Chicago — The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced the winners and finalists for the CTBUH 2016 Tall Building Awards. This year saw some of the most forward-looking entries yet, with 132 submissions vying for recognition.

The CTBUH Tall Building Awards are an independent review of new projects, judged by a prestigious panel of experts. The Awards aspire to provide a more comprehensive and sophisticated view of these important structures, while advocating for improvements in every aspect of performance, including those that have the greatest positive impact on the individuals who use these buildings and the cities they inhabit.

This year’s winners and finalists have set a new bar for the annual awards program, with many employing inventive solutions that respond to demanding site constraints and prerogatives related to sustainability, seismicity, wind forces, mixed functionality, and a vibrant urban habitat. Others achieve unrivaled iconicity, while introducing groundbreaking structural solutions and spatial arrangements at height.

Award recipients have been recognized across five categories: Best Tall Building Awards – Regional (Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe, and Middle East & Africa), Urban Habitat Award, Innovation Award, Performance Award, and 10 Year Award. Additionally, the Council awards two Lifetime Achievements awards. The recipients of the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award and the Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal will be announced at a later date.

All award winners will be recognized at the CTBUH 15th Annual Awards Symposium, which will take place at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, on November 3. The symposium will be followed by the Awards Ceremony & Dinner in the iconic Crown Hall. At the event, the four regional Best Tall Building winners will compete for the title of Best Tall Building Worldwide, as determined by the Awards Jury on the night.

Best Tall Building Awards

This category recognizes 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. The winning projects exhibit processes and innovations that have added to the profession of design and enhance the cities and the lives of their inhabitants. The Best Tall Buildings have been named for each of four competing regions in the world, from nominees representing a total of 27 countries. Twelve finalists are also recognized as exemplary projects that were among the top candidates under consideration for winner status in each category.

Best Tall Building Americas Winner — VIA 57 WEST, accomplishes the ambitious goal of forging an entirely new high-rise typology. Coined by the architect as a “courtscraper,” the tower is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and the traditional Manhattan high-rise, while combining the advantages of both. It has the compactness, density, and intimacy of a classic courtyard building with the grandeur, airiness, and expansive views of a skyscraper. The building offers a unique vision for the future of the tall building; one that manages to synthesize high-quality and visually appealing architecture with the needs of the client, all without sacrificing environmental performance or residential quality. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia Winner — Shanghai Tower, embodies a new prototype for tall buildings. Placed in close proximity to Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center, the tower rises high above the skyline, its curved façade and spiraling form symbolizing the dynamic emergence of modern China. But its twisting form goes beyond just creating a unique appearance; wind tunnel tests confirm a 24 percent savings in structural wind loading when compared to a rectangular building of the same height. The tower’s program is organized into nine vertical zones. Each of these vertical neighborhoods rise from a sky lobby, a light-filled garden atrium that creates a sense of community and supports daily life with a varied program catering to tenants and visitors. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Best Tall Building Europe Winner — The White Walls has single-handedly transformed the urban silhouette of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, drawing upon its context to deliver a residential-office tower that is unmistakably Mediterranean, yet global influential with its highly successful environmental considerations. The mass of the tower’s white concrete walls is negated by numerous square perforations, from which an assortment of hanging vegetation protrudes. Abundant greenery is also present on its southern balconies, with native plants covering nearly 80 percent of the façade area. The resulting coverage serves to trap carbon dioxide, emit oxygen, and provide energy-saving shade. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa Winner — The Cube, employs a residential design concept that is simple yet extraordinarily effective, rotating and displacing volumes on each floor to offer residents unique outdoor areas and panoramic views of Beirut. The design stacks 14 rotated floor plans on top of a lobby, generating 21 apartments with fluid spaces, large balconies, and wall-to-wall window frames. The structure is unique for utilizing Self-Consolidating Concrete, allowing loads to be directed to four areas of rotated girders on every floor, with no additional structural slabs added to the façades. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Urban Habitat Award

This award acknowledges that the impact of a tall building is far wider than just the building itself, and recognizes significant contributions to the urban realm in connection with tall buildings. Awardees range from brilliantly executed master plans that have led to quality urban environments, down to the scale of a single site, where the interface between a tall building and the urban realm is exemplary. These projects demonstrate a positive contribution to the surrounding environment, add to the social sustainability of both their immediate and wider settings, and represent design influenced by context, both environmentally and culturally.

