2011: Why Tall? Competition Results

1st Annual CTBUH International Student Design Competition
November 1st, 2011

The CTBUH Student Design Competition results are in! From more than 200 projects submitted, 32 finalists were displayed and judged during the 2011 CTBUH World Conference in Seoul, October 10-12, 2011. The winning projects were announced at the conference dinner.

Winning projects: 1st Prize - MultipliCITY; 2nd Prize - Cloud Skyscraper; 3rd Prize - Vertical Neighborhood

The First Annual CTBUH International Student Design Competition picked up on the 2011 CTBUH Seoul Conference themes, seeking to find innovative ideas to shed new light on the meaning and value of tall buildings in modern society from the themes of green, safety, and humanity. There were no restrictions on site, program or size, with the objective of allowing maximum freedom to the participants in proposing imaginative design ideas for new construction. This resulted in a very diverse compilation within the competition.

The Competition saw over 200 submissions from all over the world. In total, teams participated from 49 different countries. As noted by the 2011 Jury Chair, William Pedersen (Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects):

"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. Bringing students together from all over the world, as this competition has done, is an important step for the evolution of the tall building typology."

Jury reviews finalists
Jury chair William Pedersen

32 Finalists were selected through a first-round judging process, which was conducted by seven members representing three different areas of expertise: architectural design, structural design, and urban planning and design. The Finalists moved on to a second-round judging, and were displayed in a special exhibition at the Seoul Conference. The six member second-round jury, led by Mr. Pedersen, reviewed the exhibition and scored the panels individually based on four areas: Creative Approach, Response to Site, Sustainability, and Functionality. Winners and Honorable Mentions were then determined through discussion among the jurors.

The final results were revealed during the Conference Dinner. In general, the jury found the Finalist submissions to be extraordinarily energetic. However, often as a result of this energy, questions of practicality arose, leading the jury to feel more comfortable with those that offered a very strong, rather serene presence. Third prize ($1,000) was awarded to the “Vertical Neighborhood” project (Escuela Tecnica de Arquitectura de Madrid), described as perhaps the most realizable and commended for their well-done graphic presentation. The Jury found the Second Prize winner ($2,000), “Cloud Skyscraper” (Yonsei University/Konkuk University) to be the most thought-provoking of the Finalists, and introduced the concept of the tall building as a sponge-like element, that would absorb moisture from the atmosphere within its skin. The First Prize winner ($5,000), “MultipliCITY” (Harvard University/Tongji University) was voted as the most visually compelling of the Finalists, intended for a site in Shanghai. The jury was compelled by the tremendously dramatic image the project presented. An additional project was commended as a Special Mention, and a further six recognized as Honorable Mentions (see details on all projects below).

Seoul Conference delegates browse competition exhibition

Jury deliberates

During the Special Exhibition, Seoul Conference attendees were given the opportunity to vote on their favorite project. Unbeknownst to the jury at the time of judging, “MultipliCITY” was selected as the “Public’s Favorite” winner, showing the judges views were aligned with the majority of Conference attendees. Also unknown to the jury at the time of their selections, but a pleasant surprise and excellent reflection of the international nature of the competition, the top awards were from students located all over the globe: USA, China, South Korea, and Spain were all included in the top three winners alone.

Moving forward from the tremendous success of the 2011 Competition, the 2012 Competition is already in planning, and will coincide with the 2012 Shanghai Congress.


All 32 Finalist projects can be viewed in more detail here.