June 22, 2015

CHICAGO – The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is proud to announce the names of winners and finalists of the Best Tall Building Awards as part of the 2015 CTBUH Annual Awards. This year’s selection was the most competitive yet, with winners selected from a pool of 123 entries, which is up nearly 40% from 2014.

The CTBUH Awards are an independent review of new projects, judged by a prestigious panel of experts. The Awards aspire to provide a more comprehensive and sophisticated view of these important structures, while advocating for improvements in every aspect of performance, including those that have the greatest positive effect on the people who use these buildings and the cities they inhabit.

This year’s winners and finalists are remarkable in that they show a strong commitment to sustainability, with some exemplifying dramatic progress in the use of greenery both to enhance the comfort of the building’s users and reduce the environmental impact of the building. Others show dramatic sculptural form and urban presence, and we are now starting to see the positive integration of buildings into their direct urban habitat, which has been a long-needed requirement.

The Best Tall Buildings have been named from each of four competing regions in the world, from nominees representing a total of 33 countries. The winners for 2015 are:

One World Trade Center, New York, USA (Americas)

CapitaGreen, Singapore (Asia & Australasia)

Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy (Europe)

Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower, Abu Dhabi, UAE (ME & Africa)

One World Trade Center is a bold new icon for New York City built on the World Trade Center site, whose design acknowledges the adjacent memorial, and whose symbolic importance to the city and the country cannot be overstated. Its form calls to mind several classical New York skyscrapers for which the city is best recognized. The building had high design expectations which the jury felt were met and exceeded. See More.

See Americas Finalists

CapitaGreen is outstanding in that green living vegetation covers 55 percent of the perimeter of its façade, giving the landmark its iconic appearance. The jury noted that the building presented a new way forward for high-rise vegetated façades by placing them within the double skin, offering the potential for solar shade and even agricultural output, as well as environmental and psychological benefits. See More.

See Asia & Australasia Finalists

Bosco Verticale is unprecedented in its deployment of greenery at such scale and height. The building’s intensive “living façade,” incorporating numerous trees and 90+ species of vegetation, is an active interface to the surrounding environment. The scheme is exceptional in that the plants act as an extension of the tower’s exterior envelope. The jury called this exploration of the viability of greenery at such heights groundbreaking. See More.

See Europe Finalists

Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower blends into its cultural and geographic context both through its design and its use. The jury appreciated that the tower’s undulating cladding creates a mirage effect that alludes to its desert ambience. A marketplace based on the traditional souk, with offerings ranging from modern luxury goods to regional artisanal crafts, helps integrate the tower to its surroundings. See More.

See Middle East & Africa Finalists

An overall winner for the “Best Tall Building Worldwide” will be selected from these four Regional Winners, and announced at an elegant dinner following the CTBUH 14th Annual Awards Symposium, to take place at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, on November 12. The Symposium itself will feature an exciting series of presentations from the owners and architects of each building. Winners and finalists will also be featured in the annual CTBUH Awards Book, published in conjunction with Images Publishing and distributed internationally each year.

Project Information

Americas Winner: One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center is a new landmark for New York City rising from the northwest corner of the 16-acre (six-hectare) World Trade Center site. The building’s podium has a square plan that matches the dimensions of the first World Trade Center towers, while its roof and parapet heights also symbolically reference the heights of the original buildings. The tower’s eight stainless-steel edges also recall the reflective corners of the first twin towers. Its four corners slope gently from the first office level inward until, at the roof, the floor plan again forms a square but rotated 45 degrees from the base quadrangle, and with a reduced dimension. Depending on the viewer’s perspective and angle of light, in turn, One World Trade Center appears as a rectangular solid or a tapering obelisk.

