Best Skyscrapers

CTBUH Names One Central Park
“Best Tall Building Worldwide” for 2014

Awards Ceremony Also Honors Douglas Durst and Peter Irwin for Lifetime’s Work
November 6, 2014
See all the Winners and Finalists
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) awarded One Central Park, Sydney, Australia, the title of “Best Tall Building Worldwide” at the 13th Annual CTBUH Awards Ceremony and Dinner. As part of a nearly year-long juried selection process across 88 entries, the Awards Jury first selected a Best Tall Building in four regions: the Americas, Middle East and Africa, Europe and Asia & Australasia. Senior representatives of each of these four winners then gave a presentation at the CTBUH Awards Symposium Nov. 6 at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, with the Jury convening immediately afterwards. The winner was announced at the Awards Dinner following the Symposium.

One Central Park, Winner of the Best Tall Building Worldwide
“Every member of the team challenged us to deliver something that was out of the box,” said Michael Goldrick, Project Management Director, Frasers Property, who had presented on the project earlier. “The Ateliers Jean Nouvel team put together challenges we never really envisioned. It really drove us to deliver what I think for Sydney and Australia is a really iconic building.”

“Seeing this project for the first time stopped me dead,” said juror Antony Wood, Executive Director, CTBUH. “There have been major advances in the incorporation of greenery in high-rise buildings over the past few years – but nothing on the scale of this building has been attempted or achieved. One Central Park strongly points the way forward, not only for an essential naturalization of our built environment, but for a new aesthetic for our cities – an aesthetic entirely appropriate to the environmental challenges of our age.”

IIT Dean of Architecture Wiel Arets (left) presents the team from One Central Park with the Best Tall Building Worldwide trophy. From left to right: Wiel Arets, Illinois Institute of Technology; Bertram Beissel, Ateliers Jean Nouvel; Michael Goldrick, Frasers Property; Toru Abe, Sekisui House Australia Pty Ltd; and Robert Bird, Robert Bird Group
“This project was about the visibility of sustainable design,” said Bertram Beissel, Partner, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, during the winning project presentation. “If we do all these sustainable things and no one can see them, do they really exist? The choices we make for a sustainable future cannot be made in the future. They must be made today.”

The audience vote, taken separately, submitted via text message, and kept from the jury’s view until after their verdict had been announced, was also for One Central Park.

Over 500 delegates attended the daytime Awards Symposium featuring presentations by all the winners and featured finalists
Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Awardee Douglas Durst’s is a member of the third generation to lead The Durst Organization, which was founded in 1915 and is one of New York’s oldest and most respected privately held owner-builder-managers of commercial and residential real estate. Since 1968, Durst has shown leadership by making pioneering investments in energy-saving retrofits, and in new-build sustainable skyscrapers, such as One Bryant Park and 4 Times Square (Conde Nast Building).

Peter Irwin, RWDI, winner of the Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal, has led wind engineering on many of the world’s tallest buildings, including the Petronas Towers, Taipei 101, Burj Khalifa, the Trump International Hotel & Tower, and Shanghai Tower. His Irwin Sensor, developed for wind tunnel studies of pedestrian impact, is now widely used at many laboratories around the world, and his work has ensured the safe and stable construction and operation of tall buildings worldwide.

Douglas Durst, The Durst Organization, (left) accepts the Lynn S. Beedle Award from CTBUH Chairman David Malott, KPF Peter Irwin, RWDI, speaks about his career after accepting the Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal
The Interlace, winner of the inaugural Urban Habitat Award, is a 1,040-unit apartment complex consisting of 31 apartment blocks, each six stories tall and 70 meters long, stacked in hexagonal arrangements around eight large-scale, permeable courtyards. The stacking of the volumes creates a topographical phenomenon more reminiscent of a landscape than of a typical building. An extensive network of communal gardens and spaces is interwoven with amenities, providing multiple opportunities for social interaction, leisure and recreation – both on the roofs of, and in between, these stacked horizontal blocks.

Urban Habitat Award Winner: The Interlace The team from The Interlace (center: Tiang Wah Eng, CapitaLand; right: Ole Scheeren, Büro Ole Scheeren) accepts their award from CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood (left)
The International Commerce Centre (ICC), a 484-meter office tower in Hong Kong, has won the inaugural Performance Award. Information collection and sharing is one of the key reasons ICC is this year’s winner. Completed in 2010, the ICC is Hong Kong’s tallest building, but is being recognized for its management team’s devotion to managing the facility from a commercial, environmental and community standpoint. ICC’s energy performance in 2013 placed it among the top 90th percentile of energy-efficient tall commercial buildings. The ICC arrived at this milestone through the combination of a computerized building management system, a policy of replacing underperforming mechanical equipment, and perhaps most importantly, incorporating measurement and reporting into its high-service business model. Each tenant is assigned its own account manager, who provides responsive service, but also encourages tenants to participate in, and undertake their own, energy-saving initiatives. As an economic / commercial validation of this approach, the building is 98 percent occupied.

