CTBUH Board of Trustees Gather in Venice for March Retreat

Friday, 11 March 2016 | Venice

The CTBUH Board of Trustees met in March for a retreat in the picturesque city of Venice, their first meeting of 2016. The CTBUH Research Office, located at IUAV University of Venice, played host to the Board, several of whom brought a family member along to enjoy the convivial Venetian atmosphere. After a long day of meetings, the group had the opportunity to enjoy all that Venice has to offer, from boat rides through the canals to traditional Italian cuisine.

In the fantastic setting of the late-15th century Ca’ Tron building, once owned by a wealthy Venetian family, CTBUH Chairman David Malott, Principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox, kicked off the day’s activities with an introductory speech and a recap of CTBUH activities since the last Board of Trustee meeting, which took place in New York in October 2015. Next, the Trustees were joined by CTBUH Research Manager Dario Trabucco, who introduced the research office staff, the venue for the day’s meeting – IUAV University – and updated the Board on the activities of the CTBUH research office. He discussed several research outputs, including the recently completed Life Cycle Assessment of Tall Building Structural Systems, along with ongoing research related to composite megacolumns, tall building damping, and green living technologies, among others.

Following Dario’s presentation, CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood took the floor to present the financial reports for 2015 and discuss budgetary logistics for 2016. Additionally, Wood also previewed several initiatives on the schedule for 2016. Among a number of topics discussed were new staff hires, expansion to a new downtown office in Chicago, membership growth, digital platforms, and new publications. Wood also detailed CTBUH-related media coverage and offered several examples of prestigious news outlets that covered the Council in 2015.

Wood also previewed the 2016 International Conference – “Cities to Megacities: Shaping Dense Vertical Urbanism” – to be held in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. After explaining the conference program structure, Wood introduced the conference venues for each city and discussed some of the confirmed programming. There will be four networking sessions held during the week-long conference, three of which are scheduled to be located in the tallest building (once complete) of each conference city. In addition, 35 of an anticipated 50 sponsors are now confirmed.

Following Wood’s presentation, members of the Board were asked to share a brief run-down of the work they have been doing in support of the Council. Each Trustee prepared a short PowerPoint of activities.

Trustee Vincent Tse, Managing Director of Building MEP China Region, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, began by describing the work he has been doing in preparation for the upcoming conference. Located in China, Tse has been instrumental in supporting the planning of the event while encouraging local firms to join the Council.

Next, Trustee Abrar Sheriff, President & CEO, Turner International, took the floor to discuss the activities he has organized for the Young Professionals Committees located in other cities of the USA, building on the success of the New York YPC, as well as regional chapters around the globe. Following Sheriff, CTBUH Secretary Tim Neal, Global Director – Buildings, Arcadis, discussed proposals for future research assignments along with Arcadis-supported CTBUH UK programming, and a new media collaboration in the works.

Trustee Dennis Poon, Vice Chairman, Thornton Tomaetti, described initiatives to support and grow the CTBUH New York chapter and profiled several prospective CTBUH member companies.  Steve Watts, CTBUH Treasurer and Partner, Alinea Consulting, followed with more information on his work with CTBUH UK along with more detailed plans for 2016 initiatives, such as contributing to the city’s ongoing skyline debate.

CTBUH Vice-Chairmain Timothy Johnson, Design Partner, NBBJ, next presented on the imminent launch of a CTBUH Miami chapter and described the work he is doing to engage major Chinese technology firms in advance of the 2016 conference. David Malott retook the floor for a presentation on information regarding CTBUH intellectual property and a recap of all regional events around the world in 2015.

Finally, Trustee Mounib Hammoud, CEO, Jeddah Economic Company, discussed sponsoring the 2016 conference at the Diamond level and building up an increased presence for CTBUH in the Middle East region.

Another major initiative to come out of the day’s discussions was an agreement to fund proposals by the CTBUH New York and Australia chapters for future events and enhanced involvement in their local tall building communities.

With the official business for the day in the rearview mirror, the Trustees were joined by their family members and the CTBUH Research office staff, and thoughts turned to the leisure and sightseeing activities planned for the remainder of the day.  Two boats magically glided to the Grand Canal side of the meeting venue to whisk Trustees on a tour of Venice’s canals in twilight.

Finally, all gathered for a celebratory dinner in one of Venice’s many fine dining locations. The laid-back, familial atmosphere of the evening reflected the overall tone of the retreat and the positive working relationship that the Board has built over the years.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled to take place in Shenzhen on the pre-day to the 2016 Conference, Sunday October, 16.