A luminous glass curtain wall sheaths the tower on all sides from the 20th floor to the observatory, which contributes to the tower’s crystalline elegance. Designers worked with industry experts to develop glass of unprecedented scale, capable of withstanding the wind loads of supertall construction while meeting stringent security requirements. Insulated glass units span the full floor-to-floor height of each story with no intermediate mullions – a first in skyscraper construction. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

“One World Trade Center is of undeniable importance to the Americas as well as the World. The building had high design expectations which the jury felt were met and exceeded. The design for One World Trade Center pays homage to the original tower’s design with its similar form and height. In a contemporary way the tower evokes the slender, elegant, tapering form of other great New York City icons such as the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building. The design of the building adds a new landmark to New York City’s famous skyline.”

James Parakh, O.A.A, City Planning Department, Toronto, Canada

Asia & Australasia Winner: CapitaGreen

CapitaGreen is located within Singapore’s central business district and in close proximity to the extended downtown Marina Bay. Greeting those entering the structure is an expansive lobby that has a triple-height ceiling and handcrafted Kakiotoshi (earth plaster) walls. Along with its ornate design, the building is unique in that it became the first in Singapore to use Supercrete, an ultra-high-strength concrete which significantly reduced the amount of concrete needed, resulting in a savings of energy and manpower.

The building is designed like a plant growing towards the sky. Green living vegetation covers 55 percent of the perimeter of its façade, giving the landmark its iconic appearance. Its innovative double-skin façade features an outer layer of frameless glass and an inner envelope of double-glazed floor-to-ceiling glass that reduces solar heat gain by up to 26 percent. At the top of the tower, a petal-like structure serves as a wind scoop to draw in the cooler, cleaner air from above and channel it though a cool void that penetrates all 34 stories of the building delivering fresh air to tenants. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

“CapitaGreen indicates a new way forward for high-rise vegetated façades by placing them within the double skin. This offers the potential for solar shade and even agricultural output, as well as environmental and psychological benefits. The way CapitaGreen’s ‘living wall’ connects a series of indoor and outdoor communal gardens, culminating in the grand roof terrace, is also commendable.”

Antony Wood, Executive Director, CTBUH, Chicago

Europe Winner: Bosco Verticale

Bosco Verticale, literally “Vertical Forest,” is one of the most intensive living green façades ever realized. It utilizes an architectural concept that replaces traditional cladding materials with screens of vegetation creating a distinct microclimate that works to improve the sustainability of the structure. This type of design creates an urban ecosystem that encourages interaction between the flora, fauna, and the apartments’ residents. The tower is home to 480 big and medium size trees, 250 small size trees, 11,000 groundcover plants and 5,000 shrubs, which is equivalent to an entire hectare of forest cover.

Along with creating a beautiful façade, the incorporation of vegetation into the structure adds a number of sustainable design elements. The foliage acts to improve air quality by filtering out dust and sequestering carbon, while also mitigating the urban heat island effect and reducing noise pollution. As a whole, the living green façade concurrently stimulates interaction with the surrounding environment while also protecting against it. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

“Bosco Verticale is truly groundbreaking as a living experiment exploring the viability of greenery at such heights. 13,000 individual plants, which form a ‘second skin’ for the tower, contribute to a vital urban ecosystem where different kinds of vegetation, as well as birds and insects, can thrive, bringing a bit of nature into the city.”

Karl Fender, Founding Director, Fender Katsalidis Architects, Australia

Middle East & Africa Winner: Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower

The Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi at the site of the old Central Market, a traditional crossroads and meeting point in the city. A souk extends the marketplace into the building, facilitating a gentle transition between public and private spaces. A smooth, sleek, and reflective façade is designed to require minimal amounts of maintenance in such a dusty environment. Meanwhile, layers of internal shading control glare and unwanted heat gain. The exterior envelope of the tower undulates in waves as it wraps around the core. This glass cladding creates a mirage effect that alludes to its geographic context.

