HIGH SOCIETY. Contemporary Highrise Architecture and The International Highrise Award 2006

19 November 2006 – 11 February 2007
With Accompanying Programme

The International Highrise Award 2006

On November 17, 2006 in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche the French architect Jean Nouvel will receive the 2006 International Highrise Prize for his design for “Torre Agbar“ in Barcelona. Together with Matthias Danne, a member of the Board of Management of DekaBank, Petra Roth, the Lady Mayoress, will present the award. This is the second time since 2004 that the prize, which is worth EUR 50,000, has been presented. The competition is organized by the City of Frankfurt/Main. The International Highrise Prize was donated by DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, the central fund arm of the Sparkassen Financial Group, for a building that stands out for its particular aesthetic appeal, its pioneering design, urban integration, and sustainability as well as innovative technology and economic feasibility.

“Aigües de Barcelona / Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona SA“, the water utilities company that serves the Catalonian metropolis was the developer behind the 142 meter-high “Torre Agbar“. The office block, which was completed in July 2005, serves as the headquarters for the company, which conducts its global operations under the abbreviation “Agbar“.

In addition the international jury chaired by the Stuttgart engineer Werner Sobek highly commended four other entries, all residential highrises. These were the 190 meter-high “Turning Torso“ in Malmö by Santiago Calatrava (Valencia / Zürich), the 106 meter-high “Wienerberg“ residential tower by DELUGAN MEISSL (Vienna), the 152 meter-high “Montevideo“ in Rotterdam by mecanoo architecten b.v. (Delft) and the 100 meter-high “Jian Wai SOHO“ multi-use building in Beijing by the Japanese architects Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop (Yokohama).

The "High Society" exhibition

"High Society", the major highrise exhibition in DAM showcases those buildings commended in the 2006 International Highrise Award. Furthermore, it presents a cross-section of the latest trends in highrise construction worldwide. This exhibition was also made possible through the generous support of DekaBank and, in addition, was sponsored by HochTief Construction AG. After a brief pause following 9/11, highrise construction is now booming all the more strongly. By way of example, in addition to the award winners, the exhibition presents 16, in every sense of the word, outstanding highrises that are set apart not only by means of their height, but also their design, technical innovation, location and use. The particularly buoyant construction boom on the Arabian Peninsula and in Asian countries such as China is especially striking. Buildings with landmark character are emerging that reflect the aspiration to symbolize the economic strength of individual companies or entire regions. New highrise districts are mushrooming rapidly, as evidenced in Beijing and Moscow. Spectacular hotel projects compete not just in terms of height, but also in terms of the most original appearance, by revealing a design theme both on the inside and outside. Stars of the highrise family are positioned in their general surroundings like giant gemstones. Other towers are striking for their frugality and functionality. Other highrises again make an ambitious attempt to meet economic as well as ecological requirements through advances in building technology. The exhibition observes current trends in highrise construction, but also quite deliberately casts a glance at the future. Buildings that have recently been completed are positioned alongside some currently under construction. And designs that will perhaps never become more than a vision also form part of the “High Society“ exhibition. All 21 projects are illustrated by means of plans, photos, visualizations, sketches and films, but primarily models.

The exhibition catalog

The bilingual (German/English) catalog explores the background to highrise construction in four essays. Lalya Dawson investigates why and how business with highrises is booming in China. "Stack to move - dynamic vertical design" is the title of the article by Ellen Klofft and Georg Rombusch. Christina Gräwe analyses the motif of the “twin towers”. Can there be such a thing as an ecological highrise, and what steps are being taken? Volkmar Bleicher probes this question. In addition the catalog features descriptions of all the projects showcased in the exhibition. The approx. 160-page catalog with several color illustrations is edited by Christina Gräwe and Peter Cachola Schmal, published by Jovis Verlag, Berlin and is available in the museum at a price of EUR 22.

Overview of the projects shown in "High Society"

The International Highrise Award 2006:


  • Torre Agbar in Barcelona, Ateliers Jean Nouvel (winner), realized
  • Turning Torso in Malmö, Santiago Calatrava LLC Architects and Engineers (commendation), realized
  • Highrise Wienerberg in Wien, Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (commendation), realized
  • Montevideo in Rotterdam, mecanoo architecten b.v. (commendation), realized
  • Jian Wai SOHO in Peking, Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop (commendation), realized

cross-section projekts:


  • Shanghai World Financial Center in Shanghai, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), under construction
  • Flughafen Tower in Wien, Zechner & Zechner ZT GmbH, realized
  • Opernturm Frankfurt / Main in Frankfurt, Prof. Christoph Mäckler Architekten, construction start January 2007
  • Burj Dubai in Dubai, Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), under construction
  • Federation Tower in Moskau, Planungsgesellschaft Föderationsturm Moskau mbH, Peter P. Schweger ASP Schweger Assoziierte GmbH und Sergei Tchoban, nps tchoban voss Architekten BDA, under construction
  • Flyotel in Palm Jebel Ali, Dubai, Mahmoudieh Design, Berlin und ONL Oosterhuis_Lénárd, realization probably
  • Freedom Tower in New York, Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), construction start April 2006
  • Guangzhou Zhujiang New Town West Tower in Guangzhou, China, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, construction start (Tower 1) 2006
  • Hearst Headquarters in New York, Foster and Partners, realized
  • Iceberg in Doha, Qatar, JSK Dipl. Ing. Architekten, realization probably
  • Jinmen Tower in Tianjin, China, Jo. Franzke Architekten, not going to be realized
  • Ray of the Century in Guangzhou, China, Léon Wohlhage Wernik Architekten GmbH, not going to be realized
  • Shimao International Plaza in Shanghai, Ingenhoven Architekten, completion 2006
  • The Vortex in London, make architects, realization confidential
  • European Central Bank, Frankfurt, Coop Himmelb(l)au Prix & Swicinsky & Dreibolz GmbH, construction start probably beginning 2007
  • Vienna DC Tower 1 und 2 in Wien, DPA Dominique Perrault Architecure, planned

Accompanying Programme

Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 19:00
Hochhausbau und Bionik
Werner Nachtigall
, Saarbruecken

Friday, 8 December 2006, 18:00
Special guided tour
Christina Graewe
, the exhibition's curator
Cost: 9,- Euro incl. 1 glass of prosecco

Friday, 19 January 2007, 18:00
Building the Gherkin
Film by Mirjam von Arx, CH, 2005
Location: Mal seh'n Kino, Adlerflychtstrasse 6

Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 19:00
The smooth skin of the skyscraper snake
Dominique Perrault
, Paris

Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 19:00
Das Hochhaus im Film
Lecture/film by Thomas Tode
, Hamburg

Sunday, 11 February 2007, 18:00 – 21:00
Tagung Hohe Haeuser

Christina Graewe, Arne Winkelmann

Der Hochhaus-Boom in Fernost
Ulf Meyer
, Berlin

Die Planungsgeschichte von Ground Zero
Philippe Schmidt
, Weimar

Hochhausprojekte in Paris
Francis Rambert
, Paris


Cost: 10,- Euro, 5,- reduced
Registration: Deutsches Architekturmuseum
inka.plechaty (at) stadt-frankfurt.de


Herausgeber: © Deutsches Architekturmuseum Frankfurt a.M., Schaumainkai 43, 14.11.2018