Architecture People & Places


CTBUH Tall Building Awards in Sydney, Milan, Doha, and Mississauga

An upper floor view of the Doha Tower, in Doha, Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel. Photo: Courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel 
The 238-meter-tall (781-foot-tall) Doha Tower, designed by Jean Nouvel, is shaded by an aluminum screen that recalls the mashrabiyya grillwork screens in traditional Islamic architecture. Located in Doha, Qatar, the tower's outline even seems to echo the shape of an Islamic pointed arch. The screen, together with a layer of reflective glazing and operable interior shading devices protects the tower's interior office space from the harsh desert sun.

The circular tower's diagrid reinforced concrete structural system is inset slightly from the perimeter, creating an open office floor plan. And rather than a traditional central placement, the building core services are offset from the tower's center and are stepped in plan, minimizing the sense of the core's size. A slender internal atrium also rises through the building's first 27 floors, exposing elevator mechanisms.
Doha Tower is 238 meters (781 feet) tall. Photo: Courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel
The 46-story Doha Tower has an area of 110,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet) and in its sensitive use of culturally appropriate themes, is reminiscent of Nouvel's iconic L'Institut du Monde Arabe (1988), in Paris, France.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) recognized Doha Tower with its 2012 award for the best tall building in the Middle East and Africa region. The award jury lauded the tower for "its deft and subtle sensitivity to culture, context, and climate."
Looking up the 27-story atrium of the Doha Tower. Photo: Courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel
The jury went on to write:
"The design hints at post-modernism, but avoids this pitfall through the interpretive re-use of indigenous elements such as the mashrabiya, which varies in its density across the facade in response to solar orientation. The strength of the proposal is in its unapologetic connection to culture and place, and stands as a successful precedent of cultural iconography."

"In addition, the celebration of the dome and lightning rod at the top of the building has created one of the most spectacular penthouse spaces in the history of high-rise construction. The tower is a continuation of the architect's lifelong interest in both cultural interpretation and technology, and is laudatory for the pursuit of local meaning in the face of globalization."
Other regional winners include the 1 Bligh Street office tower in Sydney, Australia, which won in the Asia and Australasia region. Designed by Ingenhoven Architects with Architectus, the naturally ventilated, 30-story tower is Green Star 6-Star Certified, and also features a glazed facade and a large central atrium.

Designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the 40-story Pallazo Lombardia, in Milan, Italy, was recognized in the Europe region. And the Absolute Towers, in Mississauga, Canada, by MAD architects, won in the Americas region.

An award for innovation was given to the Al Bahar Towers, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for its creative facade. The building was designed by Aedas Architects.

1 Bligh Street

One Bligh Street, Sydney Australia. Photo: ingenhoven architects + Architectus / H.G. Esch, Hennef
  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • Completion Date: July, 2011
  • Height: 135 meters (442 feet)
  • Stories: 28
  • Use: Office
  • Owner: DEXUS Property Group; Cbus Property
  • Design Architect: ingenhoven architects; Architectus
  • Structural Engineer: Enstruct Group
  • MEP Engineer: Arup Sydney
  • Project Manager: APP Corporation
"The dramatic, naturally-ventilated central atrium connects the office workers with nature at the inner depths of the plan, giving a sense of openness for the entire building. The series of communal spaces throughout the building, and especially the fantastic rooftop garden, add greatly to the quality of life for the tenants." — Werner Sobek, award juror, founder Werner Sobek Group

Absolute Towers

Absolute Towers, Mississauga, Canada. Photo: © Tom Arban

  • Location: Mississauga, Canada
  • Completion Date: August 2012
  • Height: Tower 1, 179.5 meters (589 feet); Tower 2, 158 meters (518 feet)
  • Stories: Tower 1, 56 stories; Tower 2, 50 stories
  • Use: Residential
  • Owner: Fernbrook and Cityzen
  • Design Architect: MAD architects
  • Associate Architect: Burka Architects
  • Structural Engineer: Sigmund Soudack
  • MEP Engineer: Stantec
  • Project Manager: MAD: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Fernbrook: Anthony Pignetti, Sergio Vacilotto, Ivano DiPietro, Faruq Ahmad, Jordana Scola
"There have been several curvaceous towers completed in recent years – some using balconies to achieve the free-form edge, and others using the whole façade. With Absolute we see the entire building twisting to achieve the organic form, creating a beautiful new landmark for a developing urban area." — David Scott, head of structural engineering, Laing O'Rourke

Palazzo Lombardia

Palazzo Lombardia, Milan, Italy. Photo: © Fernando Guerra

  • Location: Milan, Italy
  • Completion Date: March, 2011
  • Height: 161 meters (529 feet)
  • Stories: 40
  • Use: Government
  • Owner: Regione Lombardia
  • Design Architect: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
  • Associate Architect: Paolo Caputo Partnership; Sistema Duemila Architettura e Ingegneria s.r.l.
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
  • MEP Engineer: Arup
  • Project Manager: Infrastrutture Lombarde
"In a city known for history and fashion, the tower is perfectly attuned to the urban environment. More than simply a tower, the project creates a cohesive blend of parks and commercial space, with an appropriately local flair." — Antony Wood, executive director, CTBUH

Al Bahar Towers

Al Bahar Towers, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photo: Courtesy Aedas

  • Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Completion Date: June, 2012
  • Height: 145 meters (476 feet)
  • Stories: 29
  • Use: Office
  • Owner: Abu Dhabi Investment Council
  • Design Architect: Aedas Architects Ltd
  • Associate Architect: Diar Consult
  • Structural Engineer: Arup
  • MEP Engineer: Arup
  • Project Manager: Mace International
"The dynamic facade on Al Bahar, computer- controlled to respond to optimal solar and light conditions, has never been achieved on this scale before. In addition, the expression of this outer skin seems to firmly root the building in its cultural context." — Chris Wilkinson, principal and founder of Wilkinson Eyre Architects

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