CTBUH Americas Initiatives, 2024 Q1

The first quarter of 2024 has seen an exciting level of activity in the CTBUH Americas region, with new chapter growth, various local events, and a successful regional conference in Miami! See below for the highlights from the past 3 months.

New Texas Chapter debuts at the 2024 Americas Conference in Miami

Headlining the start of 2024 Americas Conference, a group of engaged members have been rapidly working towards the establishment of a CTBUH Texas Chapter, with the collective goal of being fully established ahead of the CTBUH 2024 Americas Conference on the 21st of February. At the leaders meeting in Miami, the group officially announced their new chapter, which will encompass three cities: Houston, Austin, and Dallas.

Read a summary report of the CTBUH 2024 Americas Conference here.


The new chapter is already making waves in Houston, with a recent article featured in the Kinder Insitute for Urban Research's news platform, Urban Edge. Read the recent article highlighting CTBUH Texas here.

Founding members of the energized and driven CTBUH Texas Chapter include:

Irma Reiner, Corgan

Mide Akinsade, Perkins & Will

Brett Rhode, Rhode Partners

John Rovi, Oldcastle Building Envelope  

Kristopher Swanson, DCI Engineers

Brandon Townsend, Page

Brent Wenger, IMEG Corp

California continues steady growth with a San Francisco Walking Tour

Continuing to gain momentum, a group of dedicated members in California, led by local coordinator Satyendra Jenamani of HOK, shifted focus from Los Angeles to San Francisco this February, with a sold-out tour exploring three projects in downtown San Francisco. The tour gave participants insights into developments in fire service and evacuation elevators, different façade access systems, and architectural, planning, and approval constraints.

For local firm Maffei Structural Engineering, exploring tall buildings in the neighborhood of their office was both inspiring and educational. Joe Maffei, a member of CTBUH for 15 years, added, "CTBUH does a great job of creating dialog among diverse disciplines in the context of tall buildings and urban planning."

A special thanks to Ramin Golesorkhi, PhD, PE, GE, F. ASCE of Langan Engineering & Environmental Services for hosting a welcoming happy hour after the tour. Photos provided by Dan Hogman, AIA of SmithGroup.


A strong start to 2024 for the Canada Chapter

On 11 March, Toronto hosted a captivating session on wind engineering, "Optimizing the serviceability performance of tall buildings through aerodynamic shaping and implementation of damping systems." The TMU architecture room was abuzz with excitement as Bujar Morava from RWDI took the stage to delve into the intricate world of optimizing serviceability performance in tall buildings. From New York City to Toronto, he journeyed through iconic projects wind-engineered by RWDI, exploring the relationship between aerodynamic shaping and innovative damping systems.

In a landscape where skyscrapers make bold statements, Bujar's presentation shed light on the delicate balance between architectural ambition and structural integrity. It's fascinating to see how towering marvels navigate the winds of change, ensuring not just stability, but also enhancing the urban skyline. The session reminds us of the relentless pursuit of excellence in architectural design and engineering. We look forward to more groundbreaking insights and towering achievements in the world of tall buildings!


Later in March, the chapter was excited to host its second Speed Mentoring. This event is directed to newcomers in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, young professionals who have recently entered the workforce or students enrolled in bridging programs or completing their final year of undergraduate or graduate studies in architecture, engineering, or related fields. The Speed Mentorship Initiative provides students and new professionals an exclusive opportunity to engage 1-to-1 and in small groups with several accomplished individuals in the AEC industry.

Vancouver committee reactivation

Led by Dan Lenander, Zeidler Architecture, the CTBUH Vancouver Committee gathered for an inaugural meeting on 8 February, graciously hosted by Fast and Epp Engineers at their Concept Lab. The group discussed ideas for future event topics and made a plan to form a local chapter in 2024. We look forward to seeing many CTBUH events in the near future as the local committee forms!

