Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Chicago 2009: Presentations, Speakers & Videos

Session 1 - Chicago: City of Big Shoulders

Day 1 Welcome and Chair:
David Scott,
Principal, Arup, New York
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Skyscrapers as Business Strategy: Trump International Hotel and Tower - Chicago
Eric Trump & Andy Weiss, The Trump Organization, New York

The Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago completes this year as the tallest building in the US built in 35 years, since Sears Tower. In addition, it has set new records for what can be achieved with phased occupancy whilst construction continues unabated above. As one project in a portfolio of significant international skyscrapers now built and under development, we hear from the Trump Organization on the motivations behind these projects.
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Chicago: A City Re-Invents Itself
William Testa, Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Tall Buildings have enjoyed an unprecedented renaissance internationally in the past decade or two that has seen their number and height increase across much of the globe. Chicago has been no exception to this, with the downtown core seeing an increase in both average height and density. What are the implications of these increases for the future of the city, and where does Chicago stand in today’s world order? This presentation from a highly-recognized authority on the city's economy, will help to put the economic issues of density, height and cities in context.
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Chicago Spire: Technical Twisting and Turning
Richard Tomasetti, Founding Principal, Thornton Tomasetti, Inc., New York

For the best part of a decade, Asia eclipsed the U.S. as the leader in the world’s tallest buildings. In the mid-2000s, however, a number of U.S. cities once again proposed supertall buildings in a bid to rebrand U.S. skylines and encourage urban revitalization. With initiative from Shelbourne Development Group, and inspiration from Santiago Calatrava, the Chicago Spire has led these efforts on the world stage for Chicago. The project’s engineer of record highlights the technical challenges and solutions of the design, which may apply to similar projects in congested urban settings.
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Session 1 Panel Questions and Answers

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Session 2 - The Changing Economics of Tall Sustainability

Donna Robertson,
Dean, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
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The Economics of Sustainability & Mixed-Use
Steve Watts, Partner / Tall Buildings Leader, Davis Langdon, London
Davis Langdon’s cost model for tall buildings is a seminal reference tool in the industry. In addition, a complimentary reference for sustainable-economics in the context of tall is being developed as part of the CTBUH Sustainability working group. Steve updates us on both these initiatives, in the context of projects such as the mixed-use London Bridge Tower – now moving full-steam ahead towards becoming Europe’s tallest.
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What Every Tenant Wants
Dan Probst, Chairman Energy and Sustainability, Jones Lang LaSalle, Chicago
In parts of the world, higher levels of sustainable building performance is being driven by legislation. In other parts, including the US, it is primarily being driven by tenant and market demand. As the heat of both the office and residential market cools considerably in the current market, how is sustainability faring? Are the early shoots of green buildings being dealt a death blow in their infancy, or are greener developments faring better than most? We hear from one of the world’s largest real estate services firms on what agendas are being driven by tenants.
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American Commerce Center
Garrett A. Miller, President, Hill International Real Estate Partners LP, Philadelphia
US cities such as Chicago, New York and San Francisco have attracted much of the US attention for skyscrapers in the boom of the past decade or so. As proposals in many of these cities become stalled, however, Hill International announced proposals for a tower in Philadelphia that would be taller than any project currently completed  in the US. We hear from Hill about the fundamentals of this and other projects in the Hill portfolio.
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Session 2 Panel Questions and Answers
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Session 3 - Tall Buildings: Adopting an Icon

Dennis Poon,
Principal, Thornton Tomasetti, New York
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Shanghai Tower: Completing a Supertall Trio
Arthur Gensler, Chairman, Gensler, San Francisco
Located in the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone in the heart of Shanghai’s Pudong neighborhood, Shanghai Tower rises to complete a trio of towers including the adjacent Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center. Together, these three will form a new icon on Shanghai’s skyline. In a country powering towards developed status and witnessing massive rural to urban migration, we hear about this project in the context of Chinese super-tall proposals generally, and how these have been affected by the global recession.
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Gazprom Tower: The Politics of High Rise
Tony Kettle, International Group Design Director, RMJM, UK
The subject of intense debate when proposed in the historic city of St. Petersburg, this headquarters for the Russian energy giant Gazprom seems to be successfully chartering a difficult political and economic path towards fruition. We hear from the architects behind the project on how super-tall projects can be realized in Russia, and also learn about the low-energy aspirations of the project.
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East Coast / West Coast Tall – Commonalities and Differences
Clark Manus, FAIA, CEO, Heller Manus Architects, San Francisco, AIA Vice-President / 2011 President
There is a healthy rivalry between the different regions of the US, that extends to construction and tall buildings. Increasingly with climate change in recent years, we have seen this rivalry manifest itself in several cities competing for the hypothetical title of “America’s greenest city”. In this presentation, we hear from the future President of the American Institute of Architects on the commonalities and differences in construction and urban planning across different US cities, evolving green building policy in a changing economic environment and perhaps some indication of those laying claim to the title of the “greenest” and “most sustainable”.
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Session 3 Panel Questions and Answers
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Session 4 - 40 Years of CTBUH / CTBUH 2009 Awards

