Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Students Present at CTBUH 2016 International Conference

As part of the design research studio themed “Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: Towards 2050” taught at the College of Architecture by Antony Wood, Illinois Tech research professor and CTBUH executive director, and Peng Du, Illinois Tech visiting assistant professor and CTBUH academic coordinator, 13 students traveled to the Pearl River Delta in China in October 2016 as part of the CTBUH 2016 International Conference, “Cities to Megacities: Shaping Dense Vertical Urbanism.” Funding for Illinois Tech students to conduct this trip was kindly provided by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) and Gensler.


Zahida Khan and Clinson Poon accept the 2016 CTBUH Student Traveling Design Research Studio Award at the CTBUH 2016 International Conference.

This field trip provided students with unprecedented opportunities to participate in lectures, workshops, networking receptions, and urban and tall building tours in a region that offers a global example of the competing pressures highlighted in this course, including massive growth, verticalization, and urbanization.

Additionally, students participated in a studio interim review meeting with global leaders at Gensler, as a special session of the conference coordinated by Du. Du opened with a brief studio introduction and a summary of the studio’s progress. Next, students presented their research and design proposals for future vertical cities in seven different climate zones and terrains before receiving thoughtful critiques.


Students present their work and receive critiques from Gensler leaders.

Upon their return to United States, the students will further develop their design proposals. The final review is expected to be conducted at S.R. Crown Hall in early December 2017.


Students explore local history and culture in Temple Street Night Market in Hong Kong, which is considered to be one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

As a two-semester-long Cloud Studio, semester one is currently focused on addressing sustainability and resiliency in urban environments from the context of accelerating urbanism and climate change, utilizing research and experimental designs in order to recommend where future cities should be located and how they should be planned. Students will continue working during semester two to develop their urban vision in more detail (i.e., at a community/block scale), and specifically to develop the design of one tall building or a cluster of tall buildings within the vision to an advanced level. Gensler will continue supporting the studio throughout the year through a variety of capacities, such as reviews, lectures, tutorials, etc.


The group poses for a photo during the Conference VIP Networking Reception in the Ping An Finance Center, the current tallest building in Shenzhen at 599 meters.