The CTBUH Awards celebrate tall buildings in their every dimension. From project conception through the various design and engineering awards to project realization with the construction and renovation awards, the program recognizes the interconnected disciplines involved in these complex projects. In addition, projects vie for distinction within a specific height band, and in context as urban habitat. Lastly, 10-year awards commend time-proven projects.

See project category criteria and submission requirements below. Please note: all known building data fields from the CTBUH tall building database will automatically populate the award submission form, reducing the number of required fields for each submission. Submitters retain the ability to add additional building information and amend any of the existing fields, where appropriate.


Best Tall Building Awards Criteria

Note: Projects are considered for two levels of recognition: (1) “Award of Excellence” winners, based on the online submission and Phase 1 judging, (2) all “Award of Excellence” winners then go forward to live presentation judging at the annual conference, for determination of the Overall Category winner and Audience Award winner in each category.

Best Tall Building Awards are recognized in three categories: (i) by height; (ii) by region; (iii) by function. The sub-categories are shown below;

  • By Height (5 sub-categories): under 100 meters; 100–199 meters; 200–299 meters; 300–399 meters; 400 meters and above
  • By Region (5 sub-categories): Americas; Asia; Australia; Europe; Middle East & Africa
  • By Function (4 sub-categories): office; residential/hotel; mixed-use; other
  • Overall Best Tall Building Worldwide: One project selected from the Overall Category Winners

Note: Projects will automatically be considered for Height, Region, and Function awards, based on the common submission form.


Criteria for Height and Region 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 and human well-being 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. Other criteria are shown below:

  1. The project advances seamless integration of architectural form, structure, building systems, sustainable design and wellness strategies, innovative space configurations and life safety for its occupants.
  2. The project exhibits sustainable qualities at a broad level:
    • Environment – minimizes 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 their quality of life
    • Community – demonstrates relevance to the contemporary and future needs of the community in which it is located
    • Economic – adds economic vitality to its occupants, stakeholders, and community

Criteria for Function Best Tall Buildings Awards

This award recognizes projects that have demonstrated exceptional functional success in terms of the user’s inhabitation of the completed project. Winning projects fulfill the vision of facilitating and enhancing a user’s experience in living, working or otherwise using the building. The design and integration of movement between spaces (vertically and horizontally), the performance of building systems, including but not limited to MEP, vertical transportation, “smart” technology, and so on, will also be evaluated. While not exclusively focused on interiors, it is important to note that this category is not about how the building appears as an object, but rather how it performs. It is concerned with how well the design and operation of the project enables occupants to better achieve their goals and raise their standards of living and working through use of the building. Fundamentally, the project should meet these standards:

  1. The spatial configuration, orientation and programming of spaces support the building’s intended use.
  2. Building systems and operational protocols support energy conservation and human well-being.
  3. The architectural design and building systems work together mutually and seamlessly to support owner and occupant objectives.

Definitions of each function type are described below:

  • Single-function (office, residential/hotel, other): A single-function tall building is one in which one function (such as office, residence, hotel, educational, medical, governmental/legal, etc.) constitutes 85 percent or more of the building
  • Mixed-use function: A mixed-use tall building is one in which two or more functions each occupies 15 percent or more of the building. Note that this 15 percent or greater can be of either: (1) the total floor area, or (2) the total building height, in terms of number of floors occupied for the function. However, care should be taken in the case of supertall towers. For example, a 20-story hotel function as part of a 150-story tower does not comply with the 15 percent rule, though this would clearly constitute “mixed-use.”

Common Criteria for Height, Region, and Function Best Tall Building Awards

It is important to note that, with the exception of the two points regarding completion date eligibility and tall building definitions below, a project does not necessarily need to meet every listed criterion. Submissions should demonstrate strengths in areas that are applicable.

  1. The project must be completed (topped out structurally and architecturally, fully clad, and at least partially occupiable) within a 36-month eligibility window. For the  awards then, 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.
  2. 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 conference event. If photography showing the building’s construction as substantially complete, both exterior and interior, is not available by the submission deadline, it is strongly advised to hold your submission until the following year.
  3. 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 if you are unsure if your specific project will qualify.
  4. Submitted buildings will automatically compete in one of five height categories, as well as the relevant regional and functional categories. (See all categories listed above)
  5. The honor of Best Tall Building “Worldwide” is judged based on the “Award of Excellence” winner presentations at the conference. Once the jury determines the overall winner for each category, they are judged against one another, with the Worldwide Winner announced at the close of the Ceremony & Dinner.
  6. 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 the CTBUH Tall Buildings + Urban Habitat 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. While it is typical that most submissions are included in the publication, CTBUH reserves the right to determine that a project will not be included for reasons that include, but are not limited to: a project does not meet the eligibility requirements for inclusion; appropriate, high resolution images were not provided in the submission; the project was submitted for multiple award categories and will only be included in the book once, etc.
  • “Award of Excellence” winners are expected to comply with the following responsibilities:
    • In order to be considered for winning the category overall and audience awards, a representative from the project must present at the conference. For the Best Tall Building, Urban Habitat, 10 Year, Interior Design and Renovation categories, both the owner/developer and design architect/urban planner/interior architect must present. All speakers who represent the project need to be CTBUH organizational members. These presentations will form the basis for the jury’s selection of overall category winners and audience awards.
    • Attend the annual Awards Ceremony & Dinner at the close of the conference to collect the award(s).
    • Support the Council, which does not charge any fees to administer the awards program, by way of all speakers paying the subsidized speaker registration rate at the Conference.