One World Trade Center Among Emporis Skyscraper Award Winners

An inside look at some of the winners of the world’s most renowned architecture prize for skyscrapers, including America's tallest building.
Photo credit: Royce Douglas

Photo credit: Royce Douglas

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

New York City’s One World Trade Center was among the Top Ten winners of this year’s Emporis Skyscraper Award, the world’s most renowned architecture prize for skyscrapers.

The project took fourth place in the 15-year-old competition, with projects chosen by an international panel of experts. More than 300 skyscrapers of at least 100 meters height completed during the previous calendar year were considered.

Soaring above the city at 1,776 feet, One World Trade Center is now America’s tallest building. Designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 2.6-million-square-foot building includes office space, an observation deck, world-class restaurants, and broadcast and antennae facilities.

“The tower is an open, welcoming building that both radiates light and is filled with light,” Childs told Commercial Property Executive. “Our design team has achieved our goal of creating a great urban place—a building that serves the people who work in it, welcomes those who visit it, and plays an integral and vibrant role in the city that surrounds it.”


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The building includes an expansive public lobby topped by a series of mechanical floors, comprising the base level. Above that are 69 office floors, including two television broadcast floors, mechanical floors and two restaurants. On top of that sits an observation deck and a glass-metal parapet with the crown of the project being a communications platform and a 408-foot, cable-stayed spire, designed in collaboration with artist Kenneth Snelson.

“Everybody had this notion that this building would be a fortress—like a bunker—but I think the building is looking very open, approachable and democratic,” T.J. Gottesdiener, an architect and managing partner of SOM, told CPE. “It has an amazing amount of security in the building but you can go up to it and not think of it as daunting and appreciate its architecture and its statement about resiliency and moving forward.”

Taking the top spot in the Emporis competition was the building complex Wangjing SOHO in Beijing, which consists of three unique skyscrapers with heights of 118 meters, 127 meters and 200 meters and noteworthy for its excellent energy efficiency and distinctive design. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the buildings.

Bosco Verticale in Milan, Italy took second, praised for its green architecture. Designed by Boeri Studio, the facade and balconies of the two towers are covered with more than 700 trees and 90 different species of plants, which help to reduce smog and attenuate noise, while simultaneously producing oxygen and controlling the temperature inside the towers.

Tour D2 in Courbevoie, France finished in third place, and the Leadenhall Building in London, came in fifth. The only other U.S. building in the top 10 was New York’s One57, designed by Atelier Christian de Portzamparc.