Manuela Belova
Founding Partner
VA Architects, Sofia

Europe has been gradually catching up with the global competition for height. But while the old continent is hardly participating in the race for the tallest building, it has certainly been showing good examples of how to build tall, while also solving problems related to preserving cultural heritage and identity. Could other, more developed, markets also benefit from this experience?

Since the construction of the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, which is widely considered to be the first sustainable skyscraper, additionally the tallest timber and the tallest passivhaus buildings have both emerged in Europe. These are just a few of the good examples in the growing European portfolio. Long-term vision documents created for future urban growth and sustainability have been gaining momentum in Europe as well, complementing local codes and regulations about energy efficiency. This much needed focus on sustainability and context considerations inevitably leads to a trade-off with the pace of gaining height compared to other regions.

European countries are addressing issues related to the integration of tall buildings and discusses the motivation behind local sustainable developments. It explores the overall lessons learnt from Europe’s approach to seamlessly incorporating tall buildings into long standing historical contexts. Additionally, the presentation discusses possible further improvements in terms of energy efficiency, as well as the significance of local people’s mindset in terms of implementing good practices.