CTBUH Chapter Event

High-Rise Buildings in Spain: New or Renew? CTBUH 2024 International Conference Launch Event

Wednesday, 20 March 2024 | COAM, 3rd Floor (Loggia) C/ Hortaleza 63 | Madrid

What's the best path to be sustainable and future-proof?

Anticipating our upcoming international conference in London and Paris, join the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) in vibrant Madrid for a pre-conference launch event to explore the emerging trends European cities are facing in these rapidly changing times. 

Madrid is a city where high-rise buildings are southern European high, but plans to build many new structures within the next few years will assuredly reshape the skyline. It is the perfect setting to explore the central theme of the CTBUH 2024 International Conference: New or Renew—Addressing the Density Dilemma.

“New or Renew” invokes the choice between new buildings and cities or the adaptation of existing ones for the sake of environmental, economic, and social responsibility. This is not about the conflict between old and new, or heritage versus future. Instead, we seek to identify strategies for transformation and growth that bring new blood to urban life.

With its unique history, diverse economy, and advantageous location, Madrid is an ideal stage to debate the problems, solutions, trends, and best practices that many European cities are confronting today. Specifically, we’ll examine:

  •   How cities are changing the flow and movement of people within urban areas (e.g., how university campuses are migrating into more convenient and vertical campuses within the city center);
  •   How broad innovations in high-rise buildings can be employed on a more local scale in cities like Madrid; 
  •   How rehabilitation trends lead to simpler, prefabricated solutions—including waste management—with decreased environmental impact and less embedded carbon;
  •   And numerous other challenges and opportunities.


Driven by dynamic economies and the undeniable effects of climate change, European cities are on the verge of an evolutionary change. Will their roots, embedded in a history dating back millennia, be the key for success? 

Join CTBUH and a distinguished roster of urban planners, developers, architects, and other thought leaders, who will share their insights in an engaging and dynamic dialogue, populated with case studies and updates on the most relevant innovations from the industry. You won’t want to miss this exclusive event, which will provide an extraordinary opportunity to see the future of Madrid and the buildings that are going to be built in Spain, as well as a unique chance to interact with a diversified group of experts from across the continent.



Why Attend? 

This is the premier opportunity to gain insights into the latest thinking in future-proof solutions from the region’s most distinguished experts in urban development, tall buildings, and sustainability. Attendees can develop business leads and partnerships at the regional level while networking with top names in the industry. The conversations that happen here will enable you to influence best-practice thinking and policymaking in your region.

Who Should Attend? 

Professionals from all disciplines with a connection to and interest in tall buildings and urban habitat are encouraged to attend, including building owners, architects, developers, leaders in the construction industry, and experts associated with the technologies and psychology of making urban living sustainable and profitable.


COAM, 3rd Floor (Loggia)

C/ Hortaleza 63, Madrid





13.45–14.45 PM: Registration & Standing Cocktail

14.45 PM: Welcome & Introduction Opening Keynote

Iñigo Ortiz Díez de Tortosa: Spanish Representative of the CTBUH and founding partner of Ortiz.León Architects.

15.00–15.30 PM: 1st Session: New or Renew: Present and Future of Cities

By Antony Wood: Tall Building Expert, CTBUH President, and Professor of Sustainable Vertical Urbanism

The future challenge of skyscrapers lies not in their height, but in how they contribute to the creation of sustainable vertical cities, incorporating features such as green space at height, horizontal connections between public space and buildings, and functional diversity. Join CTBUH President Dr. Antony Wood in a thorough examination of the latest trends, drivers, and challenges—including over-commercialization and homogenization—facing urban areas today. Against this backdrop, Dr. Wood will propose a variety of design principles that, if adopted in skyscraper design, could result in tall buildings that are more physically, environmentally, culturally, socially, and economically appropriate and responsible. In doing so, he will highlight the need for a new vernacular for skyscrapers in regions across the globe and deliver an impetus for realizing truly sustainable vertical cities in Spain and beyond.  

15.30–16.00 PM: 2nd session: High Rise, LIving Blocks and Densification Patterns

By Naiara Vegara: Metropoli CitiesLab Director; Programme Head in the Architectural Association, London. PhD Cum Laude University of Navarra

The evolution of our cities requires the creative adaptation of our cityscape and neighbourhoods to support the contemporary society. Resilient cities attract and integrate emerging activities and new ways of living. Metropoli sees an opportunity to integrate multi-scalar processes of design that consider functional, environmental and socio-economic ecosystems to foster the sustainable development of cities. The core neighbourhoods are conceived from a city scale perspective to facilitate complementarity and uniqueness of profiles across neighbourhoods. Naiara Vegara will share projects in Europe and in a global context to showcase design dialogues from regional, city, district to street scale that orient the character of densification patterns. The explorations introduce new concepts of urban grain and typology to foster sustainable density solutions that integrate mix use activity, community, mobility and public realm in pedestrian structures, the living blocks.

16.00–16.30 PM: 3rd Session: Educational Centers & High-Rise Buildings 

By Mark Fenwick: Partner at Fenwick Iribarren architects

Cities around the world are in constant evolution to create a dynamic business environment and enjoyable living conditions. At the same time, they have to keep up with a growing and more diversified number of challenges. 

Unlike in other regions, the evolution of the cities in Europe is often constrained be the need to preserve their historic aspects ad beauty. In this session, Mark Fenwick will talk about specific solutions identified, with an example: the IE Campus in Madrid, and the change that happened with private institutions that used to be located outside the cities with sports arenas and low buildings, and now are moving back to the city, becoming vertical campuses more convenient and modernized, helping students save time in commuting, while having all amenities around.

16.30–17.00 PM: 4th Session: Mobility Design with People in Mind

By Javier Sesma: Senior Vice President at TK Elevator

With United Nations projecting nearly 70 percent world population living in cities by 2050, we aspire to make cities and the urban environment better places to live.  Big cities keep growing every year in every corner of the planet. They attract more talent and more investment. With buildings becoming vertical Cities we need to humanize high-density to create new sustainable spaces where people can live, work and entertain. 

We need to plan the cities in a way that help its inhabitants to move and go to places easy to make them more livable and seamlessly connected.  Humanizing High Density requires “Mobility designed with Humans in mind”, that connect buildings, people and urban realm physically and socially, where people´s living experience not just in heights but at neighborhoods is advanced, inclusive, socially acceptable and digitally connected.

In this presentation, Javier Sesma Senior Vice President of global Business Development at TK Elevator, will guide participants through use cases to Humanize High Density within vertical and horizontal transportation, including designs and latest trends to personalize the passenger experience. Presentation be finalised with real use cases of Vertical transportation systems to repurpose existing buildings and advance humanization of high density beyond the elevator shaft through renewing sustainable mobility for the last mile.

17.00–17.15 PM: Closing remarks

-          High rise Buildings in Spain poster presentation by Iñigo Ortiz Díez de Tortosa. 

-          Introduction to High Rise Buildings Week by Maria Concepción Pérez Gutierrez. Professor of Structural Analysis at the Higher Polytechnic School CEU San Pablo University

17:15­–18:15 PM: Networking coffee


Mark Fenwick

Co-Founder and Architect, Fenwick Iribarren Architects
Madrid, Spain

Maria Perez Gutierrez

phd Architect. Structural Analysis Professor, CEU SAN PABLO
Pozuelo de Alarcon, Spain
Senior Vice President - Global Business Development, TK Elevator GmbH
Düsseldorf, Germany

Naiara Vegara

Metropoli CitiesLab Director, Metropoli Group
Madrid, Spain
President, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Chicago, United States