Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH 11th Annual Awards, 2012

Doha Tower Named Best Tall Building Worldwide

Awards Ceremony Honors Jahn, Thornton and Tomasetti for Stellar Careers

October 19, 2012

See all the Winners and Finalists
Read an overview of the afternoon's Symposium that preceded this event

The distinctive and innovative Doha Tower, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, was named Best Tall Building Worldwide by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in a ceremony Oct. 18  in the Illinois Institute of Technology’s seminal Crown Hall.

 
Doha Tower, Winner of the Best Tall Building Worldwide
Doha Tower team accepts Best Tall Building Worldwide and Middle East & Asia awards. From left to right: Richard Cook, 2012 Awards Chair; Hassan Al Duhaimi, HBS Company; Hafid Raken, Ateliers Jean Nouvel; and Peter Terrell of Terrell Group

The announcement of the worldwide award winner capped the CTBUH 11th Annual Awards Symposium, Ceremony and Dinner, a day and evening affair that attracted industry professionals from around the world. The events started in the morning with a full-day free symposium featuring presentations by all the award winners, as well as finalists and the lifetime achievement honorees.

Two hundred and eighty guests attended the 11th Annual Awards Ceremony & Dinner in S.R. Crown Hall, Chicago

Doha Tower, first named the Best Tall Building in the Middle East & Africa, was chosen for the overall Best Tall Building Worldwide, only after a heated debate among jury members in the regional category, according to awards chairman Richard Cook,  partner in Cook + Fox Architects. Special recognition was made during the awards ceremony to the finalist in the Middle East, Al Hamra Firdous Tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

But ultimately the cylindrical tower in Doha with its unique shading system won out as a “project that only makes sense in this particular place,” Mr. Cook said.

Looking up the side of Doha Tower at night

The building was honored for incorporating elements of traditional regional design with modern technologies to create an environmentally-sensitive icon for Qatar’s capital. The eye-catching facade is constructed of multi-layered patterns invoking ancient Islamic screens designed to shade buildings from the sun.

“Doha Tower stands out for its deft and subtle sensitivity to culture, context, and climate,” the jury decided. “The design hints at post-modernism, but avoids this pitfall through the interpretive re-use of indigenous elements such as the mashrabiya, which varies in its density across the façade in response to solar orientation. The strength of the proposal is in its unapologetic connection to culture and place, and stands as a successful precedent of cultural iconography.”

 
Interior of Doha Tower Dome
Facade of Doha Tower

Doha Tower is the first tall building to use reinforced concrete dia-grid columns internally. There is also no central core, maximizing the interior space available for tenants.

“Doha Tower is an excellent example of an efficient modern tower that is inspired by its local culture and setting,” said Antony Wood, executive director of the CTBUH. “In an age of homogenized slick towers globally, Doha Tower is rooted to its place. This is not a non-specific icon which you could drop into any city of the world”

The award was presented by Dutch architect Wiel Arets, the new dean of the IIT College of Architecture.

In addition to naming the Worldwide Winner, Thursday night’s ceremony honored the other regional winners--the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada (Americas); 1 Bligh Street, Sydney (Asia & Australia); and Palazzo Lombardia, Milan (Europe).

Antony Wood (left), CTBUH Executive Director, presents the Best Tall Building Americas award to the Absolute Towers project team
Weil Arets (left), Illinois Institute of Technology Dean of Architecture, presents the Best Tall Building Worldwide award to the Doha Tower project team Richard Cook (left), 2012 Awards Chair, presents the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia award to the One Bligh Street project team
Antony Wood (left), CTBUH Executive Director, presents the Best Tall Building Europe award to the Palazzo Lombardia project team Richard Cook (left), 2012 Awards Chair, presents the Innovation Award to the Al Bahar Towers project team

The Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi won the CTBUH’s first Innovation Award for the project’s computer-controlled opening-closing sun-screen.

This year the CTBUH Board of Trustees also awarded the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award to Helmut Jahn, the architect known for his simple and elegant designs.

“This is not an achievement to sit on, it’s an achievement to build on,” Mr. Jahn told the audience

 
Helmut Jahn, 2012 Lynn S. Beedle Award Winner, presents during the free symposium Mr. Thornton and Mr. Tomasetti, 2012 Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal winners, with CTBUH Chairman Timothy Johnson

The Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal went jointly to Charles Thornton & Richard Tomasetti, founders of Thornton & Tomasetti, the structural engineers who helped design many of the most innovative and advanced tall buildings around the world.

“The integration of architecture and engineering, that’s where the future really lies,” Mr. Tomasetti during his presentation in the afternoon symposium.

The CTBUH Best Tall Building Awards are an independent review of new projects, judged by a panel of industry experts. Projects are recognized for making an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for achieving sustainability at the broadest level.

Winners and finalists are featured in the annual CTBUH Awards Book, which is published in conjunction with a major global publisher and distributed internationally each year.

The Awards dinner also introduced three new CTBUH Fellows—Nicolas Billotti of Turner International, Georges Binder of Buildings and Data; and James Robinson of Hong Kong Land—who were honored for their lifetime commitment to the CTBUH.

   
John Braley accepting on behalf of Nicolas Billotti of Turner International Georges Binder of Buildings and Data James Robinson of Hong Kong Land


Image Gallery
Chairman Timothy Johnson presenting the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award to Helmut Jahn
Fazlur R. Khan Medal winners Tomasetti and Thornton discuss their work
Richard Cook presents the Innovation Award to Al Bahar Towers
Antony Wood presents the Best Tall Building Americas award to Joe Cordiano for Absolute Towers
Richard Cook presents the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia Award to 1 Bligh Street
Antony Wood presents the Best Tall Building Europe Award to Palazzo Lombardia
Henry Cobb speaks about the Best Tall Building Europe, Palazzo Lombardia
The Doha Tower team accepts the Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa Award
Wiel Arets announced the Best Tall Building Worldwide from the four regional winners
Wiel Arets presents the Best Tall Building Worldwide to the Doha Tower team
2012 Awards & Certificates
CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood offers closing remarks
Opening cocktail reception
Opening cocktail reception
Opening cocktail reception
Opening cocktail reception
Opening cocktail reception
Opening cocktail reception
Opening cocktail reception
Opening cocktail reception
2012 Awards Ceremony & Dinner
2012 Awards Ceremony & Dinner
2012 Awards Ceremony & Dinner
Dinner attendees receive their copy of the 2012 Awards Book