An international authority on skyscrapers since 1969, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has released its list of the 50 most influential tall buildings of the last 50 years in celebration of its half-century milestone. The CTBUH has honoured the technological advances and best practices of tall buildings throughout its history, publishing numerous case studies, holding conferences around the world, and issuing an annual awards program that began in 2002.

The 50 Most Influential Tall Buildings of the Last 50 Years, image via CTBUH

The final list resulted from the combined input of the CTBUH research and data team, CTBUH leaders, and the member constituency. The evolution of building typology and design—from the formulaic and repetitive floor plates of commercial office towers to irregular vertical cities with a mix of uses—is reflected by the selected projects. CTBUH notes the list sees the entrance and exit of International and Post-Modern architectural styles, replaced by the parametricism and contextualism that dominates modern design. 

Shanghai's Jin Mao Tower celebrated its place on the list early to coincide with its 20th anniversary festivities. An industry trailblazer, China's first supertall proved instrumental to Shanghai's ultimate built form, which has since normalized tall buildings into the cityscape. 

Shanghai Tower, image via CTBUH

Jin Mao Tower has been bested several times over in height throughout mainland China. Just next door, the Shanghai Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center—both on CTBUH's list—have eclipsed the once-tallest building in the country. The Shanghai Tower remains the second-tallest building in the world, with Dubai's Burj Khalifa still holding the first spot. Former world's tallest Taipei 101 and Petronas Towers also earn spots.

The classic skyscrapers of yesteryear which helped define the skylines of New York City and Chicago also make it onto the list. 875 North Michigan Avenue (the former John Hancock Center) was heralded for employing the first braced-tube structural system for a high-rise building, and Chicago neighbour Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower) was recognized for its innovative bundled-tube structure, which soared above the rest of the world's skyscrapers for 24 years.

875 North Michigan, Chicago, image via CTBUH

One World Trade Center joins the distinctive 601 Lexington, the Post-Modern 550 Madison Avenue, the diagrid-heavy Hearst Tower, the crystalline Bank of America Tower, and the environmentally friendly 4 Times Square as Manhattan's contribution to the top 50.

New York City's One World Trade Center, image via CTBUH

Los Angeles' U.S. Bank Tower, the city's tallest building by roof height, meet San Francisco's Salesforce Tower and Transamerica Pyramid as the three entries from California.

Turning Torso, Malmo, image via CTBUH

Europe's newfound admiration for tall buildings is represented by the list, which sees London's Leadenhall Building, 30 St Mary Axe, The Lloyd's Building, and The Shard earn a place alongside Milan's Bosco Verticale, Frankfurt's Commerzbank Tower, Paris' Tour First, and Malmo's Turning Torso.

The full list released by CTBUH is available here.

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