The City of Frankfurt has bestowed The International Highrise Award every two years since 2004. It was jointly initiated in 2003 by the City of Frankfurt, Deutsches Architekturmuseum and DekaBank. It has since been organized by Deutsches Architekturmuseum and DekaBank cooperating as partners, and in 2014 will be bestowed for the sixth time. The honor is awarded to a structure that combines exemplary sustainability, external shape and internal spatial quality, not to mention social aspects, to create a model design. The prize, a statuette by the internationally renowned artist Thomas and EUR 50,000 is awarded to the planners and developers jointly.

Prize winner 2016:

The jury of the International Highrise Award 2016 resolved unanimously: the residential highrise VIA 57 West in New York/USA has won the prize, worth EUR 50,000, for the world’s most innovative highrise. Architect Bjarke Ingels (BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group) and the client Douglas Durst (The Durst Organization) received the prize statuette and the prize money at the awards ceremony in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche.

The 136-metre-high hybrid of a classical high-rise and a traditional European perimeter development VIA 57 West (New York/USA), situated right by the Hudson River, rises up in the form of a silver, shimmering tetrahedron. “The project is outstanding in its interpretation of a New York block – this is what makes it really interesting” (chair of the jury, Stefano Boeri). Under its steely roof skin, over 700 apartments are grouped around an interior courtyard with greenery, which serves as a tranquil oasis for spending sociable hours within this industrial neighbourhood with a motorway, a power plant, and a waste processing facility. In addition, the prototype of a “courtscraper” with its “innovative design” (Thomas Schmengler, Jury member) on the western edge of Manhattan offers all residents an unobstructed view of the river, due to its unique shape.

Finalists in 2016:

  • Four World Trade Center, New York
    Architects: Maki & Associates, Tokio\Japan
  • 432 Park Avenue, New York
    Architects: Viñoly, New York NY\USA
  • Sky Habitat, Singapore
    Architects: Safdie Architects, Somerville\USA
  • SkyVille@Dawson, Singapore
    Architects: WOHA Architects, Singapore
  • VIA 57 West, New York
    Architects: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Copenhagen\Denmark

The significant trend in high-rise development, away from office towers towards residential towers, is continued by this year’s finalists. One has to emphasize that it seems “residential is where the innovation is” (Jury member Brigitte Shim). Furthermore this year finalists show that New York City is back in the game of innovative developments in high-rise construction. As jury member Ole Scheeren pointed out: “Asia versus America is an interesting conclusion at this point – they are the defining forces on the map. In Asia you can see the impact of the tropical, climatic and environmental consequences are very well translated into new types of residential high- rises. In New York the finalists all show some way of power-statement.”

The Four World Trade Center (New York/USA) by Maki & Associates is the second new tower, after the 7 World Trade Center, that was completed on Ground Zero after the attacks on 11 September. The office tower blends quietly and unpretentiously into its significant neighbourhood. The glass facade reflects the surroundings so perfectly that the contours of the tower practically dissolve. This effect allows the precious building ground to be used commercially whilst granting due space to this emotional location. “The mirrored façade and the sculptural qualities of this project are executed so outstanding, that there are moments of disappearance when the perspective is changed. This immateriality seems to give an answer to the question: What can you create of nothingness?” (Jury member Ole Scheeren)

Since the completion of the shell construction in October 2014, the slender tower 432 Park Avenue (New York/USA) rises significantly above all other buildings in northern Manhattan. The building by Rafael Viñoly Architects is currently the highest residential high-rise in the world and the third-highest building in the United States. Innovative support structure techniques enable this dizzying height on a relatively small ground plan. With these extremely slender proportions, the project serves as an example of new towers in the densest metropolises in the world. For Jury-Chair Stefano Boeri it is evident that “Viñoly wanted to create a landmark, he wanted to establish a new prototype in high-rise-building. His super slender needle with the astonishing slenderness ratio of 1:15 is the sheer icon of the idea of a high-rise and will definitely be copied all over the world.”

The white residential sculpture SkyHabitat (Singapore) by Safdie Architects consists of two stepped twin towers, connected by means of three sky bridges. Situated in a green park landscape, the building with its open structure is adapted to the requirements of the extreme climate. At the same time, it offers its residents appealing outdoor and communal spaces. The project is therefore a high-quality example of new residential forms in the tropics. For Peter Cachola Schmal, Director of the DAM the project “shows a new and fascinating concept of the vertical city. It is a machine for living, with certain high-class amenities, like balconies for everyone, skygardens, pools etc. for all its middle-class residents. It does take residential housing to a new level.”

