Overview

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is pleased to announce its 3rd International Student Tall Building Design Competition, which shares the theme of the 2014 CTBUH Shanghai Conference - Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism. The goal of the competition is to shed new light on the meaning and value of tall buildings in modern society.

As noted by past Competition Jury Chair, William Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox,
“There has been a major transition in the sense of the value of the tall building and what it can contribute to the urban realm, and society in general. This transition moves the tall building away from just an instrument of financial exploitation and toward a development highly concerned with its impact on the city, the environment, and the urban habitat.”
In light of global climate change, public awareness of urban sustainability has forced designers to rethink and reinvent the role of the high-rise building type. They must contribute to the protection of endangered environments and offer sustainable alternatives to how cities operate, as they meet the growing demands of urban dwelling and reshaping the landscape of modern cities. It is increasingly important that tall buildings connect with the urban fabric, integrating with the existing city/street life, and reflect the nature of the city in which they are built.

Participants are free to site their projects anywhere in the world. But this is not to undervalue the importance of site – participants should carefully consider their site (which must be a “real” site, in an existing urban location) as the site context should inherently have significant influence over the project’s design. Participants are also free to determine the size, height, function, accommodation and responsibilities of the building. The intention is these freedoms on site and program will maximize the diversity and creativity of the responses. It is also intended to allow students from specific high-rise educational studies around the world during the 2013–14 academic year to submit their projects for consideration.

Participants should engage with the exploration and resolution of the synergistic relationship of placing a tall building in a unique existing urban setting; how that tall building can be inspired by the cultural, physical, and environmental aspects of its site; and how the program of the building is influenced by the micro and macro site/urban conditions. Proposals should show evidence of a clear understanding of how considerations of structure, environment, servicing, etc. are as vital to the success of a tall building as the form, materials, aesthetics, etc.

Participants need to also consider the CTBUH Criteria for defining tall buildings, such that “at least 50% of its height is occupied by usable floor area,” (i.e., proposals should be functional “buildings” not simply observation, communication, or other towers).

Some of the multi-layered elements that participants should take into consideration may include (in no particular hierarchy):

  • local climate
  • urban grain
  • neighboring buildings
  • city requirements
  • community requirements
  • social sustainability
  • environmental sustainability
  • efficiency of materials, space, and usage
  • aesthetics
  • proportions
  • local, social, and cultural conditions
  • materiality
  • new technologies
  • structure
  • innovative program/functionality
  • adaptability
  • transit/mobility
  • infrastructure
  • etc.