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Conference Synopsis, 11-13 June, 2013

In the midst of two decades of unprecedented tall building development globally, Europe has increasingly embraced the skyscraper, even in cities traditionally seen as “anti-tall.” From London to Istanbul, Paris to Prague, Moscow to Madrid, many European cities are growing taller, recognizing the need for a more sustainable concentration of infrastructure, energy and carbon offered by denser cities.

The European context of these buildings is, however, often completely different to their counterparts in other parts of the world. The piecemeal growth of historic European cities has resulted in sites that are more restricted physically than those typical of a North American grid plan, or a rapidly expanding Asia city. Plus there are often hundreds of years of architectural history as direct accompaniment to take into account. Tall buildings in Europe often have a completely different set of physical, social, cultural and environmental issues to respond to than the rest of the world.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is thus bringing its 2013 conference to London – a city of both amazing modernity and historical wonder – to address these issues, share information and create a dialogue for advancing future projects. What functions, ground floor solutions and building expressions are appropriate for a European skyscraper? How tall is “tall” in a historical context? Should there be more sensitivity around height? Do these buildings really deliver the oft-stated sustainable advantages? Can they reduce, generate and store energy in ways to benefit the city as a whole? And how can these most modern of architectural wonders integrate into the historic city to act as mediators between the present and the past?

The 2013 Conference will gather the world’s leading tall building owners, developers, contractors, architects, engineers, planners, policy-makers and others to ultimately answer the pressing question: is Europe correct in taking its cities skywards and, if so, what do building designers, builders and operators need to do to create their own brand of skyscrapers, appropriate to both the context and the age? Join us in London to find out…


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