Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
2016 Student Research Funding Winner
August 16, 2016

See more on the CTBUH 2016 Student Research Competition
The Council is pleased to announce the winning entry for the inaugural CTBUH Student Research Competition, kindly sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. The winning research, entitled “The Rebirth of the Skyscraper: Technical Advances, 1930–1975,” was submitted by student team members Shawn Barron and Saranya Panchaseelan working under Thomas Leslie, Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University. The goal of the competition is to assist talented students, working in groups overseen by an instructor, to focus on a relevant research question within the 2016 theme of “Tall Building Performance.”
2016 Funding Sponsor
Working with his students, Leslie will pursue research exploring skyscraper projects of the post-depression era to examine the impact of a handful of technical developments – including mechanical air conditioning, insulated and solar glazing, commercially available aluminum, fluorescent lighting, and welded steel structural elements – on tall building performance. Through digital reconstructions and case studies of key buildings, the research will culminate in a report detailing these technologies and their effects on building massing and fabric.
Lever House, New York City, is one example of the “glass box” architecture that predominated in the post-war period.
Ultimately, the winning research is intended to reveal the impact that the “glass box” skyscraper design had on tall building performance, determining the catalysts for this design and its role in shaping American office trends of the post-War generation. Anticipating future retrofits for these buildings as they reach their natural life expectancies, the research team plans to factor these needs into their analysis as they investigate the built fabric of “glass box” skyscrapers.

The winning research will be recognized at the CTBUH 2016 Conference, and the team will receive an award of $20,000 to pursue their work.