Industry Leaders Discuss the Future of Tall Buildings and CTBUH

8 November 2022, Chicago

In the recent leaders-only meeting, CTBUH Assembly Chairs and Vice-chairs, the expanded Advisory Group, Board of Trustees members, and regional representative all met to discuss what they want out of the tall building industry and the CTBUH organization in the next two years. The CTBUH Leaders split into five groups to discuss "big ideas" and these were shared to the full group at the end of the breakout session. 

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Leaders arrived in Chicago a day early to attend the 2022 Leaders Meeting, generously hosted at the iconic offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Attendees received a welcome from Steve Watts, CTBUH chairman, and Scott Duncan, CTBUH Trustee and Partner at SOM, along with an update on CTBUH initiatives from CTBUH CEO Javier Quintana de Uña.
After a brief coffee break, leaders were split into 5 breakout groups and asked to brainstorm two questions: What one thing should happen in the tall building industry or urban habitat in the next two years? And, what would you like to see happening with CTBUH in the next two years?
At the conclusion of the breakouts, leaders reconvened and shared results.
After leaving SOM, leaders toured The Old Post Office (TOPO), the largest adaptive reuse project in the nation.
CTBUH leaders in the lobby of The Old Post Office.
The tour concluded on the roof of TOPO at The Meadow, the nation’s largest private rooftop deck.


"Big Ideas" for the Future of the Tall Building Industry:

  • Environmental Sustainability: Consider the full life cycle and total embodied energy when building new structures. Focus on decarbonization, energy density, greening the grid, etc.

  • Material Reuse and Alternatives: Reusing, adapting, and regenerating existing structures. Look for alternatives to conventional building materials, such as concrete, and building hybrid structures that use materials in their most efficient way.

  • Embracing New Technologies: Increasing efficiency in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry, by embracing new technologies, such as automation and robotics, augmented and virtual reality, modularization of documentation and design.

  • Social Impact and Influence: Maintain the livability of society with increased density, unified master planning, and focus on financial sustainability and wellness. Influence city dwellers and society through thought leadership to encourage the building better.


"Big Ideas" for the Future of the CTBUH:

  • Strengthen CTBUH's Impact: Built on the momentum and success of existing actions and outputs, to launch new opportunities and initiatives, such as clarifying the CTBUH brand and launching an accreditation program.

  • Embrace the Urban Habitat: Diversify the focus and mission of CTBUH to also highlight the Urban Habitat, in addition to architecture and engineering. Collect and publish metrics in urbanism.

  • Progress Tall and Urban Thought Leadership: Provide guidance on sustainable vertical urbanism and be the resource for others to be leaders in their countries. Have a stronger voice in press and media and improve visibility in academia, to connect with students early in their career.

  • Support for Chapters and Leaders: Improve support for local chapters through renewed CTBUH brand standardization, use of better technology, and providing a framework to leverage contributions from tall building professionals.

  • Advance and Streamline Tall and Urban Data: Better use of data collected, such as establishing metrics and protocols for new and old buildings and highlighting case studies and research that provides sustainable best practices for developers and owners.