Each CTBUH Journal includes a case study paper focused on a specific building or group of buildings. Case studies are technical in nature and give an in-depth overview of many issues related to the building’s design, construction and operation. For more technical papers, visit the Technical Paper database.


Experience-Oriented Design, Connected to Daily-Use Spaces

CTBUH Journal 2019 Issue II

This case study analyzes the creative concepts and technical details of the Baidu
Headquarters. The south China building complex is headquarters to Internet giant,
Baidu, and is one of the world’s tallest office buildings for an Internet company,
second only to Tencent Seafront Towers, also in Shenzhen. Upon undertaking the
project, the design team realized the need to address the tremendous strain that
might be placed on the city’s population density. The team devised a solution that
involved building a close link between users and nature, so as to relieve this
tension. Critical to the concept was the exploration of novel approaches to space
utilization in skyscrapers, which can mitigate the high density and isolating
characteristics of these buildings, allowing occupiers to cope in a more systematic
and effective way.


Green Communal Spaces at Height In a High-Density City

CTBUH Journal 2019 Issue I

In contrast to the typically generic design of mixed-use developments in Hong Kong, SKYPARK is an exploration of the potential of “com-living” (communal living) in a densely-populated city. SKYPARK is an innovative mixed-use development in Mong Kok, one of the densest urban areas in Hong Kong. Featuring 439 residential units and a shopping mall. The development was targeted to build a community for young singles and couples attracted by the vibrant lifestyle of this iconic Hong Kong neighborhood. The project offers a new template for tall building design by strategically positioning a residential clubhouse and landscaped gardens on the top floor and the roof – an innovative response to high population density and lack of communal areas.


Royal Atlantis, Dubai: A Permeable and Polycentric Urbanism

CTBUH Journal 2018 Issue IV

The Royal Atlantis innovates on typical high-rise hotel and residential design by
introducing substantial areas of true open space into all areas of the tower –
redefining the concept of urban indoor-outdoor living, vertically. The project’s
iconicity is a departure from typical form-driven, sculptural high-rises built in
rapidly emerging global “alpha cities,” as its striking profile results entirely from
moves designed to create truly unique guest and resident experiences. Residents,
hotel guests, and visitors are each given spaces that seamlessly blend interior and
exterior, tempering Dubai’s extreme climate and creating moments where it is
possible to see the skyline of the city, while swimming underwater 10 to 40 stories
in the sky.


Oasia Hotel Downtown, Singapore: A Tall Prototype for the Tropics

CTBUH Journal 2018 Issue III

Oasia Hotel Downtown is a prototype of land use intensification in the tropics. Unlike the sleek and sealed skyscrapers that evolved in the temperate West, this tropical “living tower” is designed to soften the hardness of the city and to reintroduce biodiversity into the urban jungle.


Taking the Corporate Campus Vertical

CTBUH Journal, 2018 Issue II

The Tencent Seafront Towers bring a novel concept – the “vertical campus” – to Shenzhen. In housing the corporate headquarters of the fourth-largest internet company in the world, the two-tower, interlinked design breaks away from the typical horizontal tech campus mold, with an emphasis on connectivity, creativity, knowledge and wellness.


Lotte World Tower: Seoul’s First Supertall

CTBUH Journal, 2018 Issue I

The Lotte World Tower became the world’s fifth-tallest building upon completion in 2017, and is currently the only supertall building (300 meters or higher) in Seoul. As it is located a fair distance from other tall buildings, the project’s designers bore substantial responsibility to not only create an enduring skyline icon, but also to provide a culturally relevant and well-integrated project within the urban grain. Beyond the spectacle of its sleek design and great height, the tower is part of a mixed-use complex that has provided additional public amenities. With its diverse program, it is hoped the project will become a beloved destination in Seoul.


Shaping Australia’s Tall Tower Design And High Livability Standards

CTBUH Journal, 2017 Issue IV

With nearly 90% of its population expected to live in its state-capital cities by 2053, Australia is on track to become one of the world’s most urbanized nations. Cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are world-renowned for their livability ratings, but this is not a guaranteed constant. As density increases, more inventive tall building designs will be needed. This case study examines tall building developments in each of the three largest Australian cities, each of which exemplifies a different aspect of sustainable design, supporting the ultimate objective of maintaining and enhancing livability into the future.


