Architect who wanted to kill skyscrapers wins tall building award

A decade on from declaring he wanted to kill the skyscraper, architect Rem Koolhaas has accepted an award for the best tall building of the year.

After being presented with the award he said: “My campaign was completely unsuccessful.”

Koolhaas, founding partner of OMA, received the award for Best Tall Building Worldwide from the
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) in Chicago for CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, China.

“When I published my last book, Content, in 2003, one chapter was called ‘Kill the Skyscraper,’” said Koolhaas, in a presentation about the project to CTBUH.


“Basically it was an expression of disappointment at the way the skyscraper typology was used and applied. I didn’t think there was a lot of creative life left in skyscrapers. Therefore, I tried to launch a campaign against the skyscraper in its more uninspired form.

“The fact that I am standing on this stage now, in this position, meant that my declaration of war went completely un-noted and that my campaign was completely unsuccessful.

“Being here, it is quite moving – to be part of a community that is trying to make skyscrapers
more interesting.”

CTBUH said of the building: “The CCTV headquarters is an unusual take on the skyscraper typology. Instead of competing in the race for ultimate height and style through a traditional two-dimensional tower soaring skyward, CCTV’s loop poses  a truly three-dimensional experience, culminating in a 75m cantilever.”