One World Trade may officially be the tallest building in the West, but according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), the honor of the Best Tall Building in the World goes to OMA’s CCTV Headquarters in Beijing–a fitting birthday gift to the architect who previously declared war on the skyscraper (Happy 69th Rem!).
Back in July, the CTBUH revealed its four regional finalists for the annual Best Tall Buildings competition, which included Foster + Partners’ The Bow (Calgary, Canada) for the Americas, Renzo Piano’s The Shard (London) for Europe, and Goettsch Partners Sowwah Square complex (Abu Dhabi) for the Middle East and Africa. The CCTV building was chosen as the worldwide champ after senior representatives from each of the winning firms presented their projects to a jury at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus in Chicago on November 7.
The CTBUH praised Rem Koolhaas’ iconic building for challenging the definition and typology of the skyscraper with its groundbreaking form, pushing the limits of possibility with its cutting-edge structural engineering, and serving as a catalyst for the recent transformation of skyscrapers from the high-reaching towers of old to the dynamic urban centerpieces that are rising across the world today. In usual Koolhaas form, the architect accepted his award by expressing his distaste for traditional tall buildings.
“When I published my last book, Content, in 2003, one chapter was called ‘Kill the Skyscraper,'” Koolhaas said at the ceremony. “Basically it was an expression of disappointment at the way skyscraper typology was used and applied. I didn’t think there was a lot of creative life left in skyscrapers. Therefore, I tried to launch a campaign against the skyscraper in its more uninspired form.”
“The fact that I am standing on this stage now, in this position, meant that my declaration of war went completely unnoted, and that my campaign was unsuccessful,” Koolhaas continued jokingly before concluding. “Being here, its is quite moving—to be part of a community that is trying to make skyscrapers more interesting. I am deeply grateful, and thank all my partners.”