Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Burj Khalifa honored as first recipient of CTBUH’s new Tall Building “Global Icon” Award

CTBUH 2010 “Global Icon” Award winner, Burj Khalifa. Photo: SOM|Nick Merrick ©Hedrich Blessing

.... Chicago - October 25, 2010

In a surprise move, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) bestowed a new award on the Burj Khalifa at its annual “Best Tall Buildings Awards Ceremony” on Thursday evening, 21st October. The new “Global Icon” award recognizes those very special tall buildings that make a profound impact, not only on the local/regional context, but on the genre of tall buildings globally. Innovative in planning, design and execution, the building must have influenced and re-shaped the field of tall building architecture, engineering, and urban planning. It is intended that the award will only be conferred on an occasional basis, when merited by an exceptional project – perhaps every 10 or 15 years. As explained by CTBUH Awards Chair Gordon Gill, of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture: “There was discussion amongst members of the jury that the existing ‘Best Tall Building of the Year’ award wasn’t really appropriate for the Burj. We are talking about a building here that has changed the landscape of what is possible in architecture – a building that became internationally recognized as an icon long before it was even completed. ‘Building of the Century’ was thought a more apt title for it.”

Accepting the award on behalf of the Burj Khalifa project team was Ali Odeh from Turner International, representing the building’s owner-developer, Emaar Properties, and George Efstathiou of the building’s architects/engineers, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. They were joined on stage by representatives of many of the companies on the project team, including: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Turner International, Samsung, Arabtec, Besix Group, and RWDI, Inc.

Burj Khalifa, a mixed-use office/residential/hotel that towers 2,717 feet (828 meters) above the Dubai skyline, had already won the award for the Best Tall Building in the Middle East & Africa region on the night, and was eligible for the Council’s Best Tall Building “Overall” award against the three other regional winners (Bank of America Tower, New York for the Americas; Pinnacle @ Duxton, Singapore for Asia & Australasia; and Broadcasting Place, Leeds, UK for Europe).

The 2010 “Global Icon” award is accepted by Ali Odeh from Turner International (left) and George Efstathiou from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Representatives from the project team for Burj Khalifa gather on stage to accept the “Global Icon” award.
With Burj Khalifa already recognized through the new icon award, Broadcasting Place took the 2010 “Best Tall Building Overall” award. Broadcasting Place – a cor-ten clad student housing tower – succeeds on many levels, addressing city and urban design, respect for surrounding heritage buildings, and a richness of architectural design. The award was accepted by George Downing, of the building’s owner-developer, Downing; and Alex Whitbread of the building’s architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
“Since the late 1880s, only 16 buildings have claimed the title of ‘World’s Tallest’,” said CTBUH Executive Director and awards jury member Antony Wood, “In one’s lifetime the title may thus only pass hands two or three times, so witnessing the completion of the Burj is something very special. In addition, in the history of the world’s tallest, no building has ever surpassed another by more than 200 or so feet [63 meters], but the Burj has surpassed its predecessor by 1,050 feet [320 meters]. It is almost as tall as placing the Empire State Building on top of Petronas Towers. It is a remarkable achievement for all involved.”

CTBUH Chairman Professor Sang Dae Kim of Korea University added: “Burj Khalifa has redefined a region and a people, created a sense of place for Dubai, advanced the technologies of supertall buildings and established a new benchmark for the integrated practice of architecture and engineering. It is perhaps the greatest architectural and engineering achievement in my lifetime.”

Best Tall Building “Overall” winner, Broadcasting Place. Photo © Sapa Architectural Services
The Council issues Best Tall Building Awards annually to give recognition to 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. Also honored on the evening were the Council’s two 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award winners: William Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects won the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing him as one of the most significant practitioners in the field of architecture and tall building design today. Ysrael Seinuk was awarded the Fazlur Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal for his life’s work in developing innovative, efficient and economical structural solutions to challenging tall building situations. After Mr. Seinuk’s recent passing, the award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter, Beatriz Seinuk-Ackerman. Tom McCool of Turner Construction, Moira Moser of M Moser Associates, and Shankar Nair of Teng Associates were also recognized as 2010 CTBUH Fellows.
Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award winner, William Pedersen, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates Fazlur Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal winner,
Ysrael Seinuk,
Ysrael A. Seinuk
Note for Press:
For image requests and additional information on the 2010 award winners please contact:
Steve Henry