The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has named Sydney's One Central Park 2014's Best Tall Building in the World'. 

Designed by French practice Ateliers Jean Nouvel in collaboration with Australian firm PTW, the project was shortlisted for the title after winning the CTBUH's 'Best Tall Building in Asia and Australasia' award earlier in June.

It then competed against three other regional winners - the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building (Americas), De Rotterdam (Dubai), and the Cayan Tower (Middle East & Africa) - and emerged triumphant after impressing the judges with its hydroponic hanging gardens and massive cantilevered mirror that directs sunlight for heating and lighting into or away from the building and its adjoining park when most needed.

According to juror Antony Wood, executive director at CTBUH, seeing the project firsthand stopped him in his tracks. 

"There have been major advances in the incorporation of greenery in high-rise buildings over the past few years - but nothing on the scale of this building has been attempted or achieved. One Central Park strongly points the way forward, not only for an essential naturalization of our built environment, but for a new aesthetic for our cities - an aesthetic entirely appropriate to the environmental challenges of ou age."

Image: Richard Braddish













Images: Simon Wood (L) and John Gollings (R)

One Central Park employs hydroponics and heliostats to grow plants around the periphery of the building at all levels, offering shading, which saves on cooling energy and costs. These initiatives work towards the stance that biomimicry is no longer a radical architecture concept, but a design strategy that should be accepted as the norm.

The development also challenges the perception that tall buildings can only block light and rob the urban environment of natural greenery. Instead, it does just the opposite, strategically casting light about itself to reduce rooftop heat loads and stirring visual interest at height and on the ground, while enshrouding itself in lush greenery. 

Image: Simon Wood

Image: Richard Braddish

Accepting the award in Chicago on behalf of his firm, Atliers Jean Nouvel Partner Bertram Beissel said the project was about increasing the visibility of sustainable design.

“If we do all these sustainable things and no one can see them, do they really exist?” he said. “The choices we make for a sustainable future cannot be made in the future. They must be made today.”

The CTBUH awards, established in 2007, acknowledges projects from around the globe that have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment. This year's jury was led by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, and includes Sir Terry Farrell (Farrells), David Gianotten (OMA), and David Scott (Laing O'Rourke). 

One Central Park has already been recognised by various organisations for its innovative approach to design. It was previously named fifth best skyscraper in the world by Emporis, and Development of the Year by the Urban Taskforce. It is currently in the running against buildings by Rem Koolhaas and Stefano Boeri for the title of world's best highrise at the International Highrise Awards.

You can read more about One Central Park and the Best Tall Building Awards on CTBUH’s website.

Full list of CTBUH Best Tall Buildings Awards winners:

Best Tall Building Worldwide

One Central Park, Sydney, Australia by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and PTW Architects


Winner – Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Portland, USA by Cutler Anderson Architects. Image: Nic Lehoux

Finalist – The Point, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Finalist – United Nations Secretariat Building, New York, USA

Asia & Australasia:

Winner – One Central Park, Sydney, Australia by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and PTW Architects

Finalist – 8 Chifley, Sydney, Australia

Finalist – Abeno Harukas, Osaka, Japan

Finalist – Ardmore Residence, Singapore

Finalist – FKI Tower, Seoul, South Korea

Finalist – Ideo Morph 38, Bangkok, Thailand

Finalist – Sheraton Tai Lake Resort, Huzhou, China

Finalist – The Interlace, Singapore

Finalist – The Jockey Club Innovation Tower, Hong Kong, China

Finalist – Wangjing SOHO, Beijing, China


Winner – De Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands by OMA. Image: Raban Haaijk

Finalist – DC Tower, Vienna, Austria

Finalist – NEO Bankside, London, UK

Middle East & Africa:

Winner – Cayan Tower, Dubai, UAE by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Image: Cayan Group

All images courtesy of CTBUH