Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

 London Conference News: Day 2
June 10, Pre-conference June 11, Day 1
June 12, Day 2 June 13, Day 3
Mash of the Titans
Zhang Yue, Chairman, China Broad Group, presents during the Closing Plenary. All Photo Credits: Toby Phillips
The second day of the CTBUH International Conference was bookended by visionaries whose masterworks lay a decade apart. One had proven his mettle by lodging a Europe’s tallest and sharpest building in the heart of London’s historic South Bank – the culmination of a 14-year battle with planning authorities, the teeming metropolis, and buried infrastructure shot through with ancient ruins. The other proposes to build the world’s tallest building – in a field, in seven months.

The two men were Irvine Sellar, founder of Sellar Property, and Chairman Zhang Yue, the head of China Broad Group – a turbine and air-conditioning manufacturer turned developer/builder, which astounded the world with the construction of a 30-story building from prefabricated materials in two weeks.

Though on the surface, the challenges of building a bespoke, “starchitect”-designed tower steps away from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre might seem as far away from the worker hives of Changsha as the physical distance between them would imply, both Yue and Sellar are strong personalities who believe they are doing exactly the right thing for their communities, and for the planet, by building tall.

Irvine Sellar, Founder, Sellar Property, opened Day 2
Sellar characterized the story of the Shard and its companion office building, the Place, as part of a story much larger than the buildings themselves. The Shard and Place anchor a GBP1 billion-plus (US$1.6 billion) redevelopment of a gritty quarter of London’s South Bank, the London Bridge Quarter, in the process taking down two undistinguished 1960s office blocks and reconfiguring the oldest and second-busiest railway station in the city – without grievously interrupting anyone’s commute.

After acquiring the Southwark Tower in 1998, Sellar and his team weathered 300 meetings with the public, showing them 150 CGI renderings of the project. It turned out one of the harshest critics of the initial plan was the Shard’s future architect, Renzo Piano, who called the 400-meter scheme, “Cold, arrogant, impenetrable, arrogant, dark and divisive,” Sellar told the morning plenary session.

A few sketches on the back of a Berlin restaurant menu, and a description of the Quarter’s jumble of river (Thames), rail (iron and brass) and regenerative potential, and Piano and Sellar were on their way with a reduced, 306m scheme comprising a vertical town of 95 stories, featuring offices, a 200-room Shangri-La hotel, 6,000 square feet of restaurants and 10 apartments with 360-degree views.

“The vision was always to create a new place,” Sellar said. “A truly mixed-use development to be enjoyed by everybody, not a commercial fortress.”  He noted that over GBP62 million (US$96 million) had been spent on the public realm, including new railway platforms and a concourse at London Bridge Station, which processes 54 million people a year. There are two ways to appreciate what that means – one is to stand in the existing concourse on a weekday evening and be buffeted on all sides by masses of humanity; the other is to look down from the observation deck of the Shard, upon the platforms, through which white roofed trains wend like so many worms in an oversized apple.

The Shard, Europe's tallest building © Terri Meyer Boake

The vision was grand indeed. Then the financial crisis of the late 2000s hit, and the original investors pulled out, to be replaced almost entirely with the State of Qatar Investment Fund, who shared Sellar’s self-described “mad vision.”

Sellar describes his investment luck as combination of “preparation and opportunity,” but he characterized the Qatari bailout as a “miracle.”

When both the Shard and Place are open later this year, the complex will employ 12,000 people full time. That is only about three times the number of people Yue will employ to build J220 Sky City, at 838 meters the putative next-tallest building in the world in seven months, and about half as many people as he expects to live in it, he told the closing plenary of the conference.

“Land use is a top concern in China,” Yue said. “Occupation of the land has caused a lot of social and environmental issues. It has created huge demand for transportation and energy consumption. In the end, energy conservation is the focus of everything.”  Yue proposes to solve this with a prefabricated vertical city, to be assembled in factories and bolted together on site.

Through tightly-engineered cladding consisting of 20 centimeters of insulation and triple-glazed windows, plus heat recovery systems and 100 percent LED lighting, Broad aims to build a tower that consumes 50 percent less energy than a conventional building of the same size. The building has virtually everything its inhabitants could want – such that they never have to leave.