Performance Award Winner: International Commerce Centre Dakki Hui, Kai Shing Management Services Limited, speaks about the Performance Award Winner International Commerce Centre
BioSkin, a system of water-filled ceramic pipes that cools the exterior surface of buildings and their surrounding micro-climates as used at the NBF Osaki Building in Tokyo, Japan, is the Innovation Award Winner. Based on the traditional Japanese practice of uchimizu, the sprinkling of water to lower ambient temperatures, clean the streets and keep dust at bay, BioSkin absorbs heat through rainwater evaporation through a fine filigree of porous tubes, mitigating the urban heat island effect by cooling the building as well as its immediate surroundings. Through this process, the surface temperature of the building enclosure can be reduced by as much as 12°C, and its micro-climate by about 2°C. The potential implications of this are substantial: If a large number of buildings in a city used such a system, ambient air temperature could be reduced to the point that cooling loads for many buildings, even those without the system installed, could be reduced.

Innovation Award Winner: BioSkin, first used on NBF Osaki Building The team from BioSkin, led by Tomohiko Yamanashi, Nikken Sekkei (center), accepts their award from Awards Jury Chair Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects (left)
Post Tower, a 163-meter office tower in Bonn, Germany, received the 10 Year Award. Completed in 2002, the Post Tower blazed new trails by using technically integrated design to deliver high performance. Its two elliptical volumes, with an atrium between, work together with site and wind orientation, a double-skin, operable façade, and stack ventilation to remove much of the need for mechanical ventilation commonly found in large buildings. This not only allows the building to consume only 75 kilowatt-hours per square meter per year, which is 79 percent less energy than a typical office building of its size; it also makes for pleasant interior sky garden spaces and a more efficient floor plate.

10 Year Award Winner: Post Tower The team from Post Tower (left: Helmut Jahn, JAHN; right: Hans-Dieter Petram, Deustche Post) accepts their award from Awards Jury Chair Jeanne Gang (center)
The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt (EGWW) Federal Building, winner of the Best Tall Buildings Americas award, was an existing 18-story, 512,474 square-foot (47,610 square-meter) office tower, completed in 1974. The building no longer met the functional or the energy and conservation requirements of the contemporary US government, so a major renovation project was undertaken. A mechanical upgrade was paired with a full replacement of the building envelope with a distinctive shading facade, affording better energy performance and a new lease on life.

This project achieves operational sustainability that would be admirable in a brand-new building, let alone a retrofit of a 1970s “energy hog.” The building has been transformed from a bunker-like, concrete-encased mass into a trellised volume that seems more lightweight by an order of magnitude, yet affords more floor space than the previous version. The transformation speaks volumes about the change in attitude of Americans toward their environment, and in the relationship between Americans and their government.

“Improving energy performance is an obligation of the building community, and it’s great to see the government meaningfully participating in that objective,” said Jeanne Gang, awards jury chair and founding principal of Studio Gang Architects. “This renovation project significantly expands the original design’s energy strategies, while, at street level, contributing to a more active urban experience.”

Best Tall Buildings Americas: Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building team accepting their award. Left: Leslie Shepherd, General Services Administration; right: James Cutler, Cutler Anderson Architects
De Rotterdam, winner of the Best Tall Building Europe award, is the largest building in the Netherlands, at 150 meters’ height and 162,000 square meters of area. Its mass is broken down by three interconnected mixed-use towers, accommodating offices, apartments, a hotel, conference facilities, shops, restaurants, and cafes.

De Rotterdam is an exercise in formal interpretation that is at once reminiscent of an imported mid-century American skyscraper, but epitomizes the off-center experimentalism of modern Dutch art of the foregoing century. The nighttime twinkling of the lights indicating different programs throughout the day lends dynamism and contributes to the humanization of the monoliths. It is as if the moai of Easter Island were constantly craning their necks and raising their eyebrows at the change all around.

“This three-tower set acknowledges its inevitability on the skyline, breaking down what could have been an overwhelming mass into digestible parts,” said juror Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. “It demonstrates a confident agility as one shifts perspective and the sun circumscribes it.”

Best Tall Buildings Europe Winner: De Rotterdam
The De Rotterdam team, led by Jos Melchers, MAB Development and Ellen van Loon, OMA, accepting their award from Awards Jury Chair Jeanne Gang
Cayan Tower, winner of the Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa award, is a 75-story luxury apartment building with a striking helical shape, turning 90 degrees over the course of its 304-meter height. Each floor is identical in plan, but is set 1.2 degrees clockwise from the floor below, giving the tower a distinctive form by way of an innovative, efficient, repeatable structure.

In an environment where so many tall buildings lined up in a row against a humid and reflective backdrop can make massive buildings seem like cardboard matte cutouts, it takes an extraordinary design gesture to indelibly express the three-dimensionality of a building. Cayan Tower makes that gesture; happening upon its dancing form in the skyline is like encountering a hula-hooper on a train full of gray flannel suits.

“The intelligent helical design of the Cayan Tower responds to very specific and challenging local conditions, whilst providing a visually striking new landmark for the Dubai skyline,” said juror Sir Terry Farrell, Principal, Farrells. “This building expresses its structure through its form in an elegant and sophisticated way, enhancing the architecture of the existing waterfront site.”

Best Tall Buildings Middle East & Africa: Cayan Tower
The Cayan Tower team (center: George Efstathiou, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; right: William Baker, Skidmore,Owings & Merrill) accepting their award from CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood (left)
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