; and views through an exquisitely clear, floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall."

award-tall-burj.jpg Middle East & Africa
Burj Khalifa
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Honoring the world's tallest building is a bit of a no brainer, but judges note the "unprecedented height of the Burj Khalifa required design techniques, building systems, and construction practices to all be rethought and in many cases new applications developed in order to create a practical and efficient building."

The CTBUH will name an overall Best Tall Building in October. Last year's overall winner was the Linked Hybrid Building in Beijing.

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