SkyVille @ Dawson (Singapore) by WOHA with 960 apartments is an exceptional example of social housing in Singapore. The flexibly designed units on the extremely dense complex are grouped into little “villages” that share various communal spaces. Little communities are formed and solidarity is strengthened. “This is what I like about it: You’re in a high-rise building but they break down the units and you have this sort of a sky village on top of two other sky villages and you are part of a whole, but also part of a smaller unit at the same time”, said Jury member Brigitte Shim. This type of high-rise therefore makes a special contribution to counteracting anonymity in the megacities of our time.

Nominated projects in 2016:

  • Torun Tower, Istanbul, Turkey
    Architects: Arquitectonica, Miami, USA
  • ECB – Euroean Central Bank, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    Architects: Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna, Austria
  • Metro Residences Chatswood, Sydney, Australia
    Architects: Cox Richardson Architects & Planners, Sydney, Australia
  • 50 United Nations Plaza, New York, USA
    Architects: Foster + Partners, London, United Kingdom
  • Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower & World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
    Architects: Foster + Partners, London, United Kingdom
  • South Beach Towers, Singapore
    Architects: Foster + Partners, London, United Kingdom
  • Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China
    Architects: Gensler, San Francisco, USA
  • Bund SOHO, Shanghai, China
    Architects: gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner, Hamburg, Germany
  • d’Leedon, Singapore
    Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects, London, United Kingdom
  • Wangjing SOHO, Peking, China
    Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects, London, United Kingdom
  • VIA 57 West, New York, USA
    Architects: BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • CapitaGreen, Singapore
    Architects: Toyo Ito & Associates, Tokyo, Japan
  • Cosmopolitan Twarda 2/4, Warsaw, Poland
    Architects: JAHN Architecture, Chicago, USA
  • Torre BBVA Bancomer, Mexico City, Mexico
    Architects: Legorreta, Mexico City, Mexico | Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, London, United Kingdom
  • Fake Hills (Part 1), Beihai, China
    Architects: MAD Architects, Beijing, China
  • Allianz Tower, Milan, Italy
    Architects: Andrea Maffei Architects, Milan, Italy | Arata Isozaki & Associates, Tokyo, Japan
  • 4 World Trade Center, New York, USA
    Architects: Maki & Associates, Tokyo, Japan
  • Rothschild Tower, Tel Aviv, Israel
    Architects: Richard Meier & Partners Architects, New York, USA
  • Le Nouvel Ardmore, Singapore
    Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Paris, France
  • Federation Towers, Moscow, Russia
    Architects: nps tchoban voss, Hamburg, Germany | SAA Schweger Associated Architects, Hamburg, Germany
  • Intesa Sanpaolo, Turin, Italy
    Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa, Italy
  • Citygate Tower & Leopold Tower Complex, Vienna, Austria
    Architects: querkraft architekten, Vienna, Austria
  • SkyHabitat, Singapore
    Architects: Safdie Architects, Somerville, USA
  • SkyTerrace @ Dawson, Singapore
    Architects: SCDA Architects, Singapore
  • 1 World Trade Center, New York, USA
    Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merril LLP, Chicago, USA
  • Baccarat Hotel & Residences, New York, USA
    Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merril LLP, Chicago, USA
  • Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza, Nanchang, China
    Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merril LLP, Chicago, USA
  • Abeno Harukas, Osaka, Japan
    Architects: Takenaka Corporation, Osaka, Japan
  • 432 Park Avenue, New York, USA
    Architects: Rafael Viñoly Architects, New York, USA
  • SkyVille @ Dawson, Singapore
    Architects: WOHA Architects, Singapore

Previous prize winners:

  • 2014: „Bosco Verticale“, Milan (78 and 121,5 m), Boeri Studio and client Hines Italia
  • 2012: „1 Blight Street“, Sydney (139 m), co-operation between ingenhoven architects, Düsseldorf, and Architectus, Sydney, and client DEXUS Property
  • 2010: „The Met“, Bangkok (230 m), WOHA Architects, Singapore andclient Pebble Bay, Thailand
  • 2008: “Hearst Building“, New York (182 m), Foster + Partners and client Hearst Corporation
  • 2006: „Torre Agbar“, Barcelona (142 m), Ateliers Jean Nouvel and client Layetana
  • 2004: „De Hoftoren“, Den Haag (144 m), Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (International) PA, London and client ING Vastgoed
Herausgeber: © Deutsches Architekturmuseum Frankfurt a.M., Schaumainkai 43, 22.04.2019