Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH Awards Criteria
With the creation of the new “Urban Habitat Award” in 2014, the CTBUH issues eleven tall building awards annually, as outlined below – nine recognizing excellence in design and construction and two lifetime achievement awards.
► ► Download the Criteria & Information Packet
CTBUH Annual Awards
Please also note that all submitted Best Tall Building projects are profiled in the CTBUH Annual Awards Book, irrespective of whether the project achieves the highest award or not. This book is distributed internationally each year and serves as excellent promotion of the projects, people and innovations included. The intention of the book is to serve as a global snapshot of tall building construction and activity in any given year, and all projects are encouraged for submission for the awards program and, thus, inclusion in the book.

Best Tall Building Awards

View the Past Best Tall Building Award – Worldwide Winners
View the Past Regional Winners:
Americas; Asia & Australasia; Europe; Middle East & Africa


These awards recognize 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 projects must also exhibit processes and/or innovations that have added to the profession of design and enhance the cities and the lives of their inhabitants. Some of the criteria for submission are outlined below. It is important to note that, with the exception of the first point (regarding completion date eligibility), a project does not necessarily need to meet every listed criteria. Submissions should demonstrate strengths in areas that are applicable.

  • The project must be completed (topped out architecturally, fully clad, and at least partially occupied) no earlier than January 1st of the previous year, and no later than October 1st of the current awards year (e.g., for the 2014 Awards, a project must have a completion date between January 1, 2013 and October 1, 2014).

  • The project advances seamless integration of architectural form, structure, building systems, sustainable design strategies, and life safety for its occupants.

  • Exhibit sustainable qualities at a broad level:
    Environment – Minimize effects on the natural environment through proper site utilization, innovative uses of materials, energy reduction, use of alternative energy sources, reduced emissions and water consumption.
    People – Has a positive effect on the inhabitants and the quality of human life.
    Community – Demonstrates relevance to the contemporary and future needs of the community in which it is located.
    Economic – The building should add economic vitality to its occupants, owner, and community

  • The project achieves a high standard of excellence and quality in its realization.

  • The site planning and response to its immediate context ensure rich and meaningful urban environments.

  • The contributions of the project should be generally consistent with the values and mission of the CTBUH.

Additional Notes:
  • Projects submitted to the Best Tall Building Awards must meet the CTBUH definition requirements for a “building,” noting that telecommunications/observation towers are not eligible for CTBUH awards. A tall “building” can be classed as such if at least 50% of its height is occupied by usable floor area.
  • From the four regional awards as outlined above, one project is awarded the honor of overall Best Tall Building “Worldwide" which is judged following the awards symposium and announced at the awards ceremony. Separate submissions for the “Best Worldwide” award category are thus not accepted.
  • Awards in some categories may not be conferred on an annual basis if the criteria cannot be clearly met or demonstrated through the submittal.
  • Jury nominations for all regional winners and the overall building winner must be ratified by the CTBUH Board of Trustees.
► ► Download the Best Tall Building Award Submission Form

Urban Habitat Award

Recognizing that the impact of a tall building is far wider than just the building itself, the CTBUH has introduced a new “Urban Habitat” award in 2014. This award is intended to recognize significant contributions to the urban realm, in connection with tall buildings. Submissions could thus range from a brilliantly-executed master plan which has led to a quality urban environment, or at the scale of a single site, where the interface between tall building and the urban realm is exemplary. Projects should thus 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.

Additional Notes:

  • Submissions can range in scale from a single site to a complete master plan of a neighborhood or city.
  • The site or master plan must be realized at the time of submission; proposals or visions are not eligible. In the case of a master plan, a multi-phase plan that is only partially completed will be accepted, but must be far enough progressed that its urbanistic intent is evident.
  • The “urban habitat” aspect of the project must have been completed and utilized in the two years prior to the current awards year, to have allowed time for the urban habitat to have proven its value (e.g., for the 2014 Awards, a project must have a completion date between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013).
  • Projects that are submitted for the regional Best Tall Building awards are also eligible to submit to the Urban Habitat award in the same year. Projects that have been submitted to the regional Best Tall Building awards in the previous year are eligible for submission for the Urban Habitat award in the subsequent year, as long as the completion criteria is within the dates as outlined above.
► ► Download the Urban Habitat Award Submission Form

Innovation Award

View the Past Tall Building Innovation Award Winners

This award recognizes a specific area of recent innovation in a tall building project that has been incorporated into the design, or implemented during construction, operation, or refurbishment. 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 – thus 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, interior environment, etc. The important criteria for judging is that the submission outlines succinctly the area of innovation, in comparison to standard benchmarks. Please note that the Innovation award can include recognition of a breakthrough that may not yet have been implemented in a specific building, but has been thoroughly tested.

