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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, 20 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 #2: The “CTBUH” Name Takes Shape

The evolution of the CTBUH logo over the past 50 years.

In 1976, the name “Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat” first appeared. Known since its inception in 1969 as the Joint Committee on Tall Buildings of the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and IABSE (International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers), the organization entered a new era, in recognition of the great responsibility the industry carries to create livable and sustainable cities.

In The Times, newsletter, volume 7, number 3, founder Lynn S. Beedle wrote, “In recognition of the multi-professional nature of its membership and the scope of its activity, the Joint Committee on Tall Buildings has been renamed the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The word ‘Council’ reflects the multi-faceted nature of our professional concern. It also denotes a forum…a gathering together for discussion, exchange, and decision. The new words ‘Urban Habitat’ bring into prominence what has been an essential component from our very beginnings in 1969 – that the tall building is a key part of the urban environment. ‘Habitat’ is more and more coming to be what the 1976 Vancouver UN conference called it: ‘Human settlement – the totality of the human community.’”

In essence, the mission never changed, even if the name got (slightly) shorter, but it was much more than just a rebrand. The all-important “urban habitat” component is a constant reminder that by their very nature, tall buildings are massively influential pieces in the urban toolkit, such that their value is not only measured by their operational success, but their success in making a city into more than the sum of its parts. To that end, there is still much work to be done.

Beedle, Lynn S., Dr. “Joint Committee Becomes Council.” The Times 7 (December 23, 1976): 2.