Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism
2014, 3rd Annual CTBUH International Student Design Competition
Competition Jury Chair, Mun Summ Wong
View an Overview of the 2014 Competition
The goal of the 2014 competition, kindly supported by ISA Architecture as part of their 2014 Shanghai Conference Gold + Student Competition sponsorship package, 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." 
2014 Funding Sponsor
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.

First Prize
1555_Clean Air Tower

Alex Balchin

The ‘Clean Air Tower’ combines vertical architecture with industrial air-cleaning technologies and self-generated power, making use of the stack effect to clean 8,500,000 m3 of air per year for residents, office workers and the citizens of Tianjin.

Second Prize
1694_Vertical Aquaponic Farm

Matthew Humphreys
The city-state of Singapore is highly dependent on imports for feeding its growing population, with 97% of all food coming from abroad, and just over 1% of the total landmass of the country being devoted to agriculture. This project looks to promote and explore the very real potential of vertical farming within the urban context as a solution to this problem.

Third Prize
1213_Dust-Collecting Skyscraper
Hong Seob Ahn
Approximately 13% of China’s surface area is occupied by the desert and is the source of the yellow dust creating harmful weather conditions causing an increase in health problems. This project creates a solution to this problem through creating a tall building with a air-purifying system to purify the air outside and an abundance of fresh air indoors.

Fourth Prize
1269_Re-Stitching the City
Mikela Marques, Michael Dawson, and Clara Senatore
The Urban Connector is a 61 storey skyscraper proposed in re-stitching and repairing the segregated city of Johannesburg. This new tall building is placed strategically on the widest part of the railway connecting two important cultural precincts, Braamfontein and Newtown.

Fifth Prize
1740_Green Valley

Ran Song, Mengyu Li, Chengxing Hou, and Qian Zhang
The Hong Kong Island shows us a dichotomy between vast green land and high-density urban area. The living space is dramatically compressed, small and limited. This project integrates the landscrape to create a tall building as a living landscape organism and to blur the line between this dichotomy.

Honorable Mention
1081_Water Tower

Mi Kaipeng, Wu Qing, Wang Yifan, and Han Yujia
The goal of this project was to maximize on collecting rainwater and re-using grey water. This was done through studies on several different architectural models, analysis of different shapes, studies of different rainwater harvesting methods and studies of the wind direction in Chicago affecting the impact of the rain on the building.

Honorable Mention
1631_Canopy Tower

Song Zhu, Weiqi Huang, and Vivek Chithambaram
The Canopy Tower is a mix-used building with three towers: hotel tower(100m), the office tower(150m) and the residential tower(210m). The concept of the project is the umbrella, which can provide shading in sunny days, avoid rainfall in rainy days and provide rainwater collection.

Honorable Mention

Wojciech Cendrzak
The major concept of the project is to achieve balance between nature and built environment by creating the building which is made by used modern technology providing low energy consumption and high standard of living space.

Honorable Mention
1672_Naturally Vertical

Paul-Rouven Denz
The city of Mumbai with its 21 million inhabitants is one of the mega-cities of today. Based on this location, the skyscraper is divided into two towers opening to the Indian Sea capturing the view and fresh breeze. These towers are joined together by connection levels creating common open spaces, or smaller  “neighborhoods”.

Honorable Mention
1770_Mashrabiyah Tower

Amna Shahid and Adriana Viro
The proposed tower respects its surroundings by introducing a wide central passage through the ground floor, leading to the small mosque behind the tower. The proposed tower breaks away from the prevalent ‘glass box’ trend and instead takes inspiration from traditional Arab architecture.

1166_Mobius Tower
Florian Michel
The chosen form is a Möbius strip. This particular form, where one side becomes another allows, placed vertically, to provide an exceptional visual framing of the Eiffel Tower. The project symbolizes thus a gateway to Paris and turns itself resolutely towards the capital. The unique shape of the Möbius equally allows the tower to be one with the land. 

1282_Broderick Tower
Clement Daneau and Francois Lis
As a manifesto, the proposed tower is a wooden housing extension that figuratively grow on top of a tower disaffected relic, heroic witness of detroit's roaring twenties. A project that must be only build with the exact amount of wood to refund the gray energy spent to construct the first Broderick tower.

