Best Tall Building Awards Criteria

Note: Projects are considered for two levels of recognition: (1) “Award of Excellence” winners, based on the online submission, (2) all “Award of Excellence” winners then go forward to live presentation judging at the annual innovation conference, for consideration of the category winner overall.

  • Best Tall Building under 100 meters
  • Best Tall Building 100-199 meters
  • Best Tall Building 200-299 meters
  • Best Tall Building 300 meters and above
  • Best Tall Office Building
  • Best Tall Residential or Hotel Building
  • Best Tall Mixed-Use Building
  • Best Tall Other Function Building
  • Best Tall Building Worldwide (selected from the Overall Category Winners)

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 criterion. 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) within a 24-month eligibility window: for the  awards, a project must have a completion date between January 1,  and December 31, . 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. It should also be noted that, though materials should be sufficient to inform and inspire the jury in making their decision on “Awards of Excellence” winners, supplementary, final photography and other materials can be submitted prior to the final category judging at the Innovation Conference event.
  7. Projects submitted to all CTBUH awards must meet the CTBUH definition requirements for a “building,” noting that telecommunications/observation towers are not eligible. 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.
  8. Submitted buildings will automatically compete in one of four height categories, as well as one of four function categories. Height categories include: <100 meters; 100–199 meters; 200–299 meters; and ≥300 meters. Function categories include: Office; Residential or Hotel; Mixed-Use; and Other Function.
  9. The honor of Best Tall Building “Worldwide” is judged based on the “Award of Excellence” winner presentations at the Innovation Conference. Once the jury determines the overall winner for each category, they are also judged against one another with the Worldwide Winner announced at the close of the Ceremony & Dinner.
  10. 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 award in a specific category once, and cannot be submitted in a consecutive year’s awards program for the same category regardless of whether it may still meet the completion date criteria.
  • A single project can submit for consideration across multiple award categories, in the same or consecutive year, though each submission needs to be crafted differently, according to the specifics of the particular awards category criteria.
  • 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 project.
  • Jury selections for all winners must be ratified by the CTBUH Board of Trustees.
  • All projects entered to the CTBUH awards will also be eligible for inclusion in CTBUH’s Skyscrapers book publication which features a global overview of tall building completion annually. The book is published by CTBUH and distributed globally, thus providing excellent promotion for the submitted projects and companies involved.
  • “Award of Excellence” winners are expected to comply with the following responsibilities:
    • Representatives of the project (for Best Tall Building, Urban Habitat, and Renovation categories this must be both the owner/developer and design architect/urban planner) must present at the two-day Innovation Conference to be held in Shenzhen, China from April 08-10, for consideration of also winning the category overall, with all speakers representing the project needing to be CTBUH organizational members. These presentations will form the basis for the jury’s selection of Overall Category Winners.
    • Attend the annual Awards Ceremony & Dinner at the close of the Innovation Conference to collect the award(s).
    • Support the Council, who do not charge any fees to administer the awards program, by all speakers paying the subsidized speaker registration rate at the Conference.