Antony Wood, Executive Director, CTBUH, Chicago
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40 Years of the CTBUH: Reflection
Charles DeBenedittis, Gilberto do Valle, Ron Klemencic, Shankar Nair, Leslie Robertson & David Scott
As the Council on Tall Buildings celebrates its 40th Anniversary, we hear some lighter reflections on the Council’s history from colleagues who have been involved in the steering of the organization over the years, including such important moments as its formation as the ASCE-IABSE joint committee in 1969, the research that went into seminal buildings such as the Sears and Hancock in the 1970’s, and the controversial decision to award ‘World’s Tallest’ status to Petronas over Sears in 1996.
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A Lifetime of Tall, From an Architect-Developer’s Perspective
John Portman, Founding Principal, John Portman & Associates, Atlanta
John Portman is the recipient of the CTBUH 2009 Lynn S. Beedle lifetime achievement award, which will be conferred at the awards dinner during the conference. John’s work spans five decades and much of the globe, from the major regeneration projects of his home city of Atlanta, to major tall projects in China and Korea. We hear the unique perspective of both an architect and a developer on building tall over the last 40 years, with commentary on where we’re heading into the future.
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CTBUH 2009 Best Tall Building Award Winners
Stuart Allen & Frank Zabel (CICO Consultants) – Tornado Tower, Doha, Qatar
Steven Holl (Steven Holl Architects) – Linked Hybrid Building, Beijing, China
Bruce Kuwabara (KPMB Architects) – Manitoba Place, Winnipeg, Canada
Timothy Poell (SOM) – Broadgate Tower, London, UK

Each year the CTBUH recognizes excellence in tall building design and construction by conferring international Best Tall Building Awards. In this special session we gain an insight into the 4 regional winning projects for 2009: Manitoba Hydro Place, Winnipeg (Americas); Linked Hybrid Building, Beijing (Asia & Australia); Broadgate Tower, London (Europe) and Tornado Tower, Doha (Middle East & Africa).

Frank Zabel - [Watch Video]
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Steven Holl - [Watch Video]  [Download Presentation]  [Download Photo]
Bruce Kuwabara - [Watch Video[Download Presentation]  [Download Photo]
Timothy Poell - [Watch Video]  [Download Presentation] [Download Photo]

Welcome Day 2

Antony Wood, Executive Director, CTBUH
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Session 5 - Quest for the World's Tallest

William Baker, Partner, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Chicago
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The World’s Tallest as Economic Stimulus
His Excellency Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Chairman, Emaar Properties PJSC, Dubai
As the Burj Dubai nears completion in 2009, the Burj has been well documented in both design and technical terms. Envisaged as the "jewel in the crown" of a much larger urban development however, and as a widely varied mixed-use building, the financial and marketing story behind this building is not as well documented. In today’s climate of several stalled supertalls, the story of the rationale and motivations behind the Burj – told by the owner-developer – is a vital one.
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Starcatchers Versus Skyscrapers: Building Skylines of the Future
Eric Kuhne, Founding Principal, Eric Kuhne Associates, London
Tall Buildings seem to have taken on an additional agenda in recent years. Whereas throughout history they have been used to project the vitality of corporations, skylines are now being used to also project the vitality of cities on a competitive world stage. We hear from the architect behind one of the ‘tallest in the world’ proposals on the drawing board – the Burj Mubarak al-Kabir in Kuwait City – about the motivations driving these projects.
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Kilometer-High Tower: Fact or Fiction?
Mark Mitcheson-Low, Managing Director, Woods Bagot Middle East, Dubai
The Nakheel Harbor and Tower project was officially launched in October 2008 – as the world’s economy went into meltdown. Several years of significant work by both the developer and the consultant team had got this project to the first stage of reality – with foundations and basement works started on site. Currently on hold, we hear from the architects behind the project who will disseminate the considerations behind designing a building almost three times the height of the Empire State Building.
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Session 5 Panel Questions and Answers
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Session 6 - Urban, Technical and Environmental Advances in Tall Buildings