The billowing design of the tower generates unique floor plans that deviate widely from those found in a typical tall building, resulting in an assortment of multiform spaces. Apartment layouts maximize living space at the corners of the structure, emphasizing its curvature and providing dual-aspect views. Shared services are controlled by a centralized automated system in order to optimize energy performance and local building materials were used wherever possible during construction to reduce the economic and environmental costs of transporting imported materials. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

“The Burj adds a beautiful form to the Abu Dhabi skyline, which can be seen from quite a distance. The building incorporates thoughtful design elements to increase its energy efficiency, such as the solar collectors and the ventilated three-skin façade. I also appreciate the traditional marketplace integrated with the base of the structure.”

Mun Summ Wong, CTBUH Awards Jury Chair, Founding Director, WOHA Architects, Singapore

Americas Finalists

Baccarat Hotel & Residences

The Baccarat Hotel & Residences seeks to distinguish itself through formal restraint and exquisite detail. The tower’s east and west elevations – its main structural components – are sheathed in faceted jet-black aluminum panels. These austere surfaces protect occupants from strong morning and afternoon sun. The façades also neatly frame the tower’s north and south elevations, whose transparent high-performance glass call to mind Baccarat’s long history of decorative arts. The glazed expanses reflect varying light and sky conditions. The vibrant play of light and material continues at ground level, where the tower podium comprises prismatic glass fins arranged in rhythmic, vertical configuration. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Torre Virreyes

Torres Virreyes consists of two trapezoidal volumes anchored to a core containing elevators and other required services. The steel structure is supported by two V-shaped megabraces that transmit its weight to the concrete core. This resourceful design allows for open office spaces, with no supporting columns. Torres Virreyes is distinguished by its cantilevered appearance, resulting in floorplates that gradually expand as the building rises. A green rooftop incorporates plants suited for the dry climate, as well as a helipad and solar panels. The design includes a wastewater collection network, as well as installations that harvest rainwater to reduce the building’s overall water emission and consumption. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Asia & Australasia Finalists


Situated amongst wider and bulkier buildings, the superslim Phoenix creates a juxtaposition which sets it apart as a unique and singular object against Melbourne’s skyline. Although the building is not particularly tall, it has an aspect ratio of 1:13, making it extraordinarily skinny. The narrow footprint of the tower enables it to achieve views from significant heights without imposing on neighboring buildings or the streetscape below through bulk or shadow. A ribbon graphic was integrated into the façade’s design, contributing to the tower’s striking presence despite its size relative to surrounding buildings. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Siamese Ratchakru

Siamese Ratchakru is a stylish, multi-use project comprising of two towers born from an abandoned project in a developing district of Bangkok. The design of the complex resulted from the challenges of building on a previously constructed foundation and structure. Narrow site restrictions led to highly-decorative façades on the Northern and Southern exposures of both buildings in lieu of windows or openings, which were prohibited. Floor-to-ceiling glass maximize views on the remaining façades, while cut-outs and sharp, angular balconies add a sense of depth to the structures. Greenery is maximally integrated into the buildings to improve air-quality. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

SkyTerrace @ Dawson

Sky Terrace @ Dawson strives to establish a new generation of public housing through the implementation of several key initiatives. Namely, the project seeks to embody the key concepts of connectivity to its surroundings, multi-generational living, and “housing-in-the-park.” Located in Dawson Estate, the development is bounded by the Alexandria Canal Linear Park as well as Margaret Drive, which is to be converted into an ecological corridor. The five-building complex is connected by skybridges, enabling residents to enjoy access to the immediate neighborhood, while interconnected loft units are designed to allow flexible living arrangements for extended families. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Sunrise Kempinski Hotel

The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel eschews established architectural principles and draws inspiration from traditional Chinese Culture. Its rounded shape is meant to represent the rising sun, while 20 vertical wraps on its façade symbolize the concepts of cooperation and harmony. Taken as a whole, the architectural concept for the building seeks to promote the integration of structure and nature. The building’s floor plates are elliptically shaped, which allow for a 25 percent increase in daylight exposure compared to a conventional box-shaped tower. Though the building is rooted in traditional ideology, it manages to challenge and expand upon contemporary architectural design. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Swanston Square Apartment Tower