Ten Significant Tall Buildings, and the Significant Women Behind Them

CTBUH Journal, 2017 Issue III

Recently, there has been a growing and overdue recognition in the architecture discipline that women are under-represented, not just in terms of leadership positions held, but also in terms of receiving credit for the work they have done. The tall building industry includes many disciplines, from contracting to construction and engineering, each of which has a similar but subtly different track record and perspective on the subject. This variation on the Case Study model highlights 10 tall buildings and the work of women in leadership roles – recognized at the time or not – who brought these great works to life.


South Beach Towers, Singapore

CTBUH Journal, 2017 Issue II

After more than 100 years, an area of Singapore formerly off-limits to the public has been transformed into a new mixed-use development that combines two landmark towers, historic preservation of colonial military buildings, and a flowing canopy at the ground level. The result, called South Beach, is an integrated and vibrant space in central Singapore, maximizing the critical assets of innovative design, warm weather, connectivity, and history. Highlighting three key aspects of the project, this case study unpacks the design team’s integrated approach, illustrating the complexity of the design process, and exemplifying how a tall building may make a positive contribution to its surrounding urban realm.


Case Study: Torre Reforma, Mexico City

CTBUH Journal, 2017 Issue I

Torre Reforma is not only the tallest building in Mexico City, but is also representative of innovation and leadership in the high-rise building industry, which has begun a shift away from a generation of all-glass façades. Here, high seismic conditions and the presence of a historic building on the site resulted in a highly distinctive hybrid “open-book” form, comprising two exposed concrete shear walls and floor plates enclosed in a dramatically cantilevered steel diagrid. Torre Reforma received a Finalist recognition in the Best Tall Building Americas category of the 2016 CTBUH Awards.


SOM and China: Evolving Skyscraper Design Amid Rapid Urban Growth

CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue IV

China’s rapid urban and economic growth has challenged designers, engineers, and planners to innovate and collaborate to meet the needs of a changing country. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been practicing in China for more than two decades, working with residents and policymakers to shape urban environments. The firm’s integrated, interdisciplinary approach has produced work at all scales that addresses the challenges of urbanization and gives form to the aspirations of the country. Through a survey of notable projects in China, this case study expresses how practices have evolved to help Chinese cities become more vibrant and compelling.


Upward Spiral: The Story of the Evolution Tower

CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue III

The Evolution Tower, Moscow, set off a wave of imitators when its design was first revealed in 2004, but it took another 12 years for it to come to fruition. Through the economic crisis and many subsequent design team iterations, the essential twisting form has endured. The appropriately named final product demonstrates the persistent value of a strong concept. The tower, against many odds, has definitively spiraled upward and taken its place in the city’s skyline.


Designing a Data-Driven, Humanistic High-Rise

CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue II

Much attention has been given to how data and “the cloud” will revolutionize the workplace. Indeed, the way we work is rapidly changing, though many of the demands and challenges we must address are still very much physical. The case of the Tower at PNC Plaza (see Figure 1), an office building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, demonstrates how extensive research, data collection and field-testing lead to a more sustainable tall building and a happier, healthier, more productive workforce.


Humanizing the Megascale

CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue I

The principles set forth 48 years ago at the Montreal Expo 1967, embodied in the form of Habitat ’67, which proposed an entirely different kind of “modern tall housing project,” are now advanced in the 21st century in Singapore, with Sky Habitat. The shifted modules and balconies, combined with communal spaces at height, give the effect of a hillside village as much as a tall building. The Sky Habitat demonstrates what can happen to the tall housing typology when enlightened public policy meets inspired design.


Manhattan’s Last Frontier Becomes a Mini-City

CTBUH Journal, 2015 Issue IV

Hudson Yards is a mixed-use development built over rail yards on the west side of New York’s Manhattan Island. As the largest real estate project ever undertaken in the United States, its unprecedented scale and sophistication provide a model for sustainable urban development and architectural interventions, which integrate a new neighborhood into a complicated existing infrastructure and surrounding context.


Two Towers, One Market

CTBUH Journal, 2015 Issue III

The design of the new European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt combines a twisted double tower, which rises to 185 meters, integrated with the horizontal structure of the landmarked 1928 Grossmarkthalle, formerly the city’s main wholesale market. United by an entrance building, these two elements form an ensemble of special architectural significance. Featuring bridges, pathways and platforms, the glass atrium between the two high-rises creates a vertical city that represents the ambitions of a united Europe.