Lawrence D. Carbary, Industry Scientist, Dow Corning
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Chicago; 125 Years of Tall – Reflections
Mayor Richard M. Daley, Mayor’s Office, City of Chicago, Chicago
In the city where tall buildings began, this presentation highlights the historical trends, drivers and challenges behind tall buildings and sustainable urban development; what city governments can do to promote greener cities. In addition, Chicago, more so than any other U.S. city of the past decade, has witnessed a resurgence of the supertall building and a wealth of significant green development. How is tall urban sustainability being achieved Chicago-style?
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Envelope as Environmental Filter
Russell Huffer, Chairman and CEO of Viracon’s parent company, Apogee Enterprises
Many believe that the envelope of a tall building has a significant role to play in responding to climate change.  The tall building envelope certainly has a major influence on overall building performance, or sustainability, as well as its aesthetic or design appeal. In this presentation we hear from the CEO of one of the world’s largest suppliers of façade materials – Viracon – on what strategies can be developed with respect to envelope.
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Evolving Structural Solutions : A Third Way
Guy Turner, Director, Intelligent Engineering/SPS Floors, London
As we emerge from the recession, the need to deliver buildings faster and cheaper will be a key requirement for re-energising the industry. More efficient structures will be one of the key elements in delivering this requirement. SPS technology is an alternative structural material to steel or concrete which is now being used in both buildings and stadiums to deliver this enhanced efficiency. This presentation will review the opportunities and challenges SPS (and other similar innovations) present to skyscraper construction as well as describing case studies of various projects.
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Session 6 Panel Questions and Answers
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Session 7 - The Future of Urban Tall?

Janice Tuchman, Editor-in-Chief, ENR / McGraw Hill, New York
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Skyscraper Cities: The Logic of Vertical Density
Carol Willis, Director, Skyscraper Museum, New York
The world’s future is clearly cities. As China especially is demonstrating at dazzling speed and scale, urbanization and modernization seem inevitably to result in high-rises. A historical perspective suggests that the evolution of a successful city moves towards higher uses and land values that produce high-rise buildings. This presentation explores how vertical density is an expression of a city’s affluence and the implication of that idea for the future of cities.
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Decarbonization of Our Central Cities
Adrian Smith, Partner, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Chicago
Much of the consideration of sustainable design is being focused on new and future buildings. However, arguably, the greatest difference to cutting energy and carbon expenditure would be had in the upgrade of existing buildings. This is especially true of existing high rise, with their high committed embodied energy, often inefficient operating procedures, and the issues to be tackled in demolition. This presentation reflects on the upgrade of Willis Tower and a detailed analysis of the Chicago central loop district.
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The Future of Urban Tall in a World of Uncertain Economics
Sandy Diehl, Richard Hanson, Adrian Smith, Carol Willis

The current financial crisis started in the US sub-prime housing market, and quickly exposed the economic Emporer’s clothes across virtually the entire globe. Now, economic stimulus channeled into construction projects is seen as part of the savior against depression. This special panel session, involving four of the pre-eminent thinkers in the field, will debate the future of cities generally, and tall buildings specifically, in the context of the challenges of global climate change and recession.
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Session 7 Panel Questions and Answers
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Session 8 - Developing Markets: Trends, Drivers, Challenges

Jeffrey Holmes, Woods Bagot
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Newton Suites and Other Endeavors: High-Rise and the Organic Realm
Mun Summ Wong, Founding Partner, WOHA, Singapore
As many projects struggle to justify the economic implications of ‘going green’ in the eyes of many developers, still others seem loaded with sustainable technologies that, in many cases, become the dominant aesthetic appearance. Increasingly, however, the value of reintroducing organic material back into the city is being recognized. The Newton Suites project demonstrates how a small number of buildings are pushing the boundaries of organic possibility far beyond the norm.
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Towards Zero Energy in China - Pearl River Tower
Russell Gilchrist, Practice Leader, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Chicago

The Pearl River Tower was conceived as a ‘net zero energy’ operating skyscraper i.e. it would generate enough energy to offset its own demand. With the tower nearing completion now, that ambition will not be fully realized, in part due to the regulations of the energy companies involved. In this presentation we hear about some of the opportunities and challenges of building both tall and sustainably in China.
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The Remaking of Mumbai in the Sustainable Age
Ramana Rachaprolu, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority
India, along with China, is widely recognized as one of the largest emerging / developing markets in the world. Indian cities are witnessing massive growth and enormous strain on existing infrastructure. Tall Buildings are envisaged as part of the equation. As a precursor to our February 2010 CTBUH Mumbai Conference The Remaking of Sustainable Cities in the Vertical Age, we hear from the Metropolitan Commissioner of the MMRDA on plans for Mumbai, including the recent announcement of a 101-story tower in Wadala district.
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Session 8 Panel Questions and Answers
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Conference Closing

Professor Sang Dae Kim, Chairman, CTBUH
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All images © CTBUH, Photographer: Steve Becker/