Best Tall Building Awards

These awards recognize projects that have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and that achieve sustainability at the highest and broadest level. The winning projects must also exhibit processes and/or innovations that have added to the profession of design and enhance the cities and the lives of their inhabitants. Some of the criteria for submission are outlined below. It is important to note that, with the exception of the two points regarding completion date eligibility and tall building definitions, a project does not necessarily need to meet every listed criteria. Submissions should demonstrate strengths in areas that are applicable.

  1. The project advances seamless integration of architectural form, structure, building systems, sustainable design strategies, and life safety for its occupants.
  2. The project exhibits sustainable qualities at a broad level:
    • Environment – minimize effects on the natural environment through proper site utilization, innovative uses of materials, energy reduction, use of alternative energy sources, and reduced emissions and water consumption
    • People – has a positive effect on the inhabitants and the quality of human lives
    • Community – demonstrates relevance to the contemporary and future needs of the community in which it is located
    • Economic – adds economic vitality to its occupants, owner, and community.
  3. The project achieves a high standard of excellence and quality in its realization.
  4. The site planning and response to its immediate context ensure rich and meaningful urban environments.
  5. The project must be completed (topped out structurally and architecturally, fully clad, and at least partially occupied) no earlier than January 1st of the previous year, and no later than the current year’s submission deadline. (e.g., for the  awards, a project must have a completion date between January 1,  and April 30, ). In some cases a project may be complete according to CTBUH completion criteria, but the presence of a crane/hoist for ongoing interior fit-out work may prevent final photography and thus submission to the current year’s awards. In such cases, a one-year grace period to the above date criteria may be granted.
  6. Projects submitted to the Best Tall Building awards must meet the CTBUH definition requirements for a “building,” noting that telecommunications/observation towers are not eligible for CTBUH awards. A tall building can be classed as such if at least 50% of its height is occupied by usable floor area. Projects must also be considered “tall” buildings. If a project is less than 14 stories, or less than 50 meters, it is unlikely to qualify. Please contact awards@ctbuh.org if you are unsure if your specific project will qualify.
  7. The contributions of the project should be generally consistent with the values and mission of the CTBUH.

 
Additional Notes:

  • A project is only eligible for consideration of a CTBUH Best Tall Building award once, and cannot be submitted in a consecutive year’s awards program regardless of whether it may still meet the completion date criteria.
  • From the four regional awards, one project is awarded the honor of overall Best Tall Building “Worldwide,” which is judged following the awards symposium and announced at the awards ceremony.
  • Awards in some categories may not be conferred on an annual basis if the criteria cannot be clearly met or demonstrated.
  • If a juror is connected with a nominated project, he/she will not be involved in the judging of that category.
  • Jury selections for all regional winners and the overall building winner must be ratified by the CTBUH Board of Trustees.
  • All submissions in this category will be featured in the highly acclaimed annual Best Tall Buildings book.


 

Urban Habitat Award

This award acknowledges that the impact of a tall building is far wider than just the building itself, and recognizes significant contributions to the urban realm in connection with tall buildings. Submissions can range from a brilliantly executed master plan which has led to a quality urban environment, or at the scale of a single site, where the interface between tall building and the urban realm is exemplary. Projects should demonstrate a positive contribution to the surrounding environment, add to the social sustainability of both their immediate and wider settings, and represent design influenced by context, both environmentally and culturally.

  1. Submissions can range in scale from a single site to a complete master plan of a neighborhood or city.
  2. The site or master plan must be fully realized at the time of submission; proposals or visions are not eligible. In the case of a master plan, a multi-phase plan that is only partially completed will be accepted, but must be far enough progressed that its urbanistic intent is evident.
  3. The “urban habitat” aspect of the project must have been completed and utilized in the two years prior to the current awards year, to have allowed time for the urban habitat to have established itself (e.g., for the  awards, a project must have a completion date between January 1,  and December 31, ).

 
Additional Notes:

  • Projects that are submitted for the regional Best Tall Building awards are also eligible to submit to the Urban Habitat award in the same year.
  • Projects that have been submitted to the regional Best Tall Building awards in the previous year are eligible for submission for the Urban Habitat award in the subsequent year, as long as the completion criteria is within the dates as outlined above.
  • All submissions in this category will be featured in the highly acclaimed annual Best Tall Buildings book.


 

Innovation Award

This award recognizes a specific area of recent innovation in a tall building project that has been realized in a design, implemented during construction/operation, or thoroughly tested and documented for its suitability in a high-rise. Unlike the CTBUH Best Tall Building Awards, which consider each project holistically, this award is focused on one special area of innovation within the design, construction, or operation of the project – not the building overall. The areas of innovation can embrace any discipline, including but not limited to technical breakthroughs, construction methods, design approaches, urban planning, building systems, façades, and interior environment. The important criteria for judging is that the submission outlines succinctly the area of innovation, in comparison to standard benchmarks.

  1. The project must clearly demonstrate a specific area of innovation within the design and/or construction that is new and pushes the design of tall buildings to a higher level.
  2. The area of innovation should demonstrate an element of adaptability that would allow it to influence future tall building design, construction or operation in a positive way.
  3. The Innovation Award can include recognition of a breakthrough that may not yet have been implemented in a specific building, but has been thoroughly tested.

