Posts tagged with "tall buildings":

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Chicago’s Willis Tower reportedly up for sale

Chicago's tallest building may be on the market, and it might even have a buyer. Crain's Chicago Business reporter Ryan Ori said Tuesday that the owners of the Willis Tower have hired Eastdil Secured to seek a sale of the 110-story tower. Real estate mogul Joseph Chetrit, developer Joseph Moinian and Skokie-based American Landmark Properties could fetch as much as $1.5 billion—a sum that would dwarf some of the eye-popping price tags from 2014. The current owners also broke records when they bought the tower in 2004 for $840 million. It's another sign of the real estate resurgence for downtown properties. Consider the $850 million deal to nab 300 North LaSalle Street, or the record-breaking sale of OneEleven. Completed in 1973 as the Sears Tower, the building was the world’s tallest for 23 years until Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers outreached Sears by a hair. Willis got its current name in 2009 as part of an agreement with London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings, though many Chicagoans steadfastly refer to it by its original name. Designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Rahman Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building's powerful silhouette and distinctive expression of its bundled-tube structural system have made it a defining feature of the Chicago skyline. Willis is currently 84 percent leased. Its two largest tenants are United Airlines and law firm Schiff Hardin, who both have their corporate headquarters there. If the deal goes down, future owners would likely explore ways to lease new space—occupancy has risen in recent years as downtown neighborhoods have begun to attract more jobs and residents.
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Such Great Heights: CTBUH names world’s best tall buildings

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the nonprofit arbiter on tall building design, has named its 2014 picks for best tall buildings. Among the winners are a twisting tower in Dubai, Portland's greenest retrofit, and a veritable jungle of a high-rise. The four regional winners are: The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Portland, USA (Americas); One Central Park, Sydney, Australia (Asia & Australia); De Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Europe); and Cayan Tower, Dubai, UAE (Middle East & Africa). Portland’s Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building is not a new building. Designed by SOM in 1974, the office tower used a pre-cast concrete façade that had begun to fail by the turn of the 21st century. Bainbridge Island, Washington-based Cutler Anderson Architects and local firm SERA modernized the 18-story, 512,474 square-foot structure that is now targeting LEED Platinum. One Central Park in Sydney uses hydroponics and heliostats to cultivate gardens and green walls throughout the tower, cooling the building and creating the world's tallest vertical garden. OMA’s De Rotterdam is the largest building in the Netherlands, and its form playfully morphs the glassy midcentury office high-rise in a way that’s part homage and part experimental deconstruction. In the Middle East, Dubai’s twisting Cayan Tower (formerly The Infinity Tower) is a 75-story luxury apartment building that turns 90 degrees over its 997-foot ascent. Remarked the CTBUH panel: “happening upon its dancing form in the skyline is like encountering a hula-hooper on a train full of gray flannel suits.” CTBUH will pick an overall “Best Tall Building Worldwide” winner at their 13th Annual Awards on November 6, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Their panel of judges includes Jeanne Gang, OMA’s David Gianotten, Laing O’Rourke’s David Scott, and Sir Terry Farrell, among others. OMA’s CCTV Tower in Beijing won last year’s competition. Most of the 88 contest entries were from Asia, CTBUH said, continuing that continent’s dominance of global supertall building construction. CTBUH's international conference will take place in Shanghai in September. You can find more about the 2014 CTBUH awards, including a full list of finalists, at their website.
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The World’s Best Tall Building Doesn’t Have to be the Tallest

The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) sought out a deep understanding of sustainability and contextualization in selecting the Best Tall Building of 2011. This year's worldwide winner, while hardly as tall as last year's winning Burj Khalifa, went to the KfW Westarkade tower in Frankfurt Germany. The 184-foot-tall tower is projected to use half as much energy as a typical European office building and only a third the energy of a standard U.S. building. The 10th-annual awards ceremony took place November 3 at a distinctly horizontal building in Chicago, Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall. Designed by Sauerbruch Hutton, the KfW Westarkade stood above its contenders by its contextual approach to knitting together Frankfurt's urban fabric. With a colorful sawtooth glass skin, the tower curves around an irregular site. “Whereas many buildings use color as a way to mask an otherwise unremarkable building, here it contributes an additional rich layer to what is already a remarkable building,” said Peter Murray, one member of the jury. The tower was also awarded the Best Tall Building in Europe. Frank Gehry's curvilinear Eight Spruce Street in New York—the tallest residential building in North America—was named the Best Tall Building in the Americas for its iconic undulating skin that offers each unit a bay window overlooking Lower Manhattan. The jury appreciated the building's unique form as well as the investment it represents in a previously overlooked part of Manhattan. “As we design for a sustainable future, we desperately need a new definition of beauty that goes beyond skin deep,” said awards chair Rick Cook of Cook+Fox Architects in a statement. “Already being touted as one of the most energy-efficient office buildings in the world, KfW Westarkade stands out as a shining example of a truly environmentally-responsible project. The building has been carefully integrated into its context, forming relationships with its neighboring buildings, streets and parkland, while simultaneously standing out through the playful use of color. Whereas many buildings use color as a way to mask an otherwise unremarkable building, here it contributes an additional rich layer to what is already a remarkable building. Germany already has a strong reputation for achieving natural ventilation in tall office buildings, and Westarkade can now be added most positively to that list.” The Best Tall Building in Asia & Australia was awarded to the China's Guangzhou International Finance Center, designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects. At 1,444 feet tall, the tower is easily the tallest of this year's winners and incorporates a tapering design and the world's largest diagrid system to help reduce the bulk of the tower and provide for an aerodynamic form. At night, the diagonal bracing is expressed with lights. Dubai's 1,070-foot Index tower by Foster+Partners was named Best Tall Building in the Middle East & Africa. The Index's use of shaded pools at its base to create micro-climates at the buildings entrances stood out. “The Index presents a new environmental icon for the Middle East, showcasing important passive strategies of orientation, core placement and shading,” said juror Werner Sobek. In addition to the four top tall buildings, Adrian Smith, principal at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, and Dr. Akira Wada, an expert in seismic design, were both awarded lifetime achievement awards for their contributions to tall architecture.
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Spire Revival

First reported in the Chicago Tribune, and today in the Wall Street Journal, officials at a group of union pension funds are vetting a plan to lend $170 million to restart construction on the stalled Chicago Spire. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the 150 story residential tower would be the tallest building in the US. The Journal piece points out that with a drastic drop off in condo construction downtown predicted for 2010 and 2011, the completion of the Spire could actually come at a time when there is pent up demand for housing. Blair Kamin previously pointed out that unions have made similar loans in previous downturns, notably providing loans for the construction of Marina City. According to the Journal, Chicago's failure to win the 2016 Olympics may have been the key to giving the Spire new life. The pensions had previously been looking to lend funds for the construction of the planned Olympic Village.