There's A Meeting for That

Tall Buildings

Yes, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats (CTBUH) is the official arbitrator of the world’s tallest buildings. But the organization is interested in more than size.

Illustration by Carmen Segovia.

“How a tall building is measured is basically the height relative to the context of where it’s at,” said Jessica Rinkel, CTBUH’s events manager and leader coordinator. “It could be the tallest building in an area that has no tall buildings…. It’s not just about the height, it’s also about the proportion.”

Which is why the theme of CTBUH’s 2014 International Conference was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism” — emphasizing the importance of properly locating high-rises, skyscrapers, and other tall buildings within urban environments.


The Grand Hyatt Shanghai was more than a venue — it was part of the program. The 555-room hotel is situated on floors 53 through 87 of the 88-story, 1,380-foot-high Jin Mao Tower, which until 2007 was the tallest building in China. There were also technical tours of the current tallest building in China (the 101-story, 1,614-foot-high Shanghai World Financial Center) as well as the soon-to-be-tallest building in China and second-tallest building in the world (the 121-story, 2,073-foot-high Shanghai Tower, opening to the public next year).


CTBUH’s membership — and attendee base — includes building owners, developers, financiers, contractors, architects, engineers, and urban planners. “Basically,” Rinkel said, “everyone involved in the skyscraper realm and in tall buildings in relation to urban habitat.”


With more than a thousand attendees, this was CTBUH’s biggest International Conference ever — surmounting its previous high of 850 attendees in 2012, also in Shanghai. “Our London conference, which was in 2013, had 700 [attendees], but that was based on the venue that we had it in and the capacity we were allowed,” Rinkel said. “We were able to max out our space [at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai], so it was our most successful to date.”

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats International Conference
Sep. 16–19, 2014
Grand Hyatt Shanghai

Attendees: 1,017

Exhibitors: 35

Poster Sessions Included:
› ‘Vertical Public Realms: Creating Urban Spaces in the Sky’
› ‘Elevators: Continuity and Enrichment of Architectural Experience’
› ‘Interactions Between Residential and Office Towers in Melbourne’
› ‘100MW of Clean Energy in a Supertall Design’

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.