1329_Searching For Daylight in a Diagonal Urban Grid

Zahra Hosseinabadi
This project involved a design process that went back and forth between key design issues, such as daylighting, structure, circulation, and energy efficiency measures.  Based on this process, the San Francisco tower is a 40-story building that uses the VALRAy Daylight Projection System installed in the façade in order to maximize the sunlight.


Daniel Caven
The OBU47 takes on new ideas of integration of robotics within building skins and using software to record and react to climate conditions. The idea is derived from a low resultant “night purge” that many towers, in hot climates, use to help cool towers during night time temperatures.

1491_Mandala Skyscraper
Wojciech Kocki
The Mandala Skyscraper is a multi-functional building, constructed of 15 modules placed around a center core. In the core are a system of filters to intake the polluted air from above the street level, and in addition there are special filter modules in the facade which also helps to filter the air.

1498_Small Village

Jonghyun Lee, Giwoong Kim, Hyunah Park, and Kyuhyun Choi
By constructing above exsiting infrastructure, the Small Village Tower becomes a flexible plan. The concept of the new plan is to make communal spaces with spatial hierarchy. The tall building is going to be built by stacking up with the one small village.

1550_The Adaptable Tower

Daniil Danilov
The Adapting Tower is a building, which is primarily aimed at the future. This building is based on a model of production different than the Fordism (an unlimited number of identical goods), i.e. there is an unlimited number of different (individual) products. The building can always meet the latest technological requirements and adapt.

1573_Bamboo Mountain

Justin Oh
The Bamboo Mountain is a 70-storey mixed-use skyscraper located in Shanghai. Utilizing traditional Chinese materials consisting of bamboo, wood, and stone, this project minimizes the usage of high-energy ingredients found in typical skyscrapers. The tower stands on a stone podium reminiscent of ancient Chinese civic architecture.

1598_Tangier Med

Rodrigo Alonso
Tangier Med - Residential High Density System is an autonomous entity, a system that allows the users to do every kind of urban and quotidian activity. The port is the center of labor activity, the project complements the user possibilities and each tower has a space for a specific complementary use, accessible to all users in the set.

1599_Regeneration of an Urban Boundary in Bilbao

Jorge de la Calle
The main urban issue for the last decades has been to recover the ground where the heavy industry used to be settled down.  This project pretends to set a new housing model that could accomplish all the needs of a society more and more complex and diverse where every individual has his own likes and interests.

1619_Warsaw Eco Tower

Gabriela Radwanowska
This building is focused on creating the building based upon the renewable available on global scale energy. The building harmoniously fulfills its residential function meaning wellness center with the functional guest-rooms area at one place. 

1620_Staple Housing

Julia Liebeherr, Lea Elisa Parr, Juliane Bornemann, Colette Unger and Gamze Abay
The concept consists of an interpretation of the widespread, typical “Reihenhaus” (row-house) in Germany. A row-house typically belongs to one family. These are repeatedly lined up so that each home has a private typically belongs to one family. Mostly, these row-houses have 2 – 3 floors and are provided for a four-person family.

1656_Co-Up Tel Aviv

Yadid Hadad and Mihal Ronco
Our building is designed to bring economy and residence together, allowing its inhabitants to keep on flourish with their communities in the heart of the city, while making a sustainable living. The building is divided into ten parts, for the different cooperative group in the city, and allows them to become stronger together.

1665_Ventus Tower

Mengya Xu, Tingting Jia, Zhonghua Xu, Lidan Qiu and Xun Li
In spite of wind turbines, passive energy-saving measures are also taken to improve natural ventilation and utilize wind energy. In the shape of three elegant leaves, Ventus Tower is consisted of three towers which are arranged organically to capture and utilize the wind power in the Wind City Chicago.

1733_The Twisting Trio

Hitesh Gujar and Jay Jien Yang
“The Twisting Trio” is located at iconic historic location in Waterloo, London. The tower accommodates a mix of functions offices, social housing, residential duplex accommodation and penthouses. The twist in towers is based on three main principles: view, icon and wind.