Here is where the Sellar – Yue divide widens. While Sellar has taken some criticism for the high cost of admission to the View at the Shard, he could have picked just about anywhere but London if he wanted to find an easy place to build his vision. Whether London Bridge Quarter is successful has yet to be assessed, but the model is clearly derived from a commitment to public life at street level as well as to iconic aesthetics.

At the J220, most of the expected interactions will occur within programmed areas of the building, as well as along a 170-story, 3.9 meters-wide continuous ramp at the core, rather than trough horizontal connections at its base, Yue said.

SkyCity, 838m tower to be built in seven months

“In the past, people thought of buildings as a closed system,” he said. “But there are very few opportunities for residents to interact. But here [at Sky City] residents can open their doors and within a few seconds they are on this road. It has immense public space. When people live here, it is the exact same feeling as living in the city.”

Zhang Yue, Chairman, China Broad Group

These assertions provoked skepticism from the audience, who asked about whether the boxy, foreboding Sky City -- whose promotional materials categorically say it is intended as a proof of concept, not “a landmark” – is meant to be social housing on a gargantuan scale.

Yue’s answer was that “cooks and helpers of the wealthier few” living in the tower, with several dozen passages between their own floors, would help to create a collegial environment.

“This building may have cultural contingencies – it may need internal police and many rules and regulations,” Yue conceded.

Fellow panelists at the closing plenary, whose theme was “The Future of Tall,” had varying reactions to the J220 proposal, which seemed to be structurally and socially engineered within an inch of its life.

Ken Shuttleworth, principal at MAKE Architects, was sanguine.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “The principles behind it are good. Whether it needs to be that height is  questionable, but to actually build something in seven months – it takes that long to build a single-story house in the UK. It is still all about the context. If you build in cities, you can’t keep messing about on sites and people going up in the air with buckets of concrete. The prefab idea has to be taken seriously in an urban environment.”

“Seeing it in context, I fear that in Europe construction like that would not have a chance,” said Bob Lang, director at Arup. “Balanced against that, the reliance of tall buildings on infrastructure is such that if that building’s toilets were emptied in one go, the infrastructure could not support it. The modular nature and rational form for vertical load conditions serves as a lesson, and the speed is admirable. I just question whether anything of that scale and form would be built in Western Europe.”

At the session’s and the conference’s close, many difficult truths came to the surface. Though prefab has been embraced by tall-building designers across the globe, the idea of a pre-fab, self-contained vertical city seemed a bit retro-futuristic, even ominous, to a Western audience. But J220 is not made for Western Europe; it’s made to solve a localized issue. The question is whether it will be a broader model for the rest of the planet. The world may know as soon as April 2014. Yue’s first comment to the audience was that construction would begin in August 2013, a date that has been revised several times – in itself not a unique problem to this tall-building project.

The Porter Tun hosted the Plenary Sessions
While speakers throughout the conference continued to advocate for bolder, more environmentally sound production techniques, better building products, and more tightly integrated design, when confronted with this succubus from China, they could not feel entirely comfortable at the prospect.

“Oftentimes you have to push the industry to the point where a new idea can be applicable,” CTBUH Chairman Timothy Johnson said.  “There are so many places where prefab can get applied. What needs to evolve is the human level. What is it like to live there? The emotional part is missing. If our lives get too programmed, we’ll probably go brain-dead.”

Tim Johnson, CTBUH Chairman, provided Conference closing remarks
Either way, it would seem that the boldest tall buildings are projects of highly active, if slightly nonorthogonal minds. When Sellar and Piano stood on the open decking of the Shard’s 40th floor and looked out at the view of London, Sellar said he turned to Piano and remarked, “We would not be standing here if we were not both a little bit mad.”

Yue conceded that J220 Sky City represented a “new way of conceptualizing a city” and a “new ideology.” At one time, the idea of any tall buildings, let alone a cluster of named characters, would have been inconceivable in London – as inconceivable as the world’s tallest building being built in a field in China in seven months. If anything, Yue and Sellar’s visions both demonstrate that if there is one constant in this industry, it is that the inconceivable routinely comes to pass.

Two Seminal Reference Books Launched at CTBUH 2013 Conference
Contributors to the Tall Buildings Reference Book gather for the book launch (l to r): Peter Irwin, RWDI; Robert Henderson, Arup; Caroline Mallinder, Taylor & Francis; William Baker, SOM; Joe Burns, Thornton Tomasetti; David Parker, Editor; Steve Watts, Alinea Consulting; Antony Wood, CTBUH and Editor; Simon Lay, WSP Group; Dennis Poon, Thornton Tomasetti; and Alex Hollingsworth, Taylor and Francis
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) launched two critical reference books at its conference, “Height and Heritage,” on 12 June 2013 at the Brewery, London.

