The world’s best skyscraper renovation and interior space projects have been announced as part of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat awards program for 2021.
The CTBUH was founded in 1969 and explores how increased urban density and vertical growth can support more sustainable and healthy cities, especially in the face of mass urbanisation, the increasing effects of climate change and a post-Covid world.
“The winning projects reflect that, in the first instance, operational and environmental requirements of tall buildings can change rapidly,” a CTBUH spokesman said.
“The most sustainable response to a change in these requirements is to undertake a significant renovation.
“While a tall building’s initial appearance on the skyline grabs most of the headlines, the occupant experience of the interior is crucially important.”
HANWHA HEADQUARTERS, SEOUL
Owned by a leading producer of photovoltaic (PV) panels, the 1980s-built Hanwha Headquarters received a major skyscraper renovation that included embedding highly-responsive solar technology into its exterior cladding, reflecting the firm’s commitment to renewable energy.
Influenced by the the natural environment, a holistic building-wide restructuring prioritised employee well-being and comfort.
HUDSON COMMONS, NEW YORK CITY
The developers of Hudson Commons opted to transform what was a drab eight-story commercial building into a sleek office tower—and a case study in complex vertical expansion.
Built in 1962, the existing cast-in-place structure was originally designed as a warehouse.
The base structure is made up of two-way concrete slabs on a 7.3m x 8.5m grid, with drop panels, “mushroom” capitals and a masonry core.
LONDONHOUSE CHICAGO, CHICAGO
LondonHouse Chicago is the adaptive reuse and restoration of a 1923 office building originally designed by Alfred Alschuler for the London Guarantee & Accident Company.
In its updated iteration, it is combined with a new, slender infill tower that completes the street wall on an adjacent site overlooking the Chicago River.
Building occupancy was low before the renovation, resulting in its acquisition by a new owner, who saw an opportunity in the property’s high-profile location.
They opted to lead the restoration and adaptive reuse of the historic building, as well as design an integrated new “sliver” tower to the west. Together, the buildings serve as a 452-key hotel.
NECKER LABORATORY, PARIS
The laboratory tower of the Necker Medical Department of Paris Descartes University is between the Eiffel Tower and the Gare Montparnasse in the 15th arrondissement.
It was designed in 1966 by André Wogenscky, a student of Le Corbusier. Several abstract sculptures by the renowned sculptor Marta Pan reinforce the architectural significance and its surrounding exterior spaces.
In order to bring the building, in which the latest medical research will be carried out at a globally competitive level, up to the latest technical standards and requirements, two major design projects were accompanied an asbestos-abatement program.
SHINJUKU SUMITOMO BUILDING, TOKYO
The Shinjuku Sumitomo Building, completed in 1974, was the first to exceed 200m in the Nishishinjuku district of Tokyo.
The Sumitomo Building’s owner decided not only to update and upgrade the building, but also to roof over the public space of the site, to enliven the connections between the building and the surrounding neighbourhood, as well as inject new energy into the area as a whole.
THE RESIDENCES OF 488 UNIVERSITY AVENUE, TORONTO
The Residences of 488 University Avenue is an intensification project that includes major enhancements to Global House.
The existing 18-storey office building, which was built in 1968, had 37 residential storeys added above while incorporating a striking new façade, exterior skin, and a distinctive and sophisticated three-storey podium on one of Toronto’s oldest and grandest boulevards.
THE WOOLWORTH TOWER RESIDENCES, NEW YORK CITY
The Woolworth Tower Residences were created to restore the beauty of the famed Neo-Gothic “Cathedral of Commerce” dating to 1913, and to make it an anchor in a newly residential neighbourhood.
In transforming the tower floors from commercial to residential use, modern engineering parameters were applied to perform major structural and mechanical modifications throughout the building, but most significantly on the 29th floor, and on the 53rd through 58th floors.
Open, expansive residential living spaces were created out of formerly dark, small and unoccupiable mechanical and back-of-house spaces.
