Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Council History

CTBUH Original Logo     

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat was founded by Lynn S. Beedle in 1969 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Prior to 1976, the CTBUH was known as the "Joint Committee on Tall Buildings," a joint group originally formed by the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1969.

In 2003 the Council moved from Pennsylvania to the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, USA. The next 13 years saw tremendous growth for the Council, with a Research & Academic office opening at the Iuav University of Venice, Italy in 2014 and an Asia Headquarters office opening at Tongji University, Shanghai in 2015. 

Having outgrown the space available at its IIT headquarters, in 2016 the Council expanded into the historic Monroe Building in downtown Chicago and established a Research & Academic office in the space remaining at IIT campus.

The following historical articles were compiled as part of the Council's 40th Anniversary celebration in 2009 when the CTBUH Commemorative Brochure was produced.

40 years of the CTBUH . Origins of the CTBUH

CTBUH Founder, Lynn S. Beedle, gives his personal account of the origins of the Council, as a joint activity between the IABSE and ASCE organizations, and some reflections on the earliest days of the Council.

Historical Timeline of the Council

A graphic timeline of the Council's first 40 years. The timeline includes significant events in the Council's history running parallel to the timeline of all buildings which have held the title of "The World's Tallest Building" since the Council's inception.

Significant CTBUH People/Contributions

Throughout its history, the Council has relied on the largely volunteer input of many individuals to carry out its mission and drive its initiatives. This chart traces the involvement of many of these individuals through the 40 years of the Council.

History of Measuring Tall Buildings

This article describes some of the events which took place in the Council's long, and sometimes complex, history of measuring tall buildings, from the perspective of the CTBUH Database Editor.

Petronas vs. Sears Tower Controversy

The Council found itself the center of international media interest in 1996 following its controversial ruling that declared Petronas Towers would become the "World's Tallest Building," taking the title from Chicago's Sears Tower.

40 years of the CTBUH History of Publications

By 2009, 40 years of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat had produced 168 CTBUH and CTBUH-affiliated books and publications totaling around 53,000 pages.

Past CTBUH Chairman Reflections from CTBUH Leaders

A collection of reflections from CTBUH Leaders, which highlight the Council's fruitful existence through four decades. In their writings, these notable individuals demonstrate the mutual respect and admiration that serves as a cornerstone to the Council's collaborative structure.

Highlights from "The Times"

From 1970 to 2002 the CTBUH issued a newsletter called "The Times" to its membership. Totaling 105 issues before transitioning to the digital newsletter we have today, "The Times" provides a historic account of Council activity.