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CTBUH honors top innovations in skyscraper design

The Holedeck coffer slab system is among the breakthrough technologies and projects recognized by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat with Performance and Innovation Awards.

July 13, 2015 |
Holedeck, construction, concrete, voided slab, skyscraper, high-rise

Winner of the Innovation award, Holedeck, drastically reduces the vertical space needed to house components such as electricity and plumbing. Photo courtesy Holedeck via CTBUH

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat named the winners and finalists of its annual Performance and Innovation Awards

Based on judgment by a prestigious panel of experts, Chiefly Tower in Sydney, Australia snagged this year’s Performance Award, while the Innovation Award went to Spanish manufacturer Holedeck.

Take a look at a more in-depth profile of the winning innovations, as well as a list of the finalists:


Performance Winner

Chiefly Tower, Sydney, Australia

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (Architects) 

WSP Flack + Kurtz (SE)

The 801-foot tower in downtown Sydney was originally completed in 1992, with 1980s technology. An overhaul was commenced in 2008, where the tower’s key building systems and services were updated to achieve a 4.5 star NABERS Energy Rating.

The CTBUH reports that the project realized a savings of 55 percent in electricity consumption, and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent as well.

Because of all these changes, it was given the Performance Award, which recognizes buildings “that have the least environment impact on the urban realm using measured data,” the CTBUH says, adding that “it is increasingly being recognized that the industry needs to focus on actual ‘performance’ rather than ‘best intentions.’”

“The Technical Awards Jury applauded the efforts to update the energy efficiency of this aging building, both to keep the building competitive with newer structures, as well as addressing critical issues surrounding climate change,” CTBUH says in a statement.

“In a sense, the project gave a ‘new and better life’ to an old asset that was growing less competitive in the market place,” added Ashok Raiji, CTBUH Technical Awards juror and Principal and Mechanical Engineer at Arup.


Innovation Award


Photo courtesy Holedeck via Vimeo


The system of voided concrete slabs by the eponymous Spanish manufacturer can be pierced through their thickness by electrical and plumbing systems, which drastically reduces the vertical space needed to house these components.

Reducing the necessary height of each floor also means fewer materials are required to achieve the same floor area as a typical high rise building.

As a result, the system was recognized with the Innovation Award, which focuses on “one special area of innovation within the design construction, or operation of the project, not the building overall,” CTBUH says in a statement.

Holedeck is a simple and elegant way of creating coffer slabs, with holes in the webs. It overcomes one of the main obstacles to the use of coffer slabs, which is that all services usually have to run below the slab rather than in it. It appears to be particularly suitable for light weight long-span floors or where architects and engineers are interested in making better use of the thermal mass of a concrete coffer slab,” noted Technical Awards Jury Chair and Director, Engineering Excellence Group of Laing O’Rourke David Scott. “The jury felt that some of the best innovations come from simple ideas and HOLEDECK could re-energize this form of construction.”


Other projects and products that made it to the final round of judging were:

• Façade Access Equipment by Lee Herzog Façade Access Constulting for its work on the Burj Khalifa

• The Tao Chu Yin Yuan tower

• Triagrid Sctructural System 

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