L’OREAL HEADQUARTERS DUSSELDORF, DUSSELDORF
Appearing like a stack of boxes cast in light, transparent, and cuboid horizontal layers, the L’Oréal Headquarters Düsseldorf achieves a harmonious order through clear forms and clean lines.
This emphasis on clarity extends to its interior scheme, which was engineered with the changing demands of the modern workforce in mind. Today’s workers prize transparent, flexible workspaces that support collaboration and deep concentration in equal measure.
Each floor is characterised by a semi-open meeting zone, around which individual workstations are organised.
The entrance areas of the office floors contain lounge-like “landing zones,” which encourage informal communication.
LEEZA SOHO, BEIJING
The Leeza SOHO tower’s dramatic, full-height atrium space is among the world’s tallest at 194m from the building’s skylight to the ground floor, where it acts as a central conduit through the building, connecting the northwest with the southeast of the site.
The space provides for clear navigation towards lift banks for towers A and B on both sides. Escalators and two additional cores link to basement levels with retail and access to the metro station.
The atrium thus acts as a central hub of the building, linking all spaces while providing a strong identity and recognisability for its users.
This identity is communicated through a mostly obsidian palette, with a lobby floor laid in large tiles of black marble, core walls clad in black-tinted glass, and backlit signage trimmed with black stainless-steel details.
ONE EXCELLENCE, SHENZHEN
Designed to offer a relaxing respite in Shenzhen’s bustling and dense Qianhai industrial zone, the interior of One Excellence Finance Center appears to be carved out by natural light.
The aesthetic, drawn from the interplay of sunlight and shadow on trees and natural features, attempts to invigorate public space within the modern office typology, seeking to strike a balance between individualised spaces and typically standard office environments.
ROSEWOOD BANGKOK HOTEL, BANGKOK
The two connecting high-rise structures of Rosewood Bangkok are masterfully combined to create a dynamic form, revealing a tall, interior central void.
In keeping with the tropical environment, this atrium features lush, vertical terraced gardens, evoking Thailand’s famous caves, and creating a dramatic backdrop for guests and passersby alike.
SIXTY MARTIN PLACE, SYDNEY
Conceived as an integrated workplace, the shared and common spaces at Sixty Martin Place form collaborative, flexible zones where casual meetings occur, interactive events can be staged and the workplace can extend from a tenancy into an indoor/outdoor amenity.
People are drawn into the space by views of the heritage backdrop of the newly revealed south façade of St. Stephen's Church, a subtle nod to how churches have historically helped define public space.
THE INDEPENDENT, AUSTIN
As a multi-family residential project, The Independent’s interior spaces reflect a programmatic commitment to a “community in the sky.”
The tower offers two floors of competitive and luxury condo amenities.
From an elegant board room to a playful dog lounge, this project connects residents from 363 units with programmatic variance across 12 different amenity spaces.
THE WARSAW HUB, WARSAW
Most of the interior elements in the exuberant Warsaw HUB were custom-designed, including the porcelain floor tiles, ceilings, furniture, wall finishes and illumination.
Thanks to an extensive knowledge of manufacturing technologies, such as molding, thermoforming, sublimation and computerised numerical control (CNC) cutting, the interior architect, who is also an industrial designer, and his team created an organic flow of design solutions, achieving a visual effect of liquid fluidity with a multitude of expressions.
TOHA TOWER 1, TEL AVIV
Despite being within a two-tower office complex, the interior of ToHA Tower 1 is the opposite of intimidating. Instead of being confronted with an impenetrable line of security behind a large reception desk, guests are immediately presented with comfortable seating, generous plantings, and open views to landscaping on both sides.
UTS CENTRAL, SYDNEY
University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is a vertical campus on the fringe of Sydney’s CBD. Due to its proximity to the major metropolis, it was crucial that the campus be intentional about embodying a sense of academic community for students, while also filtering out into the city.
To achieve this, emphasis was placed on spaces that enhanced collaboration and communication for students and faculty.