The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has revealed the winners and finalists for the annual Best Tall Buildings Award, including two Melbourne skyscrapers.

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

  1. One World Trade Center, New York (Americas region)
  2. CapitaGreen, Singapore (Asia and Australia)
  3. Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy (Europe)
  4. Burj Mohammaed Bin Rashid Tower, Abu Dhabi, UAE (Middle East and Africa)

The awards recognise buildings over 50 metres that were completed (topped out architecturally, fully clad, and at least partially occupied) no earlier than January 1 of the previous year, and no later than the current year’s submission deadline – this year being April 30.

The CTBUH received 123 entries, up nearly 40 per cent from 2014, aligning with global forecasts of a skyscraper boom.

According to the council, the awards are an independent review of new projects, judged by a prestigious panel of experts. They also hope to advocate 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.

The jury felt the One World Trade Center building met and exceeded the high expectations that were set for it.

“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 recognised,” a statement read.

One World Trade Centre, Winner

One World Trade Center

CapitaGreen’s focus on vertical greenery engaged the jury helped secure its place. The Singapore tower features vast vegetation that covers 55 per cent of the perimeter of its façade.

“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,” the CTBUH said.

CapitaGreen, Winner


Also showcasing intense greenery was Bosco Verticale in Milan, Italy. Its “living façade” incorporates 90-plus species of vegetation and more than 900 trees.

“Bosco Verticale is unprecedented in its deployment of greenery at such scale and height,” the CTBUH said.

Bosco Verticale, Winner

Bosco Verticale

“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.”

It wouldn’t be a skyscraper competition without the UAE, and the Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower made its mark for the Middle East and Africa region.

Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower, Winner

Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower

According to the CTBUH, “the jury appreciated that the tower’s undulating cladding creates a mirage effect that alludes to its desert ambience. They called it 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.”

Melbourne featured two finalists in the Asia & Australia category for the slender 27-storey Phoenix Tower and Swanston Square Apartment Tower.

The Phoenix was recognised as one of the early adopters of the skinny skyscraper style. It takes up a very narrow footprint in the heart of the CBD spanning a mere 6.8 metres by 24.3 metres. Architects Fender Katsalidis note that equates to an aspect ration of 1:13, given its 88-metre height.

The Swanston Square Apartment Tower is widely known for its façade which features the distinguished face of William Barak, the last traditional ngurungaeta (Elder) of the Wurundjeri-willam clan.

Its architects, ARM, spoke of the intensive process required to transform a photographic image of a sculpture into a 31-storey face.

“The image is realised with white panels bolted onto black balcony slabs. The panels (up to six metres long and two metres high) are an innovative engineered surfboard-like composite 140 millimetres thick: PET foam core with E-plate (fibre mesh) and vinyl-ester external wrapping. They stand out against the black building,” the firm’s website reads.

All winners and finalists demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability and the CTBUH recognised some projects as “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 is a long-needed requirement,” the council said.

An overall winner for the Best Tall Building Worldwide will be selected from these four regional winners. It will be announced at a dinner following the CTBUH 14th Annual Awards Symposium, set to take place at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, on November 12.

A full list of the CTBUH Annual Awards winners and finalists is below:


One World Trade Center, New York City, US

Baccarat Hotel & Residences, New York City, US
Torres Virreyes, Mexico City, Mexico

Asia and Australasia

CapitaGreen, Singapore

Phoenix, Melbourne, Australia
Siamese Ratchakru, Bangkok, Thailand
SkyTerrace @ Dawson, Singapore
Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, Beijing, China
Swanston Square Apartment Tower, Melbourne, Australia


Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy

Evolution Tower, Moscow, Russia
The Leadenhall Building, London, UK
Malmö Live, Malmö, Sweden
Police Headquarters & Charleroi Danses, Charleroi, Belgium

Middle East & Africa

Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Al Hilal Bank Tower, Abu Dhabi, UAE
B.S.R. Towers, Tel Aviv, Israel