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Marilyn Monroe curves and a massive sun screen: world’s best skyscrapers (pics)

Don’t look down! Tall buildings in Australia, Italy and Qatar are among the winners…

AFRAID OF HEIGHTS? This may not be the story for you then.

A building with ‘sexy curves’, one with climate walls, and a facade that opens and closes in response to the sun – they’re among the features of some of 2012′s best tall buildings.

Towers in Canada, Qatar, Australia and Italy have been named winners in the regional categories, while a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi has won the innovation award.

Marilyn Monroe curves and a massive sun screen: world’s best skyscrapers (pics)
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  • Palazzo Lombardia, Milan, Italy - 161 metres

    Palazzo Lombardia, the first CTBUH award winner from Italy, turns a government office complex into a new public space for Milan. The project, anchored by a 160-meter-tall tower, offers a variety of open spaces and passageways, linking the project to the nearby Pirelli Tower. Sustainability measures include green roofs and active climate walls with vertical blades that rotate to provide shade. The central piazza is covered by a curved, clear ETFE roof, recalling Milan's famous Galleria. (Fernando Guerra) Architect: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
  • Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar - 238 metres

    The distinctive cylindrical form is elegant and efficient, creating a distinctive new landmark for the fast-growing Qatar capital. The façade is constructed of multi-layered patterns invoking ancient Islamic screens designed to shade buildings from the sun. Similar in concept to Mr. Nouvel’s Torre Agbar office building in Barcelona, the Doha tower is the first tall building to use a reinforced concrete dia-grid columns in a cross shape. There is no central core, maximizing the interior space available for tenants. (Courtesy of architect Ateliers Jean Nouvel)
  • 1 Bligh Street, Sydney, Australia - 135 metres

    A difficult site in Sydney’s central business district was transformed by the elliptical tower, which offers tenants several ground-breaking technological advances. The centerpiece is Australia’s tallest naturally ventilated skylit atrium, trimmed in glass and aluminum, which soars the full height of the building. Other innovations include a double-skin, naturally-ventilated glass façade and a hybrid system using gas and solar energy to generate cooling, heating and electricity for the building. (Ingenhoven architects + Architectus / H.G. Esch, Hennef)
  • Al Bahar Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE - 145 metres

    The tower’s innovative dynamic façade opens and closes in response to the movement of the sun, reducing solar gain by more than 50 percent, creating a more comfortable internal environment for occupants and producing a distinctive external aesthetic which helps to define the building as a gateway to the UAE capital. The façade was conceived as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Islamic “mashrabiya”; a popular form of wooden lattice screen found in vernacular Islamic architecture and used as a device for achieving privacy while reducing glare and solar gain. (courtesy of architect Aedas)
  • Absolute Towers, Mississauga, Canada - 179.5 metres

    Dubbed the “Marilyn Monroe” building, due to its sexy curves, Absolute Towers has added a new landmark to the skyline of Mississauga, the fast-growing suburb of Toronto. The architects sought to add to something “naturalistic, delicate and human in contrast to the backdrop of listless, boxy buildings.” The design features smooth, unbroken balconies that wrap each floor of the building. The torsional form of the towers is underpinned with a surprisingly simple and inexpensive structural solution. (©TomArban) Architect: MAD Architects

The awards are being given by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which is an international non-profit organisation. An overall winner for the Best Tall Building Worldwide will be named at the 11th annual CTBUH awards on 18 October in Chicago.

More: World Trade Centre is now New York’s tallest building again>

Mind now: China and India warned over skyscraper boom>

Gallery: The future of skyscrapers>

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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