The Tall Buildings Reference Book addresses all the issues of building tall from the procurement stage, through the design and construction process, to new technologies and the building’s contribution to the urban habitat. A case study section highlights the latest, the most innovative, the greenest and the most inspirational tall buildings being constructed today.

“This will be the seminal work on all aspects of Tall Buildings,” said Executive Director Antony Wood, who co-edited the book with Dave Parker. “We believe we have compiled the work of the leading experts in the field.”

Those experts include Dennis Poon of Thornton Tomasetti and William Baker of Skidmore Owings & Merrill (structural engineering), Simon Lay of AECOM (fire protection engineering), and Steve Watts of Alinea Consulting, who wrote the chapter focused on the economics of building tall.

“I was a little worried as an engineer that I would find the architectural contributions rather difficult to edit, as I thought they might use words and concepts that were unfamiliar,” Parker said. “But I was very pleasantly surprised that the architectural contributions were very accessible and really easy to read. I think we have produced something that engineers and architects alike would want to read, and all readers will learn something new.”
Authors of the Wind Tunnel Technical Guide gather for the book launch (l to r): David Scott, Laing O’Rourke; Roy Denoon, CPP; and Peter Irwin, RWDI
Wind Tunnel Testing of High-Rise Buildings sets forth general guidelines for wind tunnel tests, as they apply to tall buildings, in a format that is useful to building professionals and regulatory authorities involved in tall buildings, as well as wind specialists.

The principal authors were Peter Irwin, Roy Denoon and David Scott.

“Wind-tunnel testing is a bit of a specialized form of wind engineering,” Irwin said. “It is a very important part of the design of tall buildings and has been since the 1960s. But many of the people who use it don’t really understand it, so the idea of this publication is that it will inform the non-specialists about what kind of techniques are used. It also addresses the increasingly common condition where two different laboratories test the same building design but return different results.”

Both books are available at the CTBUH Store.

Meinhardt London Tall Building Quiz

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat  is pleased to announce the winner of the Meinhardt London Tall Building Quiz at the CTBUH 2013 International Conference, “Height and Heritage.”

Gary Pomerantz, executive vice president, WSP Group, New York, was awarded the prize at the closing plenary of the conference: a dinner for four anywhere in the world, at a value of up to £1,500 – courtesy Meinhardt. Congratulations, Gary! Which of the highest restaurants in the world will you choose?

Session 13: Ingenhoven Confesses Skyscraper Love While Simpson Looks to the Provinces for Guidance
Chair: Larry Malcic, Director of Design, HOK International
Christoph Ingenhoven, Founder, ingenhoven architects
Ian Simpson, Director, Ian Simpson Architects
Chris Wilkinson,
Principal, Wilkinson Eyre Architects
By Sian Disson, World Architecture News
“I am in love with tall buildings because, quite simply, we need them,” was the opening line of the Beyond London session from Christoph Ingenhoven. For Ingenhoven, the drastic increase in population over the past decades and projection for the global population to 9 billion by 2050 has led to a crucial shift in the way we both perceive and design tall buildings.
Christoph Ingenhoven, Founder, ingenhoven architects

Through examinations of London and Houston, Texas, Ingenhoven examined the effects of urban sprawl on energy demand and drew back to the focus of the conference, tall buildings, and how this may be a viable alternative to the global population increase. Using Marina One in Singapore and 1 Bligh in Sydney as prime examples of effective and sustainable tall building design, Ingenhoven stressed the importance of “civilizing the high rise” and smoothly incorporating these towering structures into a dense public realm.

Ian Simpson took up this point in his presentation on the differences in designing in cities across the UK, examining the “chasm that has divided London and the regional cities.” Drawing on his vast experience in cities such as Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, Simpson drew attention to the importance of context in the success of a high-rise scheme. He explained that the cost of a tall building in London is 2.5 times more than in regional cities, but the value of the former outstrips the latter by 4-10 times.

