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The winner of the annual Emporis Skyscraper Award for the best new skyscraper of the year is a 34-story residential building, VIA 57 West in New York City. The winner was picked by an international panel of experts from a worldwide pool of more than 700 eligible skyscrapers that were completed in 2016 and are at least 100 meters tall. The award, given by Emporis, an international provider of building data, is being presented for the 17th time this year.

The pyramid-shaped winner, designed by Danish architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, was recognized by the award jury for its fascinating and extraordinary shape, which breaks new ground in design. VIA 57 West is a hybrid between a European perimeter block and a classic American skyscraper.

VIA 57 West is a hybrid between a European perimeter block and a classic American skyscraper. Photo: ©Royce Douglas

“It’s impressive how the architect rethinks the whole idea of a skyscraper. The building is a fantastic addition to the New York skyline,” one jury member said.

Claiming the second place is Torre Reforma from Mexico City. With a height of 804 feet, it is Mexico City’s tallest skyscraper and also the world’s tallest exposed concrete structure. The jury specifically praised the intelligent environmental solution for a skyscraper. The building is composed of two exposed concrete walls and one main glass façade. The concrete walls protect the interior from direct sunlight and reduce the cooling load.

Mexico City is known for its high seismic activity. For this reason, Torre Reforma has a triangular footprint and, combined with the latest engineering knowledge, it is supposed to withstand heavy winds and earthquakes for the next 2,500 years.

In third place, the expert jury selected Oasia Hotel Downtown, in Singapore. The project stands out with a red façade and 21 species of plants in 1,793 planter boxes turning into an urban oasis. The building’s façade is overgrown with different vines to ensure it is always lush and resilient during different weather conditions. Moreover, the tower offers four open-sky gardens, which allows wind to pass through the building for good ventilation.

This year, buildings from Asia dominate the Top 10 of the Emporis Skyscraper Award (see Table 1). The winners’ list contains a total of five Asian projects. New York City, known as the world capital of high-rise architecture, wins the top award for the fourth time. The Sofitel in New York was the first building to receive the award in 2000.


Information provided by Germany-based Emporis (www.emporis.com), a provider of information about building and construction projects.

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