Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a Tier I Research University and a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement.  It is distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty.  Prominent alumni include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, astronauts and scientists, and leaders of international corporations.

The School of Architecture, founded in 1869, is the second oldest architecture school in the U.S. and had the first architecture graduate, Nathan Clifford Ricker who became the Dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture.  Today, the School is a leader in the College of Fine and Applied Arts with 500 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students.  It is a 4+2 program with BSAS, MArch, and Ph.D. degrees.  Its programs and faculty specialize in four interrelated academic and research programs: Design, Structures, Professional Practice & Technology, and Architectural History & Preservation.

High-Rise & Habitat Graduate Architecture Seminar

High-Rise & Habitat is a graduate seminar that is taught jointly by Mir M. Ali, Structures and Paul J. Armstrong, Design.   It introduces students to the principles and concepts of tall building architecture, engineering, technology, and design and relates them to the role of tall buildings and their urban habitats.  The seminar is unique in that it brings together the expertise of the architect and the engineer as students research and present findings on a range of topics including design, technology, structures, building systems, and the impact of tall buildings on cities.  Special emphasis is placed on the sustainable design of tall buildings and cities today and in the future.  This seminar parallels a High-Rise & Habitat architecture design graduate studio taught by Professor Armstrong.

Mir M. Ali
Paul J. Armstrong


Design Research Studio
Design & Building Systems

This research includes topics such as sustainable design of tall buildings and cities, structural and MEP systems, cladding, Building Management Systems (BMS) and intelligent buildings, and sustainable design. Special attention is given to the integration of building materials and systems and their impacts on design, expression, and aesthetics.


Design Research Studio
Tall Building Case Studies

Tall building case studies are often included in related research areas as well as stand-alone research involving the reproduction of measured drawings and scale models of built and proposed tall buildings.  Categories include supertall, multi-functional, sustainable, and single-use tall buildings.


Design Research Studio
Integration & Impact of Tall Buildings & Urban Environments

The relationship of tall buildings and cities must be considered at both the building and urban scales.  This research studies the role and impact of high-rise buildings on their urban habitats.  It considers the social, economic, political, environmental and design implications of building tall in cities throughout the world.