Up In the Sky! It’s 2010’s Best Tall Buildings

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) recently announced the finalists for its 2010 “Best Tall Building” awards.  The annual awards recognize exceptional tall buildings from each of four geographical regions and are chosen for their design and technical innovations, sustainable attributes, and the enhancement they provide to their cities and the inhabitants.

The 55-story Bank of America Tower in New York was hailed for its commitment to sustainability, which has made human health and corporate responsibility a priority.  Its exceptionally high indoor environmental quality results from hospital-grade, 95 percent filtered air; abundant natural daylight; an under-floor ventilation system; and views through floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall.

This 51-story Pinnacle at Duxton includes 1,848 public housing units in central Singapore. It redefines urban high-density living by weaving continuous Sky Gardens on the 26th and 50th stories through the seven tower blocks.  Multiple access points to the Sky Gardens also mean that they are an ideal evacuation strategy.  Because they are connected, the seven tower blocks share three sets of water tanks and pumps and one building maintenance unit.

A key design element of the 23-story Broadcasting Place in Leeds, England, is the irregular elevations, tailored to optimize daylight and reduce solar penetration. An innovative analysis calculates the optimum quantity and distribution of glazing/shading at all points on the façade to ensure high levels of natural day lighting but without overheating.

The unprecedented height of Dubai’s 163-story Burj Khalifa required rethinking design techniques, building systems, and construction practices to create a practical and efficient tower. The building’s shape references regional architecture in the pointed ends of the “Y” which are reminiscent of Islamic archways.  As the tapering tower rises, setbacks occur at the end bay of each wing in an upward spiraling pattern that decreases the tower’s mass as the height increases.  These setbacks minimize wind forces.

The best tall building of 2010 will be announced at the CTBUH’s awards ceremony in October.