Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH 8th Annual Awards, 2009

Awards Dinner Overview, 22 October 2009

See all the Winners and Finalists

The 8th Annual Awards Dinner and Ceremony was held in conjunction with the CTBUH 2009 Chicago Conference, and took place on the first evening of the conference, October 22nd, at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus in Chicago, USA. The event honors the individual lifetime achievement winners and recognizes the team effort of the companies involved in each of the winning tall building projects.

Taking place in Mies van der Rohe’s historic Crown Hall, the space was filled to capacity with an international audience of 380 conference delegates and guests. Table sponsors for the event included: Arup, Viracon, Walsh Construction, KONE, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Cico Consultants, AECOM, SmithCarter/KPMB Architects, Illinois Institute of Technology, Perkins + Will, Gensler, John Portman & Associates, Rolf Jensen & Associates, Goettsch Partners, Turner Construction, the Korean Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and Thornton Tomasetti.

Following a cocktail reception, guests took their seats to watch the acceptance of the Lifetime Achievement Awards by John Portman of John Portman & Associates and Prabodh Banavalkar of Ingenium, Inc. Mr. Portman was awarded the Lynn S. Beedle Award for his careful urban planning and ability to weave art, nature, and the pedestrian experience together in his tall building designs. Dr. Banavalkar was awarded the Fazlur Khan Medal for his ability for finding the optimum structure with due consideration to cost effectiveness, constructability, redundancy, and seamless integration with the architectural design concept. The CTBUH also recognized three new Fellows for 2009: Mir M. Ali, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Irwin Cantor, Irwin G. Cantor Consultants; and Ryszard M. Kowalczyk, Bialystok University of Technology. CTBUH Fellows are recognized for their contribution to the Council over an extended period of time, and in recognition of their work and sharing of their knowledge in the design and construction of tall buildings and the urban habitat.

Following the dinner service, brief presentations were made by each of the regional Best Tall Building winners as they came up onto the stage to accept their awards. Manitoba Hydro Place (Winnipeg, Canada) won the award for Best Tall Building Americas, and was accepted by building owner Tom Gouldsborough of Manitoba Hydro and architect Bruce Kuwabara of KPMB Architects. Linked Hybrid (Beijing, China) won for Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia and was accepted by design architect Steven Holl of Steven Holl Architects. The Broadgate Tower (London, UK) won for Best Tall Building Europe, accepted by architects Timothy Poell and Jeffery McCarthy of Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Tornado Tower (Doha, Qatar) won for Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa and was accepted by building owner Said Abu Odeh of QIPCO.

After the presentations, CTBUH Awards Committee Chairman, Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, invited Illinois Institute of Technology Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Alan Cramb onto stage for the honor of revealing the Best Tall Building Overall for 2009. Taking the sealed envelope from Gordon, Mr. Cramb took the podium and with all the flourish of a typical awards show, broke the seal of the envelope with the words, “And the winner is…” The suspense in the audience was tangible, but without further delay it was revealed that the Overall winner was Linked Hybrid.

Architect Steven Holl returned to the stage to claim the big prize for the evening. Looking noticeably surprised and excited, Mr. Holl gave a few words of acceptance. Joining Mr. Holl on stage was Li Hu, project manager in Beijing from Steven Holl Architects, Congzhen Xiao, from structural engineer on the project, China Academy of Building Research, and Stefan Holst, from environmental consultants, Transsolar ClimageEngineering. While accepting the award, Mr. Holl admitted that while he was honored by the recognition he couldn’t help but be surprised at the win because Linked Hybrid is only 22 stories tall. CTBUH Executive director and 2009 Awards Jury member, Antony Wood was later quoted with the following response: “Though Linked Hybrid is not especially tall (though it certainly meets the Council’s criteria for defining a tall building), it points the way forward for the intensified multi-use, multi-level, connected cities of the future.”

Best Tall Building Overall winner Linked Hybrid viewed from within central plaza.
© Shu He

John Portman accepts the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award

Steven Holl presents the design concepts behind Linked Hybrid

Awards Chairman Gordon Gill presents the Best Tall Building Overall Award to members of the Linked Hybrid team: Steven Holl, Li Hu and Congzhen Xiao.

The evening ended with the official end of David Scott’s term as CTBUH Chairman. Serving since 2006, David passed the Chairmanship to Professor Sang Dae Kim by literally passing the CTBUH Gavel onto him. Professor Kim gave a brief speech on his vision for the future of the Council. David was then presented with an honorary plaque for his services and treated to a light hearted tribute video which drew chuckles from the crowd.

     Click here to watch a video of the full awards dinner.


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All images © CTBUH, Event photographer: Steve Becker/

Overall Winner Press Release
Regional/Lifetime Winners Press Release
Awards Program
Dinner Attendee List
2009 Awards News Archive