The Future of Tall Building Design with Antony Wood

Building Insights Episode 3 13 December 2021

In the third episode of Building Insights, Antony Wood, executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), speaks to the managing editor of Architects’ Datafile, James Parker, about the future of tall building design.

 9/11 was supposed to be a watershed – when our global fascination for building tall towers came to a halt. However the opposite was true, globally the pace of tall buildings construction has increased exponentially in the 21st century. While China has made some interventions in the past few months to limit its race to build tall, the pandemic has only made a slight impact on development, and climate change less still. However, building owners now need to bring workers and residents back to city centres, post-pandemic. As Architects Datafile’s recent survey of architects showed, the emphasis is shifting to more attractive, more sustainable mixed use buildings – which offer spatial qualities not seen before in dense city clusters.

Antony Wood is an architect with a fascinating career, trained in the UK and having designed tall buildings in the far east before returning to the west to head up the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in Chicago. From being enamoured by science fiction and future visions of cities from an early age, he remains a devotee of high-rise density in urban settings. However he has some strong views about the free-for-all planning that has held sway over recent decades in many cities, which has given urban centres a homogenous feel that’s damaged the reputation of tall buildings.

Speaking to Antony gave some great insights into the need to make such designs more context specific, how high-level, horizontally-connected structures might be part of the answer, and whether timber is going to be a key structural material. He also explained how the Council on Tall Buildings is taking this agenda forward globally. With the urbanisation of the global population on an inexorably upward trajectory, architects and planners have to quickly grasp the potential to create the healthy cities of the future we need.]

Thanks to OnLevel, Siderise, Construction Specialities, and Ash & Lacy for sponsoring this episode. 


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