CTBUH Names Best Tall Buildings for 2012

Absolute Towers ©TomArban

Dramatic towers in Canada, Qatar, Australia and Italy have been named the best tall buildings in the world for 2012 by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the international not-for-profit association based at IIT.

The four regional winners include the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada (Americas); 1 Bligh Street, Sydney (Asia and Australia); Palazzo Lombardia, Milan (Europe); and Doha Tower/BurjQatar, Doha (Middle East and Africa).

The Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi won the CTBUH’s first Innovation Award for the project’s computer-controlled sun-screen.

In addition to ground-breaking designs, this year’s award winners demonstrate the continued renaissance of tall building development around the world. Palazzo Lombardia is the first tall building in Italy to earn CTBUH recognition and 1 Bligh is the first building in Australia honored.

A record number of towers of height greater than 200 meters were completed in 2011–88 compared to 32 in 2005, according to CTBUH data. Another 96 are projected to complete this year, with China the biggest builder.

“The winners display remarkable creativity, as well as a respect for the environment, connection with place, and the urban surroundings,” said Richard Cook, awards committee chairman and founding partner of Cook+Fox Architects.

An overall winner for the “Best Tall Building Worldwide” will be named at the CTBUH 11th Annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Illinois Institute of Technology, October 18, in the iconic Crown Hall, designed by Mies van der Rohe.

1 Bligh - ingenhoven architects + Architectus / H.G. Esch, Hennef

The CTBUH Best Tall Building Awards are an independent review of new projects, judged by a panel of industry executives. Projects are recognized for making an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for achieving sustainability at the broadest level.

This year the CTBUH Board of Trustees also awarded the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award to Helmut Jahn, the architect known for his simple and elegant designs.

Past winners of the Lynn S. Beedle Award, named after the founder of the CTBUH, include Lord Norman Foster, Cesar Pelli, William Pedersen and the 2011 winner, Adrian Smith of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

The Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal went to Charles Thornton & Richard Tomasetti, founders of Thornton & Tomasetti, the structural engineers who helped design many of the most innovative and advanced tall buildings around the world.

The recognition of Mr. Thornton and Mr. Tomasetti represents the first time the panel has awarded the prize to two people.

“Charlie and Richard are one of the industry’s enduring great partnerships in structural engineering, reminding us that no building is about one single person,” said Timothy Johnson, Chairman of the CTBUH and a Principal at NBBJ Architects.

The Council received 78 entries from around the world for the Best Tall Building awards. The majority of the entries were from Asia, followed by the Middle East. The number of entries from the Americas continued to decline, reflecting the impact of the recent global recession.

Winners and finalists are featured in the annual CTBUH Awards Book, which is published in conjunction with a major global publisher and distributed internationally each year.