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The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of CTBUH, an important occasion that will be commemorated throughout the year via a series of special events and outputs, culminating with the 10th World Congress in Chicago, 28 October–2 November, on the theme “50 Forward | 50 Back.” Join us each month as we examine key moments in the Council’s rich history, which track the progression and ascendance of both the organization and dense vertical urbanism on a global scale.


Moment #5: CTBUH Awards Program Inaugurated

The CTBUH Awards Program has significantly expanded since its inception in 2002.

The CTBUH Awards program began in 2002, with a single award. When it was announced in March 2001 that founder Lynn S. Beedle would be retiring, it was decided to bestow an honor that would reflect the hard work and dedication he had committed to the Council in the 32 years since inception. The result was the first annual awards dinner, held in New York City on 26 September 2002.

The success of this program had a snowball effect, with the creation of the Fazlur R. Khan medal in 2004, in honor of the past Chairman, a legend of structural engineering of tall buildings. The Awards began recognizing the team achievement in tall building projects by issuing Best Tall Building awards beginning in 2007. The awards program has continued to expand over the years to address specific industry developments and recognize those buildings/innovations that are pushing the typology forward: Innovation Award (2012), 10 Year Award (2013), Urban Habitat Award (2014), and Construction Award (2017).

In 2019, the awards program was significantly expanded and reformatted: new awards to recognize the achievements in engineering and other fields were added: Structural, MEP, Geotechnical, Façade, Fire & Risk, Interior Space, and Renovation; the Urban Habitat award was also split into two categories to recognize building scale vs. district/master plan scale; and the regional categories for the Best Tall Building awards were eliminated and replaced by height and function categories in order to make the judging of projects facing similar challenges fairer.

In 2020 and beyond, we look forward to continuing to raise the bar for high-rise development, design, and operations, cross-pollinating the Awards program with our research and industry expertise to foster more sustainable vertical urbanism for all.