The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced the winner of its annual award for best tall building worldwide: the David Rubenstein Forum at the University of Chicago. Winners were also announced in five regional categories, five height categories, categories focused on engineering and other functional categories. (A complete list of categories and winners appears below.)  

“With the United Nations projecting nearly 70 percent urbanization by 2050, the demand is growing for healthier, more sustainable, and socially just urban environments—tall buildings and other smart, resilient approaches to population density are an integral part of the solution,” said CTBUH CEO Javier Quintana de Una. “The projects selected for our yearly Award of Excellence competition represent the most advanced concepts and technologies currently employed around the world, and the David Rubenstein Forum in particular exemplifies the diversity of interdisciplinary ingenuity required to address the complex needs of students, workers, communities and the public in general.”

Located on the Midway Plaisance, a relic of the popular 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the ten-story David Rubenstein Forum similarly serves a wide range of users with a design of stacked and rotated “neighborhoods,” oriented toward the university’s campus in Hyde Park and the city of Chicago to the north, as well as the nearby Woodlawn community and others further south. A fulcrum point in the tower’s massing—the stitch line—balances the opposing north and south cantilevers to create a self-supporting structure much like a seesaw, allowing large cantilevers with a minimal amount of concrete. The 40-foot cantilever—one of the longest spanning concrete cantilevers in the city—at the north entrance of the building welcomes visitors and affords ample space to congregate before and after events. The building’s flexible spaces accommodate formal and informal gatherings, as well as much needed multipurpose meeting spaces for workshops, symposia, lectures and other community events.

“The David Rubenstein Forum is an intellectual destination for an engaged and diverse range of scholars, leaders and community members at and around the University of Chicago, who convene to discuss issues and solutions to great challenges facing the world. Its design fundamentally rethinks and improves the traditional conference center by creating contemplative and collision spaces that foster the creation and exchange of ideas,” explained University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos. “Its design shifts to relate visually and tangibly to communities to the south and north of the city.”

The LEED-Gold certified David Rubenstein Forum also establishes a strong connection to the natural environment. For example, the building integrates bird-safe technology in its glass façade, green roofs, rain gardens and landscaping that incorporates native flora. Additionally, the building was designed to bring large amounts of natural light into all meeting rooms, thereby cutting down on energy costs. And it uses energy efficient conditioning systems that achieve indoor comfort levels primarily via passive radiant technology, significantly mitigating its carbon footprint.

“It is no longer enough to simply build tall,” added Quintana de Una. “We must approach density in ways that are meaningful, creative, innovative, carbon neutral and affordable. Only then can we support balanced and healthy living, working and civic and social engagement. The David Rubenstein Forum, and all of this year’s Award of Excellence winners, demonstrate that it is possible to consider the built environment—transportation, public and cultural institutions, green spaces, commercial enterprises, and other crucial infrastructure—holistically and adapt it broadly and equitably for positive, sustainable outcomes.”

Submissions for CTBUH’s annual Award of Excellence competition were solicited widely last year. Representatives for each project presented to multidisciplinary juries assembled at the organization’s annual conference, held November 9–12, in Chicago. Juries were comprised of CTBUH members from across the globe with expertise in architecture, engineering, construction and other diverse disciplines. Overall category winners were then selected and conferred at an award ceremony and dinner. For more information on the CTBUH Award of Excellence, including the full slate of competitors and jury members by category, please visit

2022 CTBUH Award of Excellence Winners:

  • Best Tall Building Worldwide: David Rubenstein Forum, Chicago, United States 
  • Best Tall Building Americas: David Rubenstein Forum, Chicago, United States 
  • Best Tall Building Asia: Qingdao Hai Tian Center, China 
  • Best Tall Building Australia: Collins Arch, Melbourne, Australia 
  • Best Tall Building Europe: One Crown Place South, London, UK 
  • Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa: Azrieli Town Tower, Tel Aviv, Israel 
  • Best Tall Building Under 100 Meters: David Rubenstein Forum, Chicago, United States 
  • Best Tall Building 100–199 Meters: Olderfleet, Melbourne, Australia 
  • Best Tall Building 200–299 Meters: One Dalton Street, Boston, United States 
  • Best Tall Building 300–399 Meters: The St. Regis Chicago, United States 
  • Best Tall Building 400 Meters and Above: One Vanderbilt Avenue, New York City, United States 
  • Best Tall Office Building: Trinity, Puteaux, France 
  • Best Tall Residential or Hotel Building: 111 West 57th Street, New York City, United States 
  • Best Tall Mixed-Use Building: Collins Arch, Melbourne, Australia 
  • Best Tall Non-Building: CopenHill, Copenhagen, Denmark 
  • Urban Habitat, Single-Site Scale: OōEli, Hangzhou, China 
  • Urban Habitat, District/Master Plan Scale: Wesley Place, Melbourne, Australia 
  • Innovation Award: Hydroskin 
  • Renovation Award: 55 Southbank, Melbourne, Australia 
  • Construction Award: Sydney Greenland Centre, Australia 
  • Structural Engineering Award: Ten Degrees Croydon, London, UK 
  • Systems Award: Trlllple, Austria, Vienna 
  • Geotechnical Engineering Award: 18 Robinson, Singapore 
  • Façade Engineering Award: Arlozorov 17, Tel Aviv, Israel 
  • Life Safety Design Award: Mjøstrånet, Brumunddal, Norway 
  • 10-Year Award: De Karel Doorman, Rotterdam Netherlands