CORPUS Magazine

Going high

At the beginning of November, trend-setting residential and commercial buildings will once again be awarded the International Highrise Award in Frankfurt's Paulskirche. The finalists have already been announced - our picture gallery shortens the time to the decision.

Büro Ole Scheeren and OMA Office for Metropolitan Architecture: MahaNakhon, Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: Hufton + Crow)

High-rise construction has been experiencing a real renaissance for some time now. And rightly so, because the ongoing densification in the cities - accompanied by rising land prices - calls for efficient solutions. And when it comes to space efficiency, "upwards" is exactly the right direction. 

And yet today's high-rise buildings are much more impressive than efficiency. Architecturally sophisticated, convincing in design, well thought-out in terms of energy, sustainable and social - all this applies to the buildings nominated for the International Highrise Award 2018. 36 projects from all over the world were on the shortlist. Most of them were located in Asian and North American cities, but Mexico City, Beirut, Milan and Frankfurt were also represented. The list of nominees reads like a who's who of the global architecture scene: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Büro Ole Scheeren, Foster + Partners, Herzog & de Meuron and Zaha Hadid Architects are just a few of the most famous names.

The International Highrise Award has been presented every two years since 2004 and was initiated by the City of Frankfurt together with the German Museum of Architecture and DekaBank. Planners and builders receive the prestigious award together. Only projects that are at least 100 metres high and that were completed and handed over within a certain time window before the award ceremony are admitted to the competition. A proactive application is not possible. A seven-member, top-class jury of experts will decide on the winner, who will be chosen this year on 1 November in Frankfurt's Paulskirche. The 5 finalists have just been announced - we present them in more detail in our picture gallery.

MahaNakhon, Bangkok

After the last award winner came from New York, there is no building in North America among the finalists this time. But three from Asia - including the MahaNakhon in Bangkok. The hotel building with its pixelated façade was designed by Ole Scheeren and quickly became a new landmark of the Thai metropolis. The jury recognizes here "an interesting variation of an otherwise classical typology through fragmentation and pixelation, which dissolve parts of the block-like overall picture". (Photos: Hufton + Crow)

Beirut Terraces, Beirut

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Photo: Bahaa Ghoussainy
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The Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron is also sending a project into the final round of the world's most important architecture award for high-rise buildings. The Beirut Terraces appear light and sculptural at the same time and are also perfectly adapted to the Mediterranean climate of Lebanon: The white projectile slabs, shifted against each other, blur the transition between inside and outside and thus cultivate life outdoors. According to the jury, the living levels protect from direct sunlight and offer quality of stay and views. (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Torre Reforma, Mexico City  

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Photo: Alfonso Merchand
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Only at first glance is the Torre Reforma less spectacular than its co-finalists. At 246 meters, the office building in Mexico City is not only the tallest building in the country, but, according to the jury, "the perfect testimony to how innovative and impressive architecture is in Mexico today". Architect L. Benjamín Romano was convincing with a clever structural concept that takes into account the earthquake problem prevailing in Mexico City and at the same time gives the tower its significant appearance. "Despite its enormous height, the Torre Reforma has a lightness due to its broken concrete structure. Its pointed shape and the recessed glass surfaces impress without being obtrusive," praised the jury. (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Chaoyang Park Plaza, Beijing

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The Chaoyang Park Plaza complex in Beijing is the only one of several nominated projects in China also designed by a Chinese office. MAD Architects are responsible for the ensemble, which was inspired by traditional landscape painting. With its dark glass facades and amorphous forms, it stands out clearly from the surrounding buildings and thus embodies an interesting approach to developing a Chinese architectural language of the present day. (Photos: Hufton + Crow )

Oasia Hotel Downtown, Singapore

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Photo: K. Kopter
BASF_CORPUS_05_WOHA - Oasia Hotel Downtown_Patrick Bingham-Hall.jpg

The latest design by WOHA, the Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, blurs "the boundaries between nature and architecture" according to the jury. The green high-rise is reduced to a planted exoskeleton that encloses impressive open spaces. Protected from sun and rain, they create natural oases with a high quality of stay in the middle of the densely populated city centre of the tropical metropolis. (Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall )

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