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US conspicuous by absence in tall buildings awards


The Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, are nicknamed the "Marilyn Monroe" buildings for their curves. They are 56 stories tall.

 The most interesting, beautiful, modern skyscrapers in the world are … not in the U.S.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat have named their “Best Tall Buildings for 2012” this week and the four regional winners are  the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada (Americas); 1 Bligh Street, Sydney (Asia and Australia); Palazzo Lombardia, Milan (Europe); and Doha Tower/BurjQatar, Doha (Middle East and Africa).

The CTBUH noted that a record number of buildings 656 feet (about 40 stories or 200 meters if you’re metrically inclined) or higher were built worldwide last year with another 96 planned for 2012.

The company also gave an innovation award to the Al Bahar Towers in the United Arab Emirates, noting its façade that opens and shuts based on the position of the sun.

“The winners display remarkable creativity, as well as a respect for the environment, connection with place, and the urban surroundings,” said Richard Cook, awards committee chairman, in a press release from the organization. The awards are judged by a panel of industry executives.

The overall winner for the “Best Tall Building Worldwide” will be named at the CTBUH 11th Annual Awards Ceremony Institute of Technology in Chicago on October 18.

H.G. Esch

The elliptical design of Bligh Street in Sydney, Australia, solved some issues for a difficult site. The tower is 28 stories tall.

Courtesy Ateliers Jean Nouvel

The Doha Tower in Doha, Qatar, has a facade of patterns that invoke ancient Islamic screens that help add shade. It is 46 stories tall.


The Palazzo Lombardia in Milan, Italy, turned a government office complex into a public space. It is 40 stories tall.