Ian Simpson, Director, Ian Simpson Architects
This said, the complex policies and frameworks that restrict construction in the capital make designing for regional cities all the more attractive, said Simpson. Pointing out the many differences between these frameworks across the various London boroughs, he concluded, “It would be good if at some point London could speak with one voice.”

Rounding up the session was Christopher Wilkinson, who broached the relatively new topic of the skyscape, i.e. the aerial “postcard view” or lasting memory of a high-rise city that visitors take away with them. Highlighting the significance of retaining heritage in the skyscape, Wilkinson took London, Hong Kong and Guangzhou as examples of rapidly changing skylines, interrupted regularly with the intrusion of a new high-rise building.
Chris Wilkinson, Principal, Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Referencing a past competition that his firm, Wilkinson Eyre, won for the first of two gateway towers in Guangzhou, Wilkinson suggested that the incorporation of tall buildings into an otherwise low-rise community can be a very positive move, stating, “this encourages more tall towers, which generates a more interesting skyscape, a great enhancement to the city.”

Session 14: Tall Buildings vs. Heritage
Chair: Paul Finch, Program Director, World Architecture Festival
Simon Thurley, Chief Executive, English Heritage
Robert Tavernor, Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Peter Murray,
Chairman, NLA London’s Centre for the Built Environment
By Robert Lau
Is the skyscraper an appropriate building typology for cities with hundreds – or thousands – of years of architectural history? Are there other ways to satisfy a city’s need for floor space that do not have such a dramatic affect on the city skyline and urban fabric? Do the benefits of the skyscraper outweigh potentially adverse affects or should this building type be banished from historic cities? This exciting panel discussion brought together experts from all sides of the issue.
Finch opened the session by presenting images of modern London, asserting that tall buildings have become part of its character. The eastern cluster of the city is prominent in the skyline, with the addition of The Shard across the Thames establishing a new point of reference to the south. The current administration has promoted these new additions.

Thurley presented images of global cities with tall buildings, all of which were quite different from London. These were not only contemporary cities, divorced from any relationship with historic character; importantly, many of the subject cities were historic cities where the automobile and highways had devalued the pedestrian experience.  The generic nature of contemporary design also has a tendency to make cities indistinguishable from each other, Thurley said. London, by contrast, has a unique skyline.

Tavernor presented an image of Siena, Italy, as an example of a city with good government. “A lively city life has traditionally been found in historic cities,” he said. London is also a good example and continues to enjoy a lively city center, he added. In addition, it also enjoys open green spaces that have been preserved in parts of the city. A current debate centers on the development around St. Paul’s and its viewing corridors. “Most agree that these corridors should be preserved - but to what extent?” Tavernor asked.

Murray continued the discussion of the historic character of London. While some of it was damaged during World War II, the city has retained its character. The view corridors of St. Paul’s will influence the future developments in the city for years to come, he said.

When the panel opened for discussion, the main topic was around how to allow flexibility in development, so that the results would be desirable for a city. It is impossible to predict how much new development is required and where it will be located in a city, the panelists agreed. Limiting development may produce negative results for the city's economic health; yet letting development run rampant has many negative side effects for sustainability and civic cohesion.

Chair Paul Finch answers questions from the audience
All panelists agreed that quality design is one key ingredient of successful developments. There are numerous nondescript cities across the globe where “cookie-cutter” developments predominate. Public input on the type and nature of projects has produced positive results for London and limited the “cookie-cutter” effect. While the public debate has prolonged the timeline of projects, Thurley said he believes the results can justify the extra time used. “Height, in and of itself. is not a negative,” Thurley said. “Depending on how tall construction is designed and positioned in relation to its city context, it can produce very positive results.”

Project Room: The Leadenhall Building
Session 15: "The Client and the Contractor"
 Steve Cork, Structural Engineering Leader, Laing O'Rourke
Matthew White, Director, Leadenhall Development Company LTD

Session 19: "The Leadenhall Building - Reflections on a Megaframe"
Damian Eley, Associate Director, Arup
By Philip Oldfield
Damian Eley, Associate Director, Arup
While Day 1 in the Leadenhall Room focused on the craft and attention to detail that has gone into the design of the Leadenhall Tower, day two explored more of the challenges associated with actually realizing such a building, from the health and safety issues to the fabrication of the structural mega-frame.

