The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
(CTBUH) is an international body in the field of tall buildings and
sustainable urban design. A not-for-profit organization based at the
Institute of Technology in the city of Chicago, Illinois, the CTBUH
announces the title of ‘The World’s Tallest Building’ and is an
authority on the official height of tall buildings.
stated mission is to study and report "on all aspects of the
planning, design, and construction of tall buildings." The Council was
founded at Lehigh
University in 1969,
where its office remained until October 2003, when it moved to the
Institute of Technology in Chicago.
Ranking tall buildings
The CTBUH ranks the height
of buildings using
three different methods:
- 1. Height to architectural top of the building. This is the
main criterion under which the CTBUH ranks the height of buildings.
Heights are measured from the level of the lowest, significant,
open-air, pedestrian entrance to the top of the building, inclusive
of spires but excluding items such as flag poles or antennas.
- 2. To highest occupied floor: Height to
the floor of the highest occupied floor of the building.
- 3. To tip of spire/antenna: Height to the tip of spire,
pinnacle, antenna, mast or flag pole.
A category measuring to the top of the roof
removed from the ranking criteria in November 2009. This is because
flat-topped skyscrapers are not as common in the modern era as
skyscrapers with intricate spire designs and parapet features atop
their roofs, making it more difficult to define a roof on a
The CTBUH maintains an extensive database of the tallest buildings
in the world, organized by various categories. Buildings under
construction are also included, although not ranked until
completion. The CTBUH also produces an annual list of the ten
tallest buildings completed in that particular year. Topping the 2008 list
was the Shanghai World Financial Center in Shanghai, currently the
tallest building in the world to the highest occupied floor and
home to the world's highest observation deck. Second on the 2008
list was the Almas
Tower in Dubai, third was
the Minsheng Bank
Building in Wuhan which stands
at , whilst fourth was The Address Downtown Burj
Dubai ( ).
All in all, six of the ten tallest
buildings completed in 2008 are located in Asia, three in the
Middle East and one in North America.
The CTBUH also hosts annual conferences and a World Congress every
three to five years. The most recent World Congress was held in
Dubai between 3 and 5 March 2008 and was attended by
delegates from 43 countries.
The CTBUH also bestows Tall Building Awards each year, with four
regional awards to the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle
East, and Asia and Australasia. Among these four regional awards,
one is given the "Best Tall Building Award Overall." There are also
two lifetime achievement awards.
In addition to the monthly newsletter and daily updated global news
archive, the CTBUH publishes a tri-annual CTBUH Journal. The
Journal includes peer-reviewed technical papers, in-depth project
case studies, book reviews, interviews with prominent persons in
the tall building industry, and much more.
The CTBUH also publishes guidebooks, reference manuals, and
monographs related to the tall building industry. In 2006 it
published the book 101 of the World’s Tallest Buildings
conjunction with author and CTBUH member Georges Binder, a
reference to 101 of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. It includes
photos, plans, details on architects, engineers and stakeholders,
and comprehensive technical data on each building.
The CTBUH works with institutions of higher-education from around
the world in researching projects related to tall building