Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 Shanghai Congress News Day 3
September 19, Day 1 September 20, Day 2 September 21, Day 3
Inside the Past, Present and Future World’s Tallest Buildings
Timothy Johnson, Cathy Yang, David Bradford and Talal Al Maiman during the panel discussion.

In a rare public discussion of the one-kilometer-tall Kingdom Tower project, Kingdom Real Estate chief executive Talal Al Maiman emphasized there are sound economics behind his company’s plan to build the world’s tallest tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“It is both an economic engine and a proud symbol,” Mr. Al Maiman told the Congress audience.

Q: After Kingdom Tower, what country will build the next tallest tower in the world?

A: “Qatar. They are doing the World Cup, why not the highest tower in the world?”
-Talal Al Maiman, chief executive of Kingdom Real Estate Development Co

Mr. Al Maiman’s comments came as part of the Congress’ headline panel discussion featuring the builders of the past, present and future tallest buildings in the world—Taipei 101, Burj Khalifa and Kingdom Tower.

Most of the session focused on the combination of economics and national pride necessary to build a record-setting iconic building.

“Skyscrapers are like a business card for the city,” said Cathy Yang, vice president of Taipei Financial Center Corp.

Taipei 101 reached a profit six years after it opened in 2004 as the tallest building in the world at 508 meters, she said.

Kingdom is moving forward only after 20 months of convincing investors they will make money, Mr. Al Maiman said. The key is the increased value of the 5.3 million square meters of land around the tower, which is part of the $20 billion Kingdom City development.

“You don’t build a tower, you build everything else with it,” Mr. Al Maiman said.

The phenomenon is often referred to as the Burj Khalia Effect, a reference to the increase in the value of the land around the world’s current tallest tower, which Turner Middle East project director David Bradford called the “first integrated vertical city.” Kingdom consulted with Emaar, the developer of Burj Khalifa, during the planning process, Mr. Al Maiman said.

“The success of downtown Dubai has changed the development of megatall buildings,” Mr. Bradford told the audience.

Mr. Al Maiman addresses the Congress audience.

Next Stop, London: CTBUH Announces Plans for 2013 Conference
Members of the London Steering Committee pose for a photo after the announcement.

As the Shanghai Congress closed to rave reviews, CTBUH confirmed plans to host its next conference in London, 11-12 June, at The Brewery. “Height and Heritage: The Unique Challenges of Building Tall in Historical Cities” will explore the issues and opportunities of building tall in Europe’s classic cities. “London provides a perfect setting, with a combination of old and new,” said Steve Watts of AECOM, a member of the CTBUH board of trustees and chair of the London steering committee. British Land & Oxford Properties have already signed on as the Diamond sponsor.

Session Snapshots
Urban Design in China
Planners have to make sure Chinese cities are “much more compact and much more efficient,” Skidmore Owings and Merrill director of urban design and planning Ellen Lou told the audience. Ms. Lou and the other panelists focused on how tall buildings can contribute to more livable cities. Jeffrey Heller, president of Heller Manus Architects detailed how the combination of livability, sustainability and mobility can create viable projects, citing the master plans for the Beijing International Culture and Arts CBD and the Pazhou C Zone as examples. The third speaker, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill director of sustainability Christopher Drew, made a case for vertical cities integrated with pedestrian plans and natural systems as a way to address China’s unprecedented rate of urbanization.
Ellen Lou speaks about creating livable cities.
Asia: Beyond China (I)
Christopher Mulvey of Safdie Architects spotlighted efforts to humanize projects on a “megascale,” by “challenging the relationship of individuals to the built environment” through sky gardens. While nature provided the inspiration for HOK director of design Kenneth Drucker’s look at biomimcry, which focused on tower projects in New Songdo City in Korea. Goettsch Partners principal Paul de Santis offered “3 Environment, 3 Programs, 3 Solutions,” including an effort to incorporate wind patterns into a multi-tower design in Dalian.
Asia: Beyond China (I) panel with moderator Dennis Poon (left), vice chairman of Thornton Tomasetti
Asia: Beyond China (II)
A second panel spotlighted the diversity and inspiration found in cities throughout Asia, including an array of Singapore towers presented by Khoo Peng Beng and Belinda Huang of ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism. For his presentation, TFP Farrells principal director Stefan Krummeck turned to London and Hong Kong, contrasting the two city’s development patterns. In the third presentation, Jakarta’s Signature Tower was the focus for the paper presented by Sugeng Wijanto of Gistama Intisemesta and Tiyak Prasetyoadi of Pandega Desain Weharima.
Stefan Krummeck makes his presentation.

 Musings from Shanghai: Buro Happold's Mark Lavery blogs on the Congress
"The presentations have been many and varied, and it has been particularly interesting to note (being personally based in the Middle East) that, despite being a China centred conference, rightly celebrating the region’s tall buildings (particularly the stunning Shanghai Tower) there is still a significant Middle East flavour to the projects discussed..."
CTBUH Dubai City Representative Mark Lavery

Panel Debates the State of Sustainability in Tall Buildings
A late afternoon panel discussion on the “opportunities and barriers to sustainability” provided one of the most rousing sessions of the Congress.

Moderated by Richard Keating, national design principal for Jacobs, speakers agreed that best practices are not always incorporated into projects, often due to conflicting goals.

“We need to work together to find a balance between iconic design and sustainability,” said Mehdi Jalayerian, executive v.p. of Environmental Systems Design. “They clash at some point.”

Conscientious design is only one part of the equation, said Tishman Speyer managing director Robert Pratt, who represented the developer and building operator perspective.

“Behavior [of tenants] can often lead to significant energy savings,” Mr. Pratt said.

Left to right: David Scott, Robert Pratt, Mehdi Jalayerian and Richard Keating
But the discussion ultimately focused on the lack of readily available energy performance data on buildings.

“The only way we will ultimately change building systems is if developers compete on a performance basis,” said Laing O’Rourke structural director and former CTBUH chairman David Scott. “When we get more data, the industry will change.”

Photo Gallery: Congress Moments

The Congress provided a wealth of opportunities for professionals from multi-disciplines to connect with their peers from around the world, as well as a chance to purchase the latest CTBUH publications, posters and t-shirts.

Congress Moments image gallery
(click on an image to enlarge)

September 19, Day 1 September 20, Day 2 September 21, Day 3