In a global architecture sector often driven by a ‘race to the top’ the tallest structures often gain global acclaim. However, there is more to being the best tall building than simply being the biggest.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has selected a winner in the competition for the vaunted title of Best Tall Building Worldwide.
Developments from around the world were shortlisted at the start of this year, with that shortlist including Sydney’s 1 Bligh Street building in the Australasian region, Absolute Towers located in Mississauga, Canada for the Americas region, Palazzo Lombardia, Milan for the Europe region and the Doha Tower in Doha for the Middle East and Africa region.
The jury panel for the highly prestigious awards program looked for more than just height, naming Doha Tower the Best Tall Building Worldwide for its innovation, cultural significance and environmentally responsible design.
According to awards chairman Richard Cook of Cook + Fox architects, the building’s aesthetic links to traditional and culturally significant architecture in Qatar in a way that is both visually pleasing and functionally important, including the implementation of a way to reduce solar thermal gain from the structure’s interiors.
“The skin of the building is a beautiful expression of the local culture, connecting this very modern tower with ancient Islamic designs,” says Cook. “It also provides a fantastic pattern of light within the building, while efficiently dampening the heat gains internally of the sun’s rays.”
Building efficiencies go beyond the energy-based, with CTBUH executive director Antony Wood recognising the building’s clever use of reinforced concrete diagrid columns internally in order to eliminate a space-consuming central core.
While technological elements, holistic design and energy efficiencies and the building’s green building promotion were praised, perhaps no element was recognised more than the structure’s cultural and geographic contextualisation, which allows it to stand out as a national icon.
“Doha Tower is an excellent example of an efficient modern tower that is inspired by its local culture and setting,” Wood says. “In an age of homogenized slick towers globally, Doha Tower is rooted to its place. This is not a non-specific icon which you could drop into any city of the world.”