This building is most remarkable for its innovative façade that features the face of Aboriginal artist and civil rights leader Elder William Barak, whose tribe once owned the land on which it is built. The 31-story face is made from white fiber-composite panels that contrast with the black cladding of the building. It is innovative both in its intensions and the design and engineering technology that helped realize it. The building’s north and west façades are similarly designed with a colorful interpretation of a topographic map, while the parking garage in the podium features polished aluminum disks that spell “Wurundjeri I am who I am” in Braille, referring to Elder William Barak’s clan. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Europe Finalists

Evolution Tower

Evolution Tower is a vital contribution to Moscow’s growing International Business Center (IBC) along the Moscow River. The plans devote the majority of space to a landscaped, terraced plaza. The plaza integrates with a newly developed city piazza, the mainstay of the burgeoning district. The tower has a spiral design that employs glazing on an astonishingly large scale: the helical tower has 52 levels rotated three degrees each floor, with the overall twist reaching 156 degrees clockwise. The ribbons of the white façade twist up around the building into a helix, the visual reference to DNA alluding to human evolution. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

The Leadenhall Building

The Leadenhall Building is an office building that tapers steeply as it rises, whose distinctive shape was prompted by a requirement to protect views of the historic St Paul’s Cathedral, especially to ensure that the cathedral’s dome is visible from key vantage points. The structure aims to reinforce the geometry defined by the building’s envelope, which in turn created the distinctive tapering form. The building’s circulation and servicing core is quite unique in that it is offset to enable the elevators to reach the top floors of the building, which are located on the far north side of the tower. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Malmö Live

Malmö Live is dynamic multi-use complex housing a hotel, concert hall, and meeting space. The complex consists of a composition of cubic volumes that are mutually twisted and given different sizes to meet the directions and building heights of the surrounding city. It follows in the modern Scandinavian architectural tradition, emphasizing clear, practical organization and an accessible, open floor layout. The façades are designed in a homogeneous style to make the composition appear as a cohesive architectonic sculpture. The complex is expected to achieve Platinum LEED Certification. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Police Headquarters & Charleroi Danses

This building complex manages to integrate a wide variety of disparate building types and functions into one organic whole. The main feature of the site is a blue tower that houses the Charleroi Police Headquarters. Surrounding the tower is a series of 19th century buildings that are occupied by the local gendarmerie and Chareloi Danses. Each part of the complex is meant to operate not as an individual building, but as a collective whole. In order to achieve this, a brasserie was added to the complex to serve as a place for locals and users of the site to meet and interact. Similarly, the police force services are open to all at all times, continuing the themes of interaction and shared spaces. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

Middle East & Africa Finalists

Al Hilal Bank Tower

The Al Hilal Bank Tower’s composition features stacked boxes, slightly offset from each other vertically. The façade has orange accents, calling out the bank’s branding. The building incorporates a glass and steel curtain wall system that offers optimum transparency with floor-to-ceiling glass, creating a nearly seamless transition from the interior to exterior of the building. Each façade has exterior glass fins with a white ceramic frit pattern that adds texture. The fins’ fritted glass enhances the façade’s energy efficiency by shading it from intense sunlight, while providing even, filtered light to the interior. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.

B.S.R. Towers

The apartment complex is comprised of two granite-clad towers, with a form suggestive of interlocking teeth or piano keys. Each of the two towers includes a horizontal lower section, which serves to articulate the towers’ interaction with the street level of the largely residential Zameret Park neighborhood. The connection between the tower and the lower volume is achieved with bridges crossing the main lobby atrium. The atrium acts as also an architectural joint between the tower and the lower building, uniting them into one coherent project. See the building profile on The Skyscraper Center.