Gehry beats Kuwait tower to win skyscraper award

Gehry beats Kuwait tower to win skyscraper award

8 Spruce Street in New York by Gehry Partners has won the 2011 Emporis Skyscraper Award, beating second place Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait by SOM.

The winners were chosen from over 220 skyscrapers completed in 2011.

Gehry’s 265m-tall design won over the jury with its magnificent undulating stainless steel facade.

Commenting on the choice, the jury said: “8 Spruce Street stands out even in Manhattan’s already remarkable skyline. It is a major new architectural landmark for New York.”

The sculptured form of SOM’s Al Hamra Tower earned it second place in the ranking. Despite its great height, the skyscraper fits harmoniously into Kuwait City’s urban landscape.

The tower is engineered to take account of climate conditions: the south facade, with limestone elements cladding a concrete wall, protects the building from the searing desert sun and impressed the jury from both architectural and functional points of view.

Third place went to another Middle East project, DBI Design’s Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi.

The jury praising the complex as a particularly harmonious ensemble of buildings. Critical to the decision were the soft, curving contours of the towers: these suggest the shape of sails and are intended to evoke Abu Dhabi’s history as a port.

It also also singled out the exceptional facade of silver and blue glass.

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