Additional Notes:
  • The project must clearly demonstrate a specific area of innovation within the design and/or construction that is new and pushes the design of tall buildings to a higher level.
  • The area of innovation should demonstrate an element of adaptability that would allow it to influence future tall building design, construction or operation in a positive way. 
  • This award is intended to recognize a single element of innovation within a project. If a single project has multiple innovative elements, these must be submitted as separate nominations.
  • Project’s that are submitted for the regional Best Tall Building awards are also eligible to submit to the Innovation award in the same year. Projects that have been submitted to the regional Best Tall Building awards in previous years are eligible for submission for the Innovation award in future years.
► ► Download the Innovation Award Submission Form

10 Year Award

View the Past Tall Building 10 Year Award Winners

The “10 Year Award” recognizes proven value and performance (across one or more of a wide range of criteria – see below) over a period of time. This award gives an opportunity to reflect back on buildings that have been completed and operational for at least a decade, and acknowledge those projects which have performed successfully long after the ribboncutting ceremonies have passed.

Evidence must be provided of performance in any category, including but not limited to:

  • contribution to urban realm,
  • contribution to culture / iconography,
  • social issues,
  • internal environment / occupant satisfaction,
  • technical/engineering performance (structural engineering, seismic, wind, etc.),
  • environmental performance,
  • fire & safety,
  • vertical transportation,
  • other.
Additional Notes:
  • For a building to be considered for the CTBUH 10 Year Award, it must have been completed between 10–12 years since the current award year. (e.g., for the 2014 award, a project must have a completion date between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2004).
  • A successful submission will show clear evidence of the building’s successful performance over time. It is left to the submitter’s discretion on how to best and most accurately illustrate the building’s performance.
► ► Download the 10 Year Award Submission Form

Performance Award

The CTBUH Best Tall Building awards, like most awards programs, recognize new buildings – based partly on the stated intentions of these buildings. It is increasingly being recognized that the industry needs to focus on actual “performance” rather than “best intentions” and thus, the CTBUH “Performance” award recognizes proven value and performance over a period of time.

The Performance Award will recognize the measured performance of a building or development and the award shall go to the one that has the least environment impact on the urban realm using measured data. The purpose of the Award is to recognize building that excel in their particular condition and as such are comparison with other projects in similar conditions.

The collection and presentation of key data is required and the building must have more than a year of measured data.

Performance can be assessed in any category, including but not limited to: environmental performance, energy use, energy improvements (e.g., reductions for refurbishment), use of natural resources, energy creation, carbon footprinting, etc. The performance should be linked to occupant satisfaction and contribution to urban realm although this will be subjective and shall only be a deciding factor between buildings of similar performance.

Additional Notes:
  • For a building to be considered for the CTBUH Performance award, it must be a minimum of three years since completion and the building should have 70%  occupancy or above.
  • The Performance award will need to show documentary evidence of the building performance, which should be benchmarked.
  • Some form of independent verification should be available
  • It is left to the submitter’s discretion on how to best and most accurately illustrate this performance, but, as an ideal, a submission that shows performance data/metrics against standard benchmarks for a minimum period of one year would be considered excellent documentary evidence.
► ► Download the Performance Award Submission Form

Special Global Icon Award

Note: Global Icon status is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and thus not open for general submission.

The CTBUH Global Icon award is bestowed to a unique tall building for the profound impact it has made, not only on its local/regional context, but on the genre of tall buildings globally. Innovative in planning, design and execution, it will have influenced and re-shaped the field of tall building architecture, engineering, and urban planning. This award is only conferred occasionally, perhaps every ten or fifteen years, and when merited by an exceptional building. The inaugural CTBUH Global Icon award was conferred on the Burj Khalifa in 2010.

This award cannot be applied for and is only bestowed at the discretion of the CTBUH Board of Trustees.

Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award

View the Past Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and thus not open for general submission.


The award recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall building and the urban environment during his or her professional career. These contributions and leadership are recognized by the professional community and have significant effects, which extend beyond the professional community, to enhance cities and the lives of their inhabitants. The individual’s contributions may be well known or little known by the public and may take any form, such as completed projects, research, technology, methods, ideas, or industry leadership.

The candidate may be from any area of specialization, including, but not limited to: architecture, structure, building systems, construction, academia, planning, development or management. The award emphasizes the unique, multi-disciplinary nature of the Council and is thus set apart from other professional organizations’ awards for single disciplines. The candidate may or may not be a member of the Council.

The contributions of the award recipient should be generally consistent with the values and mission of the CTBUH and its founder, Dr. Lynn S. Beedle.

The award is not intended to be awarded posthumously, although it may be so awarded in some cases.

Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Award

View the Past Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and thus not open for general submission.

The award recognizes an individual for his/her demonstrated excellence in technical design and/or research that has made a significant contribution to a discipline(s) for the design of tall buildings and the built urban environment. The contribution may be demonstrated in the form of specific technical advances, innovations, design breakthroughs, building systems integration or innovative engineering systems that resulted in a practical design solution and completion of a project(s). The consideration may be based on a single project or creative achievement through multiple projects.

The candidate may or may not be a member of the Council.

The personal attributes of the award recipient should be of high professional integrity and individual’s contributions generally be consistent with the mission of the Council.

The award is not intended to be awarded posthumously, although it may be so awarded in some cases.

CTBUH Fellows

View the CTBUH Fellows

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and thus not open for general submission.

CTBUH Fellows are recognized for their contribution to the Council over an extended period of time, and in recognition of their work and the sharing of their knowledge in the design and construction of tall buildings and the urban habitat.