Forging a Supertall Compact City

CTBUH Journal, 2015 Issue II

Abeno Harukas is the tallest building in Japan and one of the world’s tallest buildings directly over a railway terminal. It connects the metropolitan area railway network to a new vertical urban network, reducing energy consumption and providing a variety of activities and services. Abeno Harukas is a high-density urban complex incorporating a department store, art museum, school, hospital, office, hotel, observatory, and rooftop gardens above the railway station. This supertall “compact city” demonstrates a way forward for reorganizing cities to optimize the value of the city center and integrate it with the surrounding area through the railway network.


A New Urban Forest Rises in Milan

CTBUH Journal, 2015 Issue I

The Bosco Verticale “vertical forest” in Milan, Italy, takes the definition of “green skyscraper” to a new level, deploying more than 13,000 plants across 90+ species, including full-sized trees, on all façades of both its towers. The project was cited as a case study in the CTBUH 2014 Technical Guide Green Walls in High-Rise Buildings. In 2013, the CTBUH International Research Seed Funding Program, sponsored by Arup, awarded a grant of US,000 to a team led by the author of this paper, Dr. Elena Giacomello, which spent a year studying the Bosco Verticale, examining all aspects of its design and construction, especially the extensive plantings that give it its name. The full report will be published in the forthcoming CTBUH research report: Bosco Verticale: Evaluating the Promise of Vertical Greenery. This case study introduces the project and its many innovations.


Case Study: One Central Park, Sydney

CTBUH Journal, 2014 Issue IV

One Central Park was developed as a response to growing demand for residential accommodation in downtown Sydney. Its developers and designers used the opportunity to make a powerful and visible green statement with a tall building that is environmentally responsive on multiple levels. The project challenges the Modernist resistance to surface accretion, both with a planted veil that cleans the air, provides shade, and speaks of a naturally-integrated urban vitality, and a technologically-assertive apparatus that guides the sun’s rays where they are most needed.


Case Study: China Zun Tower, Beijing

CTBUH Journal, 2014 Issue III

China Zun Tower will be the flagship building of Beijing’s comprehensively planned 30-hectare central business district core. The 528-meter-tall tower will stand far above its surroundings and become one of the most prominent icons of the city.


Case Study: Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou

CTBUH Journal, 2014 Issue II

SOM’s design for the 71-story Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China, was selected in a 2005 competition. The 309-meter-tall high-performance building was designed with energy efficiency as its top priority.


Case Study: Tree House Residence Hall, Boston

CTBUH Journal, 2014 Issue I

The Tree House, a 20-story residential tower for 493 freshmen, is inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting, The Tree of Life. It is clad in more than 5,000 composite aluminum panels of various widths and depths, resulting in an organic, colorful expression along Boston’s Huntington Avenue, also known as the Avenue of the Arts.


Case Study: Gate Towers, Abu Dhabi

CTBUH Journal, 2013 Issue IV

The Gateway forms the entrance to one of the Middle East’s largest developments. The developer, Aldar, set forth a challenge: create an unmistakable introduction to a larger development, that would also serve as a landmark on its own.


Case Study: The Bow, Calgary

CTBUH Journal, 2013 Issue III

The Bow is the latest and most ambitious high-rise development in the Canadian city of Calgary. The client’s aim was to create a world-class building that would be a defining landmark on the city’s skyline.


Case Study: The Leadenhall Building, London

CTBUH Journal, 2013 Issue II

The Leadenhall Building leans back to make way for views to St. Paul’s Cathedral and other historic sites in a crowded section of the City of London, but it also springs forward with an innovative structure and a dynamic street presence.


Case Study: Kingdom Tower, Jeddah

CTBUH Journal, 2013 Issue I

Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will be the tall building to go where no building has gone before – beyond 1,000 meters. For the first time, the team at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill discuss at length the process that went into designing a one-kilometer-tall tower.


Case Study: Absolute World Towers, Mississauga

CTBUH Journal, 2012 Issue IV

The CTBUH 2012 “Best Tall Building Americas” award-winning project is the result of a unique public-private partnership and international design competition.


Case Study: Greenland’s Suzhou Center, Wujiang

CTBUH Journal, 2012 Issue III

At 358 meters, Greenland Group Suzhou Center marks the Wujiang waterfront with an aerodynamic form that has a unique presence, while accommodating its program with economy and efficiency. The design incorporates passive ventilation techniques through a unique interior “lung,” creating an efficient “breathing” tower.


Case Study: Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi

CTBUH Journal, 2012 Issue II

Throughout history, a strong link has existed between iconic architecture and exhibitions. In 2005, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) was created to drive forward the development of Abu Dhabi’s events sector, Capital Gate is the result.


