CCTV viewed from
book provides the following commentary:
"Two towers rise from a common production platform, the Plinth.
Each tower has a different character: Tower 1 serves as editing area
and offices, and Tower 2 is dedicated to news broadcasting. They
are joined by a cantilevering bridge for administration, the
Overhang. The main lobby, in Tower 1, is an atrium stretching
three floors underground, and three floors up. It has a direct
connection with Beijing's subway network, and is the arrival and
departure hub for the 10,000 workers inside CCTV Headquarters....The
engineering forces at work are...rendered visible on the facade: a web
of triangulated steel tubes - diagrids - which, instead of forming a
regular pattern of diamonds, become dense in areas of greater stress
and looser and more open in areas requiring less support."
"The CCTV building is the type of building that may not happen
again. It is an incredible achievement in terms of structural
engineering and iconography; in some ways it is the Eiffel Tower of our
time," commented Jeanne Gang, the jury chair.
The Shard in London
The "winner" of the Best Tall Building Europe is The Shard in London, a
project developed by the Sellar Property Group and designed by The
Renzo Piano Workshop. When it was completed in February 2013, it
was the tallest building in Western Europe at 1,004 feet.
It has 25 floors of offices, three floors of restaurants, a 17-story
hotel, 13 floors of apartments and a triple-height viewing gallery and
an open-air viewing floor on level 72. It is located next to the
London Bridge Station, one of the city's busiest transport hubs.
The tapering form of the 7-sided tower culminates in its open top,
gasping as it were like a while exhaling at the surface.
"Top-down construction allowed the first 23 stories of the concrete
core and much of the surrounding tower to be built before the basement
had been fully excavated. The technique was a world first and
saved four month on the complex program.'
The jury statement maintained that "the building is both heroic on the
skyline and beautifully executed at the scale of the pedestrian and
clearly prioritizes public transportation over the automobile."
Sliced Porosity Block
in Chengdu, China
five towers, the tallest of which is 404 feet tall, the Sliced Porosity
Block in Chengdu, China, carries on
architect Steven Holl's white aesthetic for megablocks he introduced
in the great Linked Hybrid Project in Beijing (see The City Review article on the council's 2009
The 6-story-high "Light
Pavilion" on a facade facing central plaza
complex is complex and its occasional diagonals are honored with the
wonderful, 6-story-high "Light Pavilion" on a facade facing central
plaza as seen in the above photograph and at the right in the higher
Sliced Porosity Block
project's plan, the book noted, "takes its shape from the need to
distribute natural light, such that each of the residential apartments
experiences a minimum of two hour of sunlight each day." Most of
the facades are white concrete with six-foot-square windows. The
"sliced" facades are glass and appear as dark in the above photograph.
"The large public space framed in the center of the block is formed
into three valleys inspired by a poem of the city's greatest poet, Du Fu
(713-770), who wrote, 'From the northeast storm-tossed to the
southwest, time has left stranded in Three Valleys.' The three
plaza levels feature water gardens based on concepts of time.
These are the Fountain of the Chinese Calendar Year, Fountain of Twelve
Months, and Fountain of Thirty Days. These three ponds function
as skylights for the six-story shopping precinct below. Visitors
transit between the level of the public plaza via several means,
including an inclined moving sidewalk and shallow stairs."
Gate Towers in
The 781-foot-high Gate Towers in Abu
Dhahi were developed by Aldar Properties and designed by
Arquitectonica. They are a very elegant version of the Marina Bay
Sands Resort complex in Singapore that was designed by Moshe Safie (see The City Review article about the council's
The book provides the following commentary although it makes no mention
of the Marina Bay Sands project:
The project has a total of 3,533 apartments in three towers connected
at their top with a two-level skybridge structure, which contains 21
large luxury penthouses. This composition is adjoined by a
22-story, horseshoe-shaped building. The complex includes three
swimming pools and four water features, with car parking on three
subterranean levels. The podium includes two levels of retail
shopping mall space."
The skybridge has three large
circular holes between the towers, which are clad in a very handsome
blue fenestration with white horizontal accents.
The project was a "finalist" in the Middle East & Africa region.
Park Royal on Pickering in Singapore
16-story Park Royal on Pickering is a hotel in Singapore that was
developed by UOL Group Limited and designed by WOHA. It has a
contoured podium that was inspired by rice paddies and the contours
create "dramatic outdoor plazas and gardens, which flow seamlessly into
the interiors. Greenery from nearby Hong Lim Park is drawn up
into the building in the form of planted valleys, gullies, and
waterfalls. The podium houses the above-ground car park,
transforming it into a sculptural urban object:: its roof becomes
a lush landscaped terrace, housing the hotel's recreational facilities,
which include birdcage-shaped cabanas."
Center in Oklahoma City
The Devon Energy Center in Oklahoma City is a very elegant complex
developed by Hines and designed by Pickard Chilton. It consists
of a 50-story office tower, a 300-seat publicly accessible auditorium,
a 2.25-acre public park, a rotunda that serves as the project's "town
square and a low-rise podium with conference and dining facilities.
