Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Top 12 Happenings of 2016, Month-by-Month
As the tide of skyscraper construction rolls on, 2016 was another high-water mark in the industry, highlighted by significant completions, proposals, and milestones around the globe. Check out the top news items from each month. View in Chinese (查看中文版本)
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World Reaches 100 Supertall Skyscrapers with Delivery of 432 Park Avenue

The world surpassed a major milestone when New York’s 432 Park Avenue opened in January to become the planet’s 100th supertall skyscraper. The construction of supertall buildings has increased at an astounding rate in recent years, an indicator of the tremendous growth within the global tall building industry. Whereas the first 50 supertalls took 80 years to complete – between 1930 and 2010 – the total number of supertalls doubled from 50 to 100 in just five years, from 2010 to January 2016.

CTBUH Award-Winning Shanghai Tower Completes to Become the Second-Tallest Building in the World

The march of record-breaking skyscraper construction continued in February with news of Shanghai Tower’s completion. The 632-meter building became the tallest in China and the second tallest in the world. Along with its height, it is notable for its precedent-setting contributions to the tall building typology, including its double-skin façade incorporating nine garden atria across its full height and its twisted exterior designed to produce a 24 percent savings in structural wind loading. In November, Shanghai Tower was awarded Best Tall Building Worldwide by CTBUH.

Dubai Authorities Approve Plans for an Observation Tower Poised to become the Tallest Structure in the World

News broke quickly of a proposed observation tower for Dubai Creek Harbour that would become the tallest structure in the world, surpassing the height of the city’s Burj Khalifa and planned to complete before the taller Jeddah Tower. With a goal of opening in time for Dubai’s Expo 2020, the Santiago Calatrava-designed structure was promptly approved by government officials, setting the stage for a condensed construction timeline.

Singapore’s Oasia Downtown Embraces Airy Design and Vertical Landscaping

Welcoming its first guests in April, Oasia Downtown proved once again Singapore’s leading role in green design, with a vegetated façade punctured by alternating 30-meter open-air sky gardens, allowing for exceptional cross-ventilation. With a green plot ratio of 750 percent, the hotel tower represents the cutting-edge in sustainable vertical urbanism. Its copper-colored façade has begun to turn green as plants flourish across its height.

LA’s U.S. Bank Tower Continues Trend Towards “Active” Skyscraper Experiences with New Sky Slide

U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles upgraded its facilities with a revenue-producing observation deck designed to thrill visitors with an “active” experience. The “Sky Slide” takes visitors on a ride down a glass-enclosed slide external to the building and 70 stories in the air, offering a one-of-a-kind adventure meant to titillate the senses. The tower joins a growing list of older office buildings either adding or upgrading their observation decks through the addition of amenities aimed at recognize the value in observation decks, competition to enticing visitors through adrenaline-pumping activities.

Construction Begins on “Active House” Grand Tower in Frankfurt

With construction beginning on Frankfurt’s Grand Tower, the city will not only be receiving its tallest residential tower, but also a tower that could fully generate its own heat and power while producing surplus energy as well. Building off the “Active House” concept, all aspects of the tower are designed to enhance sustainability, from solar panel-equipped balconies to triple-insulated glazing.  The tower could become the first tall building generating an energy surplus in the world.

Sale of Chicago’s Iconic Tribune Tower Continues Trend Toward Mixed-Use Redevelopments

With Tribune Media moving out of their longtime home Tribune Tower, developers jumped at the chance to reimagine the iconic neo-gothic tower, snapping up the 34-story skyscraper with a $240 million price tag. Plans to diversify the tower with retail, residential, and hotel space along with its traditional office programming follow an ongoing trend of redeveloping older, single-use buildings with the intention of increasing profits through added revenue streams.

Tilting and Sinking Residential Tower Causes Alarm among Residents

News broke in August that San Francisco’s tallest residential tower is sinking at faster than expected rates, causing a 15-inch (38-centimeter) tilt off center. The news caused alarm among residents who were no longer sure of the value of their property, and prompted city officials to investigate. The story has brought renewed attention to structural and geo-technical engineering in an earthquake-prone region as the city continues to develop a robust skyline.

Sales Launch on Spire London as the City Diversifies its High-Rise Offerings

London has been a source of skyscraper controversy for several years now as locals debate the impact of tower development in the historic capital. Against that backdrop, developers launched sales on Spire London, poised to become the tallest residential building in Western Europe. The tower represents a bit of a shift in London high-rise development perhaps in response to an ongoing housing scarcity crisis, as most completed or under-construction towers feature primarily office or mixed-use programming rather than residential.

CTBUH 2016 Conference Brings Attention to Sustainable Vertical Urbanism in the World’s Megacities

Held progressively across the Pearl River Delta cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong in China, the Council’s most successful conference to date brought renewed attention to the need for sustainable vertical urbanism in the world’s fastest-growing metropoles. With appreciation for and a healthy skepticism of the cities’ development and urban planning, delegates considered the opportunities and challenges of creating transit-oriented, human-scaled cities in a high-rise context.

Modular Construction Reaches Milestone with Final Touches on Long-Awaited New York Tower

As residents began to move into 461 Dean Street in Brooklyn’s Pacific Park complex, construction watchers heralded the completion of the 32-story modular skyscraper. Although construction was delayed, taking almost four years, the finished product represents a breakthrough in modular design as the tower comprises 930 steel modules fabricated off-site at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This novel method reduced the environmental impact of construction, offering an innovative way to approach sustainability across a building’s full life cycle.

Hanking Center Tops Out in Shenzhen, Pushing the Boundary of Steel Skyscraper Engineering

Shenzhen’s Hanking Center is notable for its unique design, which features a detached core made possible by a steel-based structure. When complete, it will not only be the tallest steel building in China, but the tallest detached core building in the world. This innovative design allows for greater internal flexibility and enhanced light penetration into the building center, while creating space for lobbies and skygardens between the core and main body of the tower. Topped out in December, the building entered its final phase of construction.

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