CHICAGO — The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has bestowed a new award on the Burj Khalifa. The new “Global Icon” award recognizes those very special tall buildings that make a profound impact, not only on the local/regional context, but on the genre of tall buildings globally.

Innovative in planning, design and execution, the building must have influenced and re-shaped the field of tall building architecture, engineering, and urban planning. It is intended that the award will only be conferred on an occasional basis, when merited by an exceptional project — perhaps every 10 or 15 years.

As explained by CTBUH Awards Chair Gordon Gill, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture: “There was discussion amongst members of the jury that the existing ‘Best Tall Building of the Year’ award wasn’t really appropriate for the Burj. We are talking about a building here that has changed the landscape of what is possible in architecture – a building that became internationally recognized as an icon long before it was even completed. ‘Building of the Century’ was thought a more apt title for it.”

Accepting the award at CTBUH’s Best Tall Buildings Awards Ceremony on behalf of the Burj Khalifa project team was Ali Odeh from Turner International, representing the building’s owner-developer, Emaar Properties, and George Efstathiou of the building’s architects/engineers, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. They were joined by representatives of many of the companies on the project team, including: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Turner International, Samsung, Arabtec, Besix Group, and RWDI, Inc.

“Since the late 1880s, only 16 buildings have claimed the title of ‘World’s Tallest’,” said Antony Wood, CTBUH executive director and awards jury member. “In one’s lifetime, the title may thus only pass hands two or three times, so witnessing the completion of the Burj is something very special. In addition, in the history of the world’s tallest, no building has ever surpassed another by more than 200 or so feet [63 meters], but the Burj has surpassed its predecessor by 1,050 feet [320 meters]. It is almost as tall as placing the Empire State Building on top of Petronas Towers. It is a remarkable achievement for all involved.”

CTBUH Chairman Professor Sang Dae Kim of Korea University added: “Burj Khalifa has redefined a region and a people, created a sense of place for Dubai, advanced the technologies of supertall buildings and established a new benchmark for the integrated practice of architecture and engineering. It is perhaps the greatest architectural and engineering achievement in my lifetime.”

The Best Tall Building Awards are issued annually to give recognition to projects that have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and that achieve sustainability at the highest and broadest level.

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