The meeting resulted in a core group of members that will continue to foster engagement in Vancouver. Leading the charge on the executive committee:

Co-chair: Dan Lenander, Zeidler Architecture

Co-chair: Brian Breukelman, Motus Consulting

Secretary: Claude Touikan, Lead8

Treasurer: Jesse Moore, RDH




New York City announces new chapter board

In January, the NYC Chapter announced its revitalized chapter board, led by chair Ilkay Can-Standard, GENX Design and Technology. You can read the full article we released on Ilkay's new appointment as chair and her vision for the future of CTBUH in New York here.

The chapter kicked off a new year of events with their Winter Social at the offices of BIG, spotlighting some of their members' remarkable work while providing the opportunity to network and share in the spirit of camaraderie. For those who had been considering volunteering with the chapter, this was a chance to connect and get involved.


Thornton Tomasetti hosts timely discussion on office to residential conversion

In March, Thornton Tomasetti hosted an enlightening panel of industry experts with a timely discussion on the conversion of office buildings to residential buildings. Wendi Shafran of FXCollaborative shared her architectural insights and experiences from the NYC Mayor's task force on this critical subject; Robert LiMandri from Socotec delved into various project hurdles from project financials to code and zoning factors; Thomas Rosenberger of GFP provided a construction perspective, drawing on his experience in executing such conversions.


Philadelphia sets the stage with two engaging presentations

For their first event of 2024, the Philadelphia Chapter held a networking reception and design briefing of West Tower, hosted by Paul Commito, Senior Vice President of Development at Brandywine Realty Trust. 3025 JFK Blvd, also referred to as the West Tower, is a 28-story mixed-use tower located within Brandywine’s dynamic, 14-acre master-planned Schuylkill Yards neighborhood. Directly adjacent to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and featuring office/life science space, retail space, indoor/outdoor amenity space, plus 326 upscale residences at Avira, 3025 JFK Blvd offers integrated, elevated environments to work and live in Philadelphia's most exciting new neighborhood.


In February, the chapter held a keynote presentation by Jaron Lubin, Partner of Safdie Architects, and a pre-recorded interview with Moshe Safdie, Founding Partner of Safdie Architects, followed by a multidisciplinary panel discussion on “Greening High-Density Cities,” involving government, developer, urban planner, and architect. Research shows that green spaces in cities offer tremendous benefits, including contributing to climate-change mitigation, strengthening social cohesion, improving physical and mental health, and supporting long-term economic growth.


Seattle Chapter board and future leaders organize educational building tours

In January, the CTBUH Seattle Chapter organized a tour of the 3rd and Battery project in Seattle on Jan 17th as an educational event for the chapter board and future leaders. Located in downtown Seattle, this 15-story, 112-unit residential project is more than just Seattle's greenest apartment building and the world's first net zero apartment high-rise. 303 Battery (aka Third & Battery) also represents the innovative and tenacious spirit of its design team.

Credit: May So
Credit: John Stout
Credit: May So


In February, the Seattle Future Leaders held their first event of 2024, a tour of 35 Stone. Telling a timber story of sustainability, 35 Stone celebrates Seattle’s origins with its mass timber framework and an industrial-inspired form. The neighborhood-focused workplace and retail experience anchors the corner of evolution Project’s Campus Seattle and will be a showcase for Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program.


Chicago Chapter appears at BuiltX

Last, but certainly not least, our local Chicago Chapter partnered with Northwestern’s Built Environment Exchange (BuiltX). Several times a year, the Master of Science in Executive Management for Design and Construction (EMDC) program hosts BuiltX, an idea forum and networking event for members of the built environment – which benefits both EMDC students and professionals working in the built environment. On January 17, the event featured a panel discussion, “Reactivating the Loop.”


Chicago Future Leaders host mass timber presentation and office tour

The CTBUH Chicago FLC, led by new chair Nuria Abad Sanz, hosted a tour of the new Thornton Tomasetti office space located in 600 W Fulton, followed by a Mass Timber presentation by Alejandro Fernandez. The presentation covered the design and construction of Ascent in Milwaukee, currently the tallest Timber-Concrete Hybrid Building in the world, and double the height of the next tallest mass timber building in the US. Attendees learned about the process that made this achievement possible, as well as the Mass Timber design principles, permitting and construction process, and new innovations.