 
Additional Notes:

  • This award is intended to recognize a single element of innovation within a project. If a single project has multiple innovative elements, these must be submitted as separate nominations.
  • Buildings that are submitted for the regional Best Tall Building awards are also eligible to have their specific innovations submitted to the Innovation Award in the same or subsequent years.
  • All submissions in this category will be featured in the highly acclaimed annual Best Tall Buildings book.


 

Performance Award

The CTBUH Best Tall Building awards, like most awards programs, recognize new buildings – based partly on the stated intentions of these buildings. However, it is increasingly being recognized that the industry needs to focus on actual “performance” rather than “best intentions” and thus, the CTBUH Performance Award recognizes proven environmental value and performance over a period of time.

The Performance Award recognizes the measured environmental performance of a building or development, and the award goes to the building that has the least environmental impact on the urban realm using measured data. The purpose of the award is to recognize buildings that excel in their particular conditions.

  1. For a building to be considered for the CTBUH Performance Award, it must be at least three years since completion, and the building should have 70 percent occupancy or above.
  2. The collection and presentation of key data is required and the building must have more than a year of measured data.
  3. Environmental performance can be assessed in any category, including but not limited to, internal environmental performance, energy use, energy improvements (e.g., reductions for refurbishment), use of natural resources, energy creation, and carbon footprinting. The performance should be linked to occupant satisfaction and contribution to urban realm, although this will be subjective and shall only be a deciding factor between buildings of similar performance.

 
View an extract from the CTBUH Performance Award 2014 winning submission.
 
Additional Notes:

  • Candidates for the Performance Award will need to show documentary evidence of the building performance, which should be benchmarked.
  • Some form of independent verification should be available
  • It is left to the submitter’s discretion on how to best and most accurately illustrate this performance, but, as an ideal, a submission that shows performance data/metrics against standard benchmarks for a minimum period of one year would be considered excellent documentary evidence.


 

10 Year Award

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and is not open for general submission.

The 10 Year Award recognizes proven value and performance (across one or more of a wide range of criteria – see below) over a period of time. This award gives an opportunity to reflect back on buildings that have been completed and operational for a decade, and acknowledge those projects that have performed successfully long after the ribbon-cutting ceremonies have passed.

  1. The building’s performance must be evident, and may include but is not limited to: contribution to urban realm, contribution to culture / iconography, social issues, internal environment / occupant satisfaction, technical / engineering performance (structural engineering, seismic, wind, etc.), environmental performance, fire & safety, and vertical transportation.
  2. For a building to be considered for the CTBUH 10 Year Award, it must have been completed 10 years prior to the current award year. (e.g., for the  awards, a project must have a completion date between January 1,  and December 31, ).


 

Special Global Icon Award

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and is not open for general submission.

The CTBUH Global Icon Award is bestowed to a unique tall building for the profound impact it has made, not only on its local/regional context, but on the genre of tall buildings globally. Innovative in planning, design, and execution, the building will have influenced and re-shaped the field of tall building architecture, engineering, and urban planning. This award is only conferred occasionally, perhaps every ten or fifteen years, when merited by an exceptional building. The inaugural CTBUH Global Icon Award was conferred on the Burj Khalifa in 2010.


 

Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and is not open for general submission.

This award recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment during his or her professional career. These contributions and leadership are recognized by the professional community and have significant effects, which extend beyond the professional community, to enhance cities and the lives of their inhabitants. The individual’s contributions may be well known or little known by the public and may take any form, such as completed buildings, research, technology, methods, ideas, or industry leadership.

The candidate may be from any area of specialization, including, but not limited to: architecture, building systems, construction, academia, urban planning, development, or management. The award emphasizes the unique, multi-disciplinary nature of the Council and is thus set apart from other professional organizations’ awards for single disciplines.
 
 
Additional Notes:

  • The personal attributes of the award recipient should be of high professional integrity and the individual’s contributions generally consistent with the values and mission of the Council and its founder, Dr. Lynn S. Beedle.
  • The candidate may or may not be a member of the Council.
  • The award is not intended to be awarded posthumously, although it may be so awarded in some cases.


 

Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and is not open for general submission.

This award recognizes an individual for his or her demonstrated excellence in technical design and/or research that has made a significant contribution to a discipline(s) for the design of tall buildings and the built urban environment. The contribution may be demonstrated in the form of specific technical advances, innovations, design breakthroughs, building systems integration or innovative engineering systems that resulted in a practical design solution and completion of a project(s). The consideration may be based on a single project or creative achievement through multiple projects.
 
 
Additional Notes:

  • The personal attributes of the award recipient should be of high professional integrity and the individual’s contributions generally consistent with the values and mission of the Council.
  • The candidate may or may not be a member of the Council.
  • The award is not intended to be awarded posthumously, although it may be so awarded in some cases.


 

CTBUH Fellows

Note: This award is bestowed by the CTBUH Board of Trustees, and is not open for general submission.

CTBUH Fellows are recognized for their contribution to the Council over an extended period of time, and in recognition of their work and the sharing of their knowledge in the design and construction of tall buildings and the urban habitat.