The session was kicked off by Matthew White of Leadenhall Development Company, Ltd., who gave a brief overview of these challenges before passing onto Steve Cork, Structural Engineering Leader at Laing O’Rourke, who went into some of the details. Cork’s presentation was fascinating, as it started to put the building into numbers; the Leadenhall Tower consists of 39,283 total components, 11,252 pieces of steelwork, with some individual sections being 70 tons in weight. The crane strategy, Steve noted, is “a project in its own right,” with the mega-frame alone requiring over 2,000 individual lifts.

Cork then went on to explain one of the most complex aspects of the project’s realization – the Attic – a slender six-story section at the top of the tower housing much of its mechanical plant, tightly squeezed into the uppermost glazed wedge. Steve went on to show a number of fascinating movies of how this space has been built over time, emphasizing the reliance on technologies such as BIM and noting that “I don’t think we would be where we are without digital design and the technology to model this space.” In the end, such technology was used to test around 20 iterations of how the Attic could be constructed. Attendees benefitted greatly from listening in to such discussions, as it is rare to gain such depth and insight on one single project at a conference.

The in-depth discussions continued in the afternoon session, where Damian Eley, Associate Director at Arup, took on the daunting task of filling an entire 90-minute session alone, with a presentation on the Leadenhall Tower’s mega-frame, complete with questions from interested attendees throughout. In doing so, Eley touched on all the key themes that were apparent across the two days in the Leadenhall Room – attention to detail, crafting of components, prefabrication and buildability.

The Leadenhall Building Project Room

Eley began by describing the building’s structure as a key part of its legibility; “It makes the building more interesting to look at, makes it more relatable, and brings a human dimension to what is a very tall tower.”  He then went on to describe how “the aesthetics are not just an architectural issue; it is very much an engineering issue too…it’s about structural honesty, so that people can understand what the structure is doing.”

Much of Eley’s discussion centered on the structural nodes, how they were designed, fabricated and installed. The nodes are fixed together using vast mega-bolts, which save time and man-power in construction as compared to using hundreds of smaller bolts found in typical steel frames. The mega-bolts are pre-tensioned using a hydraulic jack, giving the joints the strength required to support the tower.

In concluding the session, Eley compared the Leadenhall to a traditional center-core tower, stating that the traditional model would be simpler to build using standard techniques – and perhaps even more cost-effective. But, he emphasized the greater long-term value in this unique project, not only financial but also in terms of the impact on the city presented by an iconic tower with a readable and elegant structural system.

Bentley "Digital Futures of Tall" Room
By Robert Lau
Session 16: “Meeting Challenges With Innovation”
Neville Glenville, Director, Bentley Systems
Dirk Krolikowski, Associate, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Andy Butler, Project Director & Chris Brown, Civil Engineer, Laing O’Rourke
BIM (Building Information Modeling) has been misunderstood and has been given many definitions, according to a panel of experts in its use, convened at the CTBUH London Conference. This includes the misperceptions that BIM only relates to buildings, that it is for 3D and not 2D projects, that all software must be compatible, and that it is to be used for the design stage only. This presentation clarified some of these misunderstandings.
AutoCAD computer drawing began in the 1980s. Its intent was to create a virtual world. In today’s terms, its purpose is more relevant to data availability. The intent is to create an intelligent set of data that is available to the widest audience. The users are not just related to building design, but can include civil engineering, geotechnical and even environmental assessments. Data is entered from a wide range of users, be it structural, mechanical, architectural, geotechnical or from environmental scientists. One of BIM’s most significant uses is in integrating infrastructure information.

By this definition, BIM can be used from the initial design stage up through construction and into operations. Data can be continually entered to create “Big Data” models available to whomever requires them. At the design, fabrication and construction stages, most of this data will be networked. From the operations through the life cycle of the project, the data can be cloud-based, so as to provide data to a wide variety of device types and users, including mobile-device-carrying maintenance or operations staff.
Neville Glanville of Bentley Systems presents
With many designers involved with large projects, such as the Leadenhall Building, BIM integrates the individual data of each designer into the model. Each design firm can contribute using their own software. The fabricators and contractors can then receive this information with their own software and progressively add to it. As the project becomes operational, the owner and operators can adapt their mobile software to extract this data into their life cycle assessments. In some cases, only Acrobat software may be required to extract the data. The data is entered once, from the source, and then made available to anyone thereafter who may require it.

