CTBUH names best tall buildings for 2012

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) named the best tall buildings in the world for 2012, with the list including towers in Canada, Qatar, Australia and Italy.

These towers highlight the continued renaissance of tall building development worldwide, as a record number of 88 tall buildings soaring over 200 meters were completed in 2011, compared to 32 buildings in 2005. Another 96 tall buildings are projected to be competed this year, with China being the largest contributor.

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 in Doha, Qatar (Middle East and Africa). Additionally, Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi won the CTBUH’s first Innovation Award for the project’s computer sun-screen.

The Best Tall Building Americas winner is Absolute Towers by MAD architects in Mississauga, Canada. The Tower 1 is 588.9 feet tall, while Tower 2 is 158 meters tall. Dubbed the “Marilyn Monroe” building due to its curves, this is expected to be finished this August.

The winner for Best Tall Building Asia & Australia is 1 Bligh Street by ingenhoven architects in Sydney, Australia. Standing 518.3 feet high, it was completed in July 2011. The elliptical tower is Australia’s tallest naturally ventilated skylit atrium, trimmed in glass and aluminum, which soars the full height of the building. Other innovations include a double-skin, naturally-ventilated glass façade and a hybrid system using gas and solar energy to generate cooling, heating and electricity for the building. 1 Bligh Street is the first tall building in Australia honored by CTBUH.

Absolute Towers (Courtesy of MAD Architects)

Al Bahar (Courtesy Aedas)


The winner for Best Tall Building Europe is Palazzo Lombardia by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in Milan, Italy. With a height of 528.2 feet, the building was completed in March 2011. Palazzo Lombardia, the first CTBUH award winner from Italy, is anchored by a 524.9-foot-tall tower, offering a variety of open spaces and passageways to link the project to the nearby Pirelli Tower. Sustainability measures include green roofs and active climate walls with vertical blades that rotate to provide shade. The central piazza is covered by curved glass roof, recalling Milan’s famous Galleria.

The Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa winner is Doha Tower by Ateliers Jean Nouvel in Doha, Qatar. The 780.8-foot building completed in March boasts a cylindrical form, and a façade constructed of multi-layered patterns invoking ancient Islamic screens designed to shade buildings from the sun. The Doha tower is the first tall building to use a reinforced concrete dia-grid columns in a cross shape. There is no central core, maximizing the interior space available for tenants.

The winner of the Tall Building Innovation Award is Al Bahar Towers by Aedas Architects Ltd in Abu Dhabi, UAE. With a height of 475.7 feet, the building completed in June has a dynamic façade that opens and closes in response to the movement of the sun, reducing solar gain by more than 50 percent. The façade was conceived as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Islamic “mashrabiya,” a popular form of wooden lattice screen found in vernacular Islamic architecture and used as a device for achieving privacy while reducing glare and solar gain.

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, on Oct. 18, in the Crown Hall, designed by Mies van der Rohe.

Jurors included: David Scott, head of structural engineering, Laing O’Rourke; Werner Sobek, founder Werner Sobek Group; Antony Wood, executive director, CTBUH; and Chris Wilkinson, principal and founder of Wilkinson Eyre Architects. Richard Cook, the founding partner of Cook+Fox Architects, served as awards committee chairman.

Doha Tower (Courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel)


Like this story? Subscribe to Hotel Design!

Hospitality professionals turn to Hotel Design as their go-to news source for the latest products, projects, and trends for hotel interior designers and architects. Sign up today to get news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.