2021 CTBUH Journal Issue II

23 June 2021


A special report on the Tall + Urban Innovation CTBUH Award winners, a case study on the complex Raffles City Chongqing, a deep dive into building tall with timber and much more.



In connection with the 2021 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference, this special edition of the CTBUH Journal Issue II features a rich exploration of all aspects of the CTBUH Awards program, chronicling its evolution to present day. This issue includes a special report on the 2021 roster focusing on common themes across disciplines and categories (Tall + Urban Innovation: The 2021 CTBUH Awards paper), to an intriguing numerical breakdown of the Awards’ history (Tall Buildings in Numbers data study), to a fascinating chronicle of the tightly-integrated project management approach to the massive Raffles City Chongqing project, winner of three Awards of Excellence, is in the research paper Overcoming the Challenges of a Complex Mega-Scale Project.



Inside this issue

The intricacies of the office typology in particular are discussed in this issue’s Talking Tall. This is particularly relevant in the context of the pandemic, which has caused many to question the assumptions around office demand and design over the past year.


Though the future of the office is far from certain, at present many cities are grappling with high vacancy rates for office properties in downtown areas, a trajectory that increasingly intersects with increased interest in converting high-rises to residential use. Ask a CTBUH Expert outlines some of the best practices for conducting those conversions.


Even before the health and well-being aspects took center stage, the received notions of fashionable office design trends, particularly around spaces “engineered for serendipitous collisions,” have been questioned in terms of desired well-being and productivity outcomes, as in the research paper Interconnecting Stairs: The Vertical Axis of Mobility and Social Interaction.

Opinion leaders could be thought of as ‘human microwaves,’ who present a persuasive professional motivation for people to move vertically.
- Chevez & Simpson

At a time when we pause to consider innovation, not only in terms of great potential but also in terms of realistic implementation, we publish two research papers. One, Regulating Compact Urban Complexes in Jakarta, works at the urban scale, seeking to draw out the truths in implementation of a transit-oriented development (TOD) program in a city that, until very recently, had development well out of scale with its transport infrastructure and land-use guidelines. The other, Systemization of Cities Beyond Industry 4.0, looks at the resource-use implications of combining emerging artificial intelligence technologies, prefabrication technique, and life-cycle analysis when it comes to building our cities.


Trade-offs around resource use, the need for urban accommodation, and economic viability are likely to intensify in coming years alongside the climate crisis. Is it time to put aside concerns about purity of material and accept compromise in favor of hybrid approaches? That is the thorny question in this issue’s Debating Tall.


There are few certainties around the future of tall buildings and cities at any time, even less in the wake of a huge disruption like a global pandemic. But it is fairly certain that any credible response to urban crises will have to come from coordinated, interdisciplinary effort. Now more than ever, we are grateful for the support of our members in tackling these new frontiers.




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