The tower has 12 corner offices and the building is "among the ten
largest LEED-NC Gold-certified buildings in the world. It was a
"finalist" in the Americas region. The entire ground level is
open and accessible to the public.
JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai
The very handsome, twin-tower,
1,166-foot-high, JW Marriott Marquis complex in Dubai was developed by
Emirates Airlines and designed by Archgroup Architects. The book
notes that "the towers currently hold the title for the tallest
all-hotel function buildings in the world" and were "nominees" in the
Middle East & Africa regions.
The towers, which are joined by a
seven-story base, has a rather dazzling facade treatment that conjures
tick-tack-toe diagrams run riot. The center side facades have
four groups of such diagrams in three staggered columns and the
mullions of each group protrude sligfhtly as they rise. The
configurations stop several floors short of the towers' tops, which
flare outward somewhat and have angled bases for thin spires. The
towers have elliptical plans with one end indented and the other
slightly protruded. The book maintains that "the hotel is
designed in the expressionist style, inspired by the date palm, a
symbol highly evocative of Arabian culture," adding that "its detailing
replicates the trunk of the palm."
Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi
509-foot-high Sowwah Square complex of two four towers and a new
low-rise headquarters for the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in the Al
Maryah Island section of Abu Dhabi was developed by Mubadala Real
Estate & Infrastructure and designed by Goettsch Partners.
The book noted that "the elevation of the stock exchange on pedestals
reinforces the importance of the commercial activity inside, while
creating an enticing, shaded communal space beneath." The exchange
structure has sharply inclined downward sides and the towers have
sharply inclined downwards "pinched" bases.
New Babylon in the Hague
465-foot-high New Babylon project in The Hague, Netherlands was
developed by Babylon Den Haag BV, a collaboration between SHS Property
Finance BV and Fortress BV. It was designed by MVSA Architects
and was a "finalist" in the Europe region.
The book provides the following commentary:
"The Babylon renovation project began in 2003 with a brief to extend
the existing Babylon complex at The Hague's central railway station, as
part of a broader scheme to revitalize the center of The Hague....The
Park Tower on the northeast side and the City Tower on the southwest
side contain 335 owner-occupied and rental apartments....Each apartment
has its own outdoor space....Given Old Babylon's somewhat dark and
sterile appearance and imposing scale, the designers wanted to
introduce a human factor. To achieve this, a new, graduated
facade was designed, with each step accentuating the function of the
With a large cantilever in a mid-rise building, the two high-rise
towers have very bright,attractive and distinctive facades.
The Bow in Calgary
779-foot-high tower known as The Bow in Calgary was developed by
Matthews & Southwest and designed by Foster & Partners.
The book provides the following commentary about the very
handsome building, which was named the "winner" in the Americas region:
"The tower faces south, curving toward the sun to take advantage of
daylight and heat, while the resulting bow-shaped plan that gives the
tower its name maximizes the perimeter for cellular offices with views
of the Rocky Mountains....While the building curves inwards, the glazed
facade is pulled forward to create a series of atria that run the full
height of the tower. Three sky gardens, which project into the
aria at levels 24, 42 and 54, promote collaboration and bring a social
diminsion to the office spaces....At level 54, the building features a
large 200-seat auditorium.
30 St. Mary in London
design by Foster & Partners is 30 St. Mary Axe, a 590-foot-tall
tower in London that was the "winner" of the council's 10-year
award. Known as "The Gherkin," the book said that it "helped
define a modern, open, and progressive image for one of the world's
oldest financial centers and set a benchmark in architectural qualtiy
for a new generation of tall buildings." It tapers dramatically
at its top and less so at its base.
The building's tapering form and diagonal bracing structure and the
book notes that "atria between the radiating fingers of each floor link
vertically to form a series of informal breakout spaces that spiral up
The jury statement provided the following commentry about the 2003
"In a just a few short years, the Gherkin not only launched the trend
of affectionately naming London skyscrapers, it paved the way for the
current generation of non-orthogonal tall buildings that now have
become a quintessential feature of the city. The Gherkin showed
us not only that skyscrapers could be more than the simple upward
extrusion of a floor plan, it showed us that we could demand more from
skyscrapers, and expect to receive it."
Zhengzhou Greenland Plaza
919-foot-tall Zhengzhou Greenland Plaza in China was developed by the
Greenland Group and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
The building was a nominee in the Asia &
The book provides the following commentary:
"The Greenland Plaza tower is instantly recognizable for its
sophisticated three-to-five-story-tall light-gauge painted aluminum
screens. Configured at an outward cant that enhances the interior
daylighting though scientifically calculated reflections, the screens
protect the all-glass exterior from solar gain. The rhythmic cant
of the screens, combined with their decreasing size as they rise on the
building, creates a dynamic movement that gives the building a
The council's Lynn S. Beedle
Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Henry N. Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed
& Partners. He is best known for Hancock Plaza in Plaza and
Fountain Plaza in Dallas.