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Four skyscrapers named best buildings in the world

Last updated on: June 18, 2012 13:37 IST

Four skyscrapers named best buildings in the world

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Dramatic towers in Canada, Qatar, Australia and Italy have been named the best tall buildings in the world for 2012 by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the international not-for-profit association.

The four regional winners include the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada (Americas); 1 Bligh Street, Sydney (Asia and Australia); Palazzo Lombardia, Milan (Europe); and Doha Tower/BurjQatar, Doha (Middle East and Africa).

A record number of towers of height greater than 200 meters were completed in 2011 - 88 compared to 32 in 2005, according to CTBUH data. Another 96 are projected to complete this year, with China the biggest builder.

Let's take a look at the four tall buildings honoured by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

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Image: Brad Smith performs a skyjump atop the Sky Tower in Auckland.
Photographs: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

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Absolute World

Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Absolute World is a residential condominium twin tower skyscraper complex in the five tower Absolute City Centre development in Mississauga, Ontario.

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Image: Absolute World.


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The project is being built by Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group. With the first three towers completed (Absolute City Centre 1 and 2 and Absolute Vision), the last two towers (Absolute World 4 and 5) have been topped off.

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The tower twists 209 degrees from the base to the top, making it very similar to Turning Torso in Malmo, Sweden.

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Tags: , Sweden , Malmo

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On November 28, 2006, during the 24th annual Mississauga Urban Design Awards ceremony, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion announced that an international design competition was going to be held for the building of the fourth tower for Absolute World that would be the landmark tower for the development located at the northeast corner of Burnhamthorpe Road and Hurontario Street.

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1 Bligh Street

Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

It is a skyscraper in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The modern style office building is located in the Sydney central business district overlooking Circular Quay, the Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Image: 1 Bligh Street.


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The premium grade office tower was designed by Ingenhoven Architects of Germany and Architectus of Australia. It is an ecologically sustainable development and was awarded six-star green status by the Green Building Council of Australia.

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Green features include a basement sewage plant that recycles 90 per cent of the building waste water, solar panels on the roof and air conditioning by chilled beams.

It is Australia's first major high-rise building with a full double-skin facade with external louvers. These conserve energy, eliminate sky glare and optimise user comfort.

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Tags: , Australia

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The angle of the louvers blades is automatically adjusted depending on their orientation to the sun. A naturally ventilated, full height atrium, on the southern side of the building, maximises natural light to each office level.

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Palazzo Lombardia

Location: Milan, Italy

Palazzo Lombardia is a skyscraper in Milan, Italy, designed to be the Lombardy regional government's new seat. It was once the tallest building in Italy.

The building was designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, the winners of an international design competition in 2004.

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Image: Palazzo Lombardia.


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Palazzo Lombardia, the first CTBUH award winner from Italy, has turned a government office complex into a new public space for Milan.

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The project, anchored by a 160-metre-tall tower, offers a variety of open spaces and passageways, linking the project to the nearby Pirelli Tower.

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Sustainability measures include green roofs and active climate walls with vertical blades that rotate to provide shade. The central piazza is covered by a curved, clear ETFE roof, recalling Milan's famous Galleria.

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Tags: ETFE , Galleria , Milan

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"In a city known for history and fashion, the tower is perfectly attuned to the urban environment. More than simply a tower, the project creates a cohesive blend of parks and commercial space, with an appropriately local flair," said Antony Wood, executive director, CTBUH.

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The sinuous interweaving strands of linear office space buildings, 14 metres in width and seven to nine floors in height, which optimise efficiency and flexibility while giving Palazzo Lombardia its distinctive form, are derived from the intersection of 22 circles comprising 11 identical circular rings.

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Doha Tower

Location: Doha, Qatar

The distinctive cylindrical form is elegant and efficient, creating a distinctive new landmark for the fast-growing Qatar capital. The facade is constructed of multi-layered patterns invoking ancient Islamic screens designed to shade buildings from the sun.

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Image: Doha Tower.

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Similar in concept to Nouvel's Torre Agbar office building in Barcelona, the Doha tower is the first tall building to use a reinforced concrete dia-grid columns in a cross shape. There is no central core, maximising the interior space available for tenants.

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The skin of the building is a beautiful expression of the local culture, connecting this very modern tower with ancient Islamic designs. It also provides a fantastic pattern of light within the building, while efficiently dampening the impacts of the sun's rays, said Richard Cook, awards committee chairman and founding partner of Cook + Fox Architects.

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Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar.

Doha is Qatar's largest city, with over 60 per cent of the nation's population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic centre of the country.

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Tags: Doha , Qatar , Gulf

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The demography of Doha is unusual in that the majority of residents are expatriates, with Qatari nationals forming a minority.

The largest portion of expatriates in Qatar are from South Asian countries, mainly Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, with large amounts of expatriates also coming from the Levant Arab countries, North Africa, and East Asia.

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Doha is also home to expatriates from Germany, the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, France, South Africa, and Australia as well as many other countries from all over the world.

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In the past, expatriates in Qatar were not allowed to own land. However, now people who are not Qatari citizens can buy land in several areas of Doha, including the West Bay Lagoon, the Qatar Pearl and the new Lusail City.

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Due to the high influx of expatriates, the Qatari housing market saw a shortage of supply which led to a rise in prices and increased inflation.

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The gap in the housing market between supply and demand has narrowed, however, and property prices have fallen in some areas following a period which saw rents triple in some areas.

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Much of Qatar's oil and natural gas wealth is visible in Doha, which is the economic centre of Qatar. Doha is home to the headquarters of the country's largest oil and gas companies, including Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and RasGas.




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