Urban Habitat Award – Winner — Wuhan Tiandi Site A, is an exemplary urban regeneration master plan that has transformed an underutilized dilapidated district into a true metropolitan community. Located in the Wuhan core area, its ethos is to establish a compact, sustainable, transit-oriented, pedestrian friendly community with walkable blocks and courtyard housing, elements rarely seen in new developments throughout China. The urban form integrates buildings of different heights to create spatial and visual interest. Towers are placed in strategic locations within the community, capitalizing on views of the Yangzi River, and creating valuable settings for landmark towers. The remaining site area is dedicated to an elaborate connective tissue comprising low- and mid-rise blocks, public spaces, and landscaping.

10 Year Award

The 10 Year Award recognizes proven value and performance (across one or more of a wide range of criteria) over a period of time. This award gives an opportunity to reflect back on buildings that have been completed and operational for a decade, and acknowledge projects that have performed successfully long after the ribbon-cutting ceremonies have passed.

10 Year Award – Winner — Hearst Tower, completed in 2006 and built atop the hollowed shell of a 1928 landmark office building, tread new ground in terms of historic preservation when it was completed 10 years ago in New York City. Since then, the tower’s impact on the local and global tall building industry has only become clearer, not least for its forward-looking green strategies. Using 26% less energy than a building constructed to normal code, Hearst Tower features a distinct, thermal efficient diagrid that provides a vast open interior. The building’s unique design saved 2,000 tons of steel, involved 90% of steel made from recycled material, and required only 10% of all materials to be imported during construction, reducing overall cost and emissions.

But these achievements were only the beginning. Since completion the building has continued to receive a number of environmental upgrades, allowing it to keep pace with the latest green standards. Touching on the building owner’s commitment to sustainability, Louis Nowikas, vice president of the Hearst Corporation, stated, “It is not enough to build a green building, we must make sure that the building continues to perform and improve over the long haul. At Hearst Tower, we are proud of the sustainable culture we have created…always asking ‘what’s next’ and not resting on our laurels.” See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Innovation Award

This award recognizes a specific area of recent innovation in a tall building project that has been realized in a design, implemented during construction/operation, or thoroughly tested and documented for its suitability in a high-rise. Unlike the CTBUH Best Tall Building Awards, which consider each project holistically, this award is focused on one special area of innovation within the design, construction, or operation of the project – not the building overall. The areas of innovation can embrace any discipline, including but not limited to technical breakthroughs, construction methods, design approaches, urban planning, building systems, façades, and interior environment.

Innovation Award – Winner — Mega-SuspendedCurtainWallMegaWall2 — The Pin-Fuse is a dual-element structural solution, composed of Pin-Fuse Joints and Pin-Fuse Frames, which slip at pre-set loads to dissipate energy and achieve ductility during seismic events. Ensuring life-safety and collapse prevention performance of structures in moderate and severe earthquakes is generally considered to be a minimum seismic design objective for structures, and is embodied in the codes of most countries. Achieving this objective does not, however, guarantee that a structure can remain in use after a severe earthquake. Damage to components and the permanent drift of a structure often require very expensive repairs and, not infrequently, total replacement of structures. With Pin-Fuse, material yielding and frictional slip allow base structural materials to remain undamaged, thereby reducing associated repairs, offering the potential for increased resilience, lower costs, and enhanced sustainability.

Performance Award

The CTBUH Best Tall Building awards, like most awards programs, recognize new buildings – based partly on the stated intentions of these buildings. However, it is increasingly being recognized that the industry needs to focus on actual “performance” rather than “best intentions.” Thus, the Performance Award recognizes the measured environmental performance of a building or development, and the award goes to the building that has the least environmental impact on the urban realm using measured data.

Performance Award – Winner — TAIPEI 101 already implemented a high level of performance when it was completed in 2004, but this was only the beginning of a 10-plus-year upgrade campaign that has allowed the tower to meet and exceed continuously intensifying green standards recognized around the world. Rigorously adopted and implemented by the management team, the sustainability program for the tower is comprehensive – from the installation of numerous efficient lighting fixtures and plumbing systems, to a robust waste collection system and occupant engagement scheme. Equally successful is the tower’s collection of data, which is examined and reflected upon as systems are further optimized over time.

See more information about the awards and the winning and finalist buildings at