Case Study: The Hansar, Bangkok

CTBUH Journal, 2012 Issue I

High-rise, high-density living has been embraced as a positive housing solution for many millions of people living in Asia’s growing urban metropolises. The Hansar, a 45-story hotel and residential development, embodies principles of sustainable and tropical living within dense urban cities.


Case Study: Haeundae I’Park, Busan

CTBUH Journal, 2011 Issue IV

The I’Park development creates a new, forward-looking image for the Hyundai Development Company and a new vision for residential living in Busan. In South Korea, there is an emphasis on family and social relationships. These high-density residential develompents help to support a strong sense of community.


Case Study: One World Trade Center

CTBUH Journal, 2011 Issue III

The world knows what happened in Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001. The twin towers of the World Trade Center and several other buildings were damaged or destroyed, and more than 3,000 people were killed. The ground smoldered for months.


Case Study: Capital City Towers, Moscow

CTBUH Journal, 2011 Issue II

As a pioneering project in Moscow, Capital City has forged many new pathways for the city’s real estate and construction industries. Through its integrated design and engineering, the project provides a model for mixed-use development, which remains rare in the city, and further establishes a new identity for Moscow.


Case Study: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

CTBUH Journal, 2011 Issue I

Marina Bay Sands is a high-density and mixed-use integrated resort complex which was conceived as a city microcosm rooted in Singapore’s culture, climate, and contemporary life, the project anchors Singapore’s waterfront, creating a gateway to Singapore, and providing a dynamic setting for vibrant public life.


Case Study: Hong Kong International Commerce Centre

CTBUH Journal, 2010 Issue IV

Soaring 484 meters (1,588 feet) above Victoria Harbor, the International Commerce Centre (ICC) is the essence of Hong Kong in one destination: high-powered finance, global tourism, luxury shopping, and world-class hospitality, all gathered in a single tower built over a sophisticated transportation network.


Case Study: O-14 Folded Exoskeleton

CTBUH Journal, 2010 Issue III

O-14 is a 22-story commercial tower characterized by 1,326 openings, randomly located and varying in size, throughout the whole exterior shell. It is one of the first towers to appear in the skyline of Business Bay, scheduled to be fully finished and occupied by the fall of 2010.


Case Study: Shanghai Tower

CTBUH Journal, 2010 Issue II

As the third tower in the trio of supertall buildings at the heart of Shanghai’s new Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Shanghai Tower embodies a new prototype for tall buildings. The 121-story mixed-use tower offers a sustainable way of living in vertical cities.


Case Study: The Standard Hotel, New York

CTBUH Journal, 2010 Issue I

The building is a destination, both visually and experientially, realizing the client’s conceptual goal to create a “living room for the neighborhood,” a public place where hotel guests and pedestrians can co-mingle in a variety of spaces.


Case Study: Nakheel Tower – The Vertical City

CTBUH Journal, 2009 Issue II

Nakheel Harbour & Tower, Dubai’s new capital, will be a beacon of inspiration for the region and the world, incorporating elements from Islamic culture. Encompassing more than 270 hectares, this mixed-use development will be located in the heart of New Dubai.


Case Study: Trump International Hotel & Tower

CTBUH Journal, 2009 Issue III

Chicago, a city known worldwide for its tall buildings, welcomed a new supertall tower to its skyline this year. Bookended by the 442-meter (1,450-foot) Sears Tower to the south and the 344-meter (1,128-foot) John Hancock Center to the north.


Case Study: Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

CTBUH Journal, 2009 Issue I

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower is an innovative educational facility located in Tokyo’s distinctive Nishi-Shinjuki high rise district. Completed in October 2008, the 204-meter (669ft) 50-story tower is the second-tallest education building in the world. The building’s elliptical shape, wrapped in a criss-cross web of diagonal lines.


Case Study: CCTV Building – Headquarters & Cultural Center

CTBUH Journal, 2008 Issue III

The new headquarters of China Central Television contains the entire television-making process within a single building. The 234m tall tower redefines the form of the skyscraper, with the primary system comprised of a continuous structural tube of columns, beams and braces around the entire skin of the building.


Case Study: Shanghai World Financial Center

CTBUH Journal, 2008 Issue II

From the onset of the Shanghai World Financial Center project, its developers targeted a cutting-edge, mixed use mega-complex that would serve a multitude of tenant lifestyle demands. When a desire to change the building size surfaced after the foundation was put in place, it was up to the structural designer.