Digital Engineering and BIM have revolutionized the design and construction industries. After several decades of computer drafting, BIM is still in the beginning of its journey, panelists said. Its adaptability to many types of projects, both 2D and 3D, provide a wide range of opportunities. The mobile possibilities for site construction and maintenance staff have proven very beneficial. Today’s companies rely on BIM to integrate the large data requirements of complex projects.
Session 20: Methodology, Practice and Vision: The Digital Future
Frank McLeod, Head of Project Technology, WSP Group
Dave Moyes, Associate Director, Ian Simpson Architects
Panel discussion included Neville Glanville and Steve Jolley,
This presentation and panel discussion focused on how consultants and designers could better serve their clients. The question to ask is, “How did we solve your problem?” panelists said. There are many tools that designers can use to solve clients’ problems. Not all of these may be BIM-related, but many problems have been solved using BIM technology.

Governments are beginning to require BIM in their projects. PAS 1192 is a document, required by some governments, for implementing the BIM process. One aspect is that the brief provided by the government entity can be translated into the BIM asset information model. It can be integrated into 2D or 3D models.

There are eight phases of the BIM model that can be developed. These are Design, Explore, Define, Produce, Install, Accept, Operate and Dispose. While it may be beneficial to develop all of these aspects, it is not required for every project. Most clients will develop and rely on some phases more than others. Some of these are developed by the designers, some by the fabricators and contractors, and the remaining by the operators, owner, and demolisher/recycler. The hierarchy established by the client will determine how much input is required by each. Some phases may mature more than others as a result. The client may prefer integrated cloud-based data tools, as one example, for the operations phase.

Frank McLeod, WSP Group presents
Team collaboration is important, but do the BIM tools solve the client’s problem? In some cases the use of BIM may not produce the best result. Obtaining an information model from the outset, then incorporating it into the operating life of a project has its advantages. But despite these advantages, it is important to remember that BIM accesses information for others; it is not the design in and of itself.

Session 17: Constructing Tall Within Historic Cities
Chair: Stephen Pycroft, Executive Chairman, Mace
David Scott, Director, Eng. Excellence Group, Laing O’Rourke
Geoff Pontefract, Technical Director, Brookfield Multiplex
Paul Chandler, Executive Vice President, Skanska UK
By Richard Witt
Session 17 speakers, Stephen Pycroft, David Scott, Geoff Pontefract and Paul Chandler
At the beginning of this session, David Scott, Director, Engineering Excellence Group, Laing O’Rourke, noted that tall buildings in congested city centers, often combine major civil, structural, and services challenges, and opportunities. Construction can cause major noise and disruption to the surroundings for years, with quality and progress often affected by local weather and access. Using 3-D design software can minimize the effects of these disruptions.

“We are in the middle of a massive change in the way that buildings are being designed, procured and built,” Scott said.

One of the biggest changes – and most important factors in helping design teams negotiate the maze of archaeological artifacts and centuries-old utilities – is the growing use of Building Information Management (BIM).
David Scott, Laing O'Rourke
Paul Chandler, Skanska

“Nearly 50 percent of architects in the UK are now working on projects with BIM,” Scott said. “When I heard that I couldn’t believe it – what are the other 50 percent doing? If you use BIM on a complex project you’ll realize that BIM is the only way.”

Scott noted that in the USA BIM is used by closer to 85 percent of architects. In any event, his team likes to call the use of 3D software to coordinate disciplines “digital engineering.” His team put digital engineering into heavy use in the largely prefabricated construction of the Leadenhall Building in the City of London, which was done to avoid the disruption of onsite assembly in tight quarters near historic buildings and busy streets.

Scott’s panelist partner, Paul Chandler, executive vice president, Skanska UK, said the best way to avoid causing problems in dense environments was a total sense of awareness of physical surroundings – a strategy he calls “Above, below and community.”

“If you remember one thing about building tall, remember this - The key to high rise construction is vertical transportation,” he said. The degree to which prefabrication can be used makes vertical assembly that much easier on everyone involved, especially as concrete pouring in center cities can be hugely disruptive, and no replacement for a poured concrete base has yet been found.

Geoff Pontefract makes his presentation on vertical transportation.
The vertical transportation theme was echoed by Geoff Pontefract, Technical Director, Brookfield Multiplex, who indicated that focusing on three major areas – core configuration, reducing floor to floor height and plant room efficiency, the company was able to gain its client 25,000 square meters of sellable space and reduced the construction program by six months – just by simplifying the design.

