New York Times building, Shanghai World Financial Center among 'Best Tall Building' award winners

November 10, 2008 |

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced the winners of its annual “Best Tall Building” awards for 2008, recognizing one exceptional tall building from each of four geographical regions around the globe for seamless integration of sustainable design strategies, architectural form, structure, building systems, and life safety for the building’s occupants.

The “Best Tall Building” winners for 2008 are:

• Americas - The New York Times Building, New York

• Eurupe - 51 Lime Street, London

• Middle East/Africa - Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama

• Asia/Australia - Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai

One of these four winning buildings will be deemed the Best Tall Building Overall on November 20, 2008, at the CTBUH Awards Dinner in Chicago.

“Each year, the CTBUH Awards recognize the finest and most innovative work happening in tall building design, and this year we were keenly aware of advancements made in integrating sustainable design elements with meaningful results,” said Timothy Johnson, CTBUH awards committee chairman and design partner with global design firm NBBJ. “This year’s winners achieve an exceptionally high standard of excellence and quality in the realization of built form. Moreover, the environmentally responsible elements incorporated into each building’s construction are helping drive the emergence of new methods to preserve urban quality of life for future generations.”

Begun several years before environmentalism became more mainstream a concern in the design and construction industries than it is now, the winning buildings are the result of vision and leadership far beyond the commercial norm. The New York Times Building incorporates horizontal ceramic façade rods that shield the external glass envelope from direct sunlight and thus reduce internal heat gain. Deep envelope fins on London’s 51 Lime Street play a similar role in shading the building’s façade. The Bahrain World Trade Center is the first commercial building in the world to utilize large-scale wind turbines to generate an alternative energy supply. The innovative structural design of the Shanghai World Financial Center greatly reduces the amount of structural material – and thus embodied energy – in the design overall.


“Beyond their functional purposes, the ‘green’ aspects of these tall buildings indicate a new emerging aesthetic for the skyscraper, an aesthetic based on sustainability,” said Antony Wood, CTBUH Executive Director. “Though we are beginning to now see sustainability affecting both the form and expression of tall buildings more and more, I believe we’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities that sustainable innovation holds for the beauty, relevance and splendor of skyscrapers and urban landscapes around the world.”

The CTBUH also announced the winners of its two lifetime achievement awards, the Lynn S. Beedle Award and the Fazlur Rahman Khan Medal. The former, which recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment during his or her professional career, has been awarded to Cesar Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. The latter, recognizing an individual for demonstrated excellence in design and/or research that has made a significant contribution to the design of tall buildings and the built urban environment, has been awarded to engineer William F. Baker of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.

“Cesar Pelli and William Baker are both widely-recognized innovators in the world of architecture and engineering, and we applaud their advancement of a more environmentally sensitive future that includes sustainably designed tall buildings,” said David Scott, Chairman of CTBUH and a Principal at Arup. “Mr. Pelli, the author of numerous published works and the former dean of Yale University’s School of Architecture, certainly merits his selection as one of the 10 most influential living American architects by the American Institute of Architects. Mr. Baker’s body of work combines quality and innovation with material economy and cost efficiency to create remarkable tall building structural systems. CTBUH is honored to have the opportunity to celebrate their work and their lives.”

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