There are now only 4 days to our early-bird registration deadline for the Chicago Conference – Evolution of the Skyscraper. Well over 200 people have signed up, from over 25 countries. If we continue at this rate we will surpass the CTBUH 2006 numbers. The sign-up for the Awards Dinner has been so popular that we have now stopped taking bookings. We are looking at ways to squeeze in a couple of extra tables, especially for overseas visitors, but unfortunately it is unlikely we will be able to meet the demand. If table sponsors have space at their tables to accommodate overseas colleagues, please let us know. Please also note that there are plenty of other networking events at the conference, including the accompanying exhibition, the lunches/coffee breaks and of course, the welcome reception at the Trump Tower.
It always gives me a sense of wonder, when I look around the modern world, at the inventions and technologies in use, in nearly every country I visit. Sometimes I feel the building industry is being left behind. Buildings take years from inception to occupation and require massive investment and because of this our clients are suitably cautious and conservative. Clients like to use “tried and tested” technology which often means that they are running at least one cycle behind new developments, and often more. Codes can also constrain us. I seriously doubt that Apple would have invented the I-phone if they had been working to code.
It takes too long to investigate and legislate new ideas into building codes and too long to kill off the bad old ideas that are documented in others. Tall buildings tend to be unique structures and the standard building codes in most countries were not developed for the very tall towers that we are designing today. These codes can make modern skyscrapers more expensive and less safe than a first-principles approach to design. There are so many structural “rules’ in codes around the world that have little or no logic or commonsense.
It seems to me that we are on the cusp of a new evolution of tall building design where performance based approaches are more common, better documented and a consensus is developing on the performance requirements that are appropriate in tall building design. One difficulty with performance based design is that clients often do not understand the impact of the performance objectives and the best way of building a consensus is by Independent Review and by publication. The Council would like to see a more consistent and logical approach to the design of tall buildings and our Seismic Working Group have shown the limitations of seismic codes for tall buildings. Similarly our working groups are developing positions on the fire performance of tall buildings, progressive collapse and wind tunnel testing of tall buildings.
There is an even bigger obstacle to achieving sustainable tall buildings in sustainable cities; and that is the lack of data on how much energy and natural resources buildings consume. Data about real building performance and the real sustainability of cities is starting to emerge and the Council is committed to working with the industry to help define appropriate ways of measuring energy use and comparing performance of buildings. I am very pleased by last week’s announcement from LEED that it will now collect energy use data on all certified buildings.
Our conference The Evolution of the Skyscraper, will address many of these issues and will discuss the challenges and opportunities that face planners, developers, engineers and architects in this new economy, and this new sustainable world. It will be a very interesting time to be in Chicago. The eyes of the world are currently on the city, as the IOC decides on the venue for the 2016 Olympics, and make their announcement only 3 weeks before the CTBUH conference. Those attending our conference will gain an insight into the thought and planning that has gone into the Chicago bid, and the development of Chicago as a truly world city.
Only 4 months after the Chicago conference, the Council is jointly organizing a conference in Mumbai, in conjunction with the local not-for-profit organization, the Remaking of Mumbai Federation. The Mumbai conference, Remaking Sustainable Cities in the Vertical Age will be a triple-track, 3 day event, with a focus on Sustainable Urban Planning and city scale developments. The conference is shaping up to be a major event, and is also attracting considerable interest. For more details and tips, talks and tours, then please check out the web site http://ctbuh2010-india.com.
I look forward to seeing you in Chicago and Mumbai.