As the recognized authority on the height of buildings and a world-leading resource for professionals involved in the design, construction, and operation of skyscrapers, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) keeps track of the biggest urban developments shaping the streets and skies of the world's cities. It's an especially exciting time for urbanism — the onslaught of skyscraper development is redefining the perceptions and aesthetics of city centres as places of congregation and habitation. Speaking to the plurality of building milestones accomplished this year, CTBUH has released their picks for top stories of each month in 2016, with a look ahead at what towering gifts 2017 will bring.
The year started with a bang when New York City's 432 Park Avenue simultaneously became the world's tallest residential building and the 100th supertall on the planet. The development of supertalls has been increasing at a stunning rate. It took 80 years — 1930 to 2010 — to reach 50 supertall completions. The total number of supertalls then doubled between 2010 to January 2016.
Similarly big news broke in February when the Shanghai Tower marked completion to officially become the second tallest building in the world. CTBUH honoured the megatall by naming it the Best Tall Building Worldwide in November. Just a month later, plans for a gigantic observation tower in Dubai were unveiled. Set to be taller than the 828-metre Burj Khalifa, the project has already broken ground and is expected to be completed in time for Expo 2020.
As spring sprung, Singapore's verdant Oasia Hotel Downtown welcomed its first guests in April. With a vegetated facade and multiple sky gardens, the cutting-edge building boosts Singapore's already strong image as a leader in green design. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, May saw the installation of an observation deck and glass-enclosed "Sky Slide" affixed to the iconic U.S. Bank Tower 70 storeys above the ground.
Frankfurt's tallest residential tower began construction in June on a design heavily influenced by the "Active House" concept. With solar panel-equipped balconies and triple-insulated glazing key features of its exterior composition, the innovative building could be able to generate its own heat and power, and may even become the world's first tall building to generate an energy surplus.
The sale of Chicago's landmark Tribune Tower in July sparked both optimism and concern. With Tribune Media vacating the space, developers jumped at the opportunity to reposition the building as a possible residential, retail, and hotel hub. And in San Francisco, the sinking of the Millennium Tower raised alarm bells that the building had not been secured to the city's bedrock.
In September, London's ongoing housing scarcity problems were somewhat allayed by the sales launch of Spire London, which is set to be the tallest residential building in Western Europe. A month later, CTBUH hosted their 2016 Conference across the Pearl River Delta cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. With a focus on sustainable vertical urbanism, delegates wrestled with the challenges and highlighted the opportunities of creating transit-oriented, people-driven cities within a highrise environment.
As the year drew to a close, so did the modular construction at 461 Dean Street in Brooklyn. The 32-storey building was assembled using 930 steel modules fabricated off-site. Finally in December, Shenzhen's Hanking Center celebrated topping out, marking another step forward in its inevitable quest to become the tallest steel building in China and the tallest detached core building in the world.
It's certainly been a bright year for the world of skyscraper construction and 2017 seems to be on target to follow in those footsteps. Shenzhen's Ping An Finance Centre is expected to come online in January just in time for Chinese New Year, while Dubai's Marina 101 finishes construction in March to position itself as the world's tallest concrete tower. April's anticipated delivery of the crowdfunded BD Bacata, June's completion of the tallest wood structure, and the July, Septembe,r and November construction starts of Miami's Aston Martin Residences, Nairobi's Hass Towers and Paris' Tour Hekla are among the coming year's presumed milestones.
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