In a complex world with fewer and fewer green-field sites, more innovative techniques such as these will have to be used to optimize building tall in historic cities, the panelists concluded.

Session 18: Tall Buildings as Heritage
Chair: Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive, British Council for Offices
Middle East: Talal Al Maiman, CEO and Managing Director, Kingdom Real Estate Development Company
USA: William Baker, Structural Engineering Partner, SOM
Europe: Stefan de Fay,
EPADESA / Paris la Défense Seine Arche
By Sian Disson, World Architecture News
The closing panel debate of the Height & Heritage conference looked at the impact high-rise structures can make on a city in the long term, and how we decide which tall buildings should gain heritage status. Richard Kauntze kicked off the session by challenging the three panelists - Talal Al Maiman, William Baker and Stefan de Fay - with a simple but very significant question: “Tall buildings are considered the new landmarks of the metropolitan landscape, but what makes a good tall building?”
Session 18 panelists (l to r): Stefan de Fay, EPADESA / Paris la Défense Seine Arche; William Baker, SOM; Talal Al Maiman, Kingdom Real Estate Development Company; Chair Richard Kauntze, British Council for Offices
For Talal Al Maiman, CEO and Managing Director of Kingdom Real Estate and developer of the 1000 meter-plus Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, a good tall building must solve an existing problem at the project site. In quick response to a query from the audience as to what problem the Kingdom Tower will solve in Jeddah, Al Maiman explained that his latest scheme reacts to the city’s “poorly planned” urban realm, showing a new path for Jeddah by encouraging a new interest in the city and therefore more investment and an expanding population.

Many heritage buildings and tall towers are often referred to as “iconic,”  but what is the difference between “iconic” and “heritage”? For Stefan de Fay of EPADESA in Paris, the answer is “time.” The Gherkin became iconic immediately, he explained, but it is - or will become - a heritage building (which was a point Ken Shuttleworth also raised later that afternoon). Al Maiman suggested that one cannot simply “create,” heritage neither can it be replaced once realized. As an example, he referenced Paris with the comment, “The Eiffel Tower is Paris, whereas if you built a tall tower there it would only be in Paris.”

Israel Delegation Makes Substantial Presence at the CTBUH London Conference
Only one year after its founding, the scale and enthusiasm of the CTBUH Israel chapter is remarkable. The Israeli delegation to the CTBUH London Conference included 105 participants – only the UK had more citizens represented.
Among the delegates were: The founders of CTBUH Israel, Engineer Israel David, country representative, Engineer Danny Marian - Chairman of the Association of Engineers and architect Gil Shenhav, chairman of CTBUH Israel. A number of esteemed Israeli architects were also present: Avner Yashar, Yossi Sivan, Moshe Tzur, Gal Marom and others. City planners, construction and engineering firms were also well represented, as the delegation included  David Yoav, city architect of Tel Aviv; Sigal Horesh, vice engineer of Ramat-Gan Municipality, Dror Nagel, CEO of Azorim Construction Ltd, and Ronen Ginzburg, CEO of Danya Cebus and more.

"The massive participation of Israelis contractors, architects and engineers in the conference demonstrates the importance of building height as a part of the urban development that Israel stands in front of in the near future,” Shenhav said. “We expect construction of 3 million square meters of commercial and office space, and one million apartments over the next decade.”

Italian Team Wins CTBUH Research Seed Funding
Dr. Elena Giacomello receives the seed funding check CTBUH Chairman Timothy Johnson
A research team from IUAV University of Venice, Italy, was named the winner of the CTBUH’s second research seed funding grant during the 2013 London Conference Dinner at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The team, led by Dr. Elena Giacomello, will receive $20,000 to fund a study of the radical new “Vertical Forest” (Bosco Verticale); two 75- and 110-meter towers in Milan festooned with exterior vegetation on cantilevered platforms. The team will conduct monitoring of the Vertical Forest so as to build a database in support of a new framework for the green design of tall buildings, and will first publish its findings in the CTBUH Journal. More than 40 organizations from 12 countries applied for the funding, which was sponsored by Arup. The winner was chosen by the CTBUH’s Research Seed Funding Review Committee.

The Shard Networking Reception
Sponsored By: AkzoNobel
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June 10, Pre-conference
June 11, Day 1
June 12, Day 2
June 13, Day 3