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Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat - CTBUH 2019 International Student Design Competition

CTBUH 2019 International Student Tall Building Design Competition

CTBUH 2019 International Student Tall Building Design Competition

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International Student Tall Building Design Competition

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is now accepting submissions for its 8th International Student Tall Building Design Competition – culminating with the top finalists presenting in real time for winning distinctions at the CTBUH 2019 World Congress to be held in Chicago, from 28 October to 2 November 2019. This year’s competition is kindly sponsored by Tetra Tech.

The age of the tall building as a single iconic piece of sculpture, standing in isolation from its surroundings, is coming to an end. Designers have a responsibility to ensure that these permanent urban structures engender a future-oriented urban response to the greatest challenges of our time: unprecedented population growth; mass urbanization; climate change; environmental degradation; social, political and economic change; and the rapid advance of myriad technical innovations.

The future of humanity on this planet relies on the collective benefits of urban density; reducing both land consumption and the energy needed to construct and operate the horizontally dispersed city. Tall buildings must now be the vehicles for creating increased density not just through sheer height, but by connecting multiple layers of the city. Physical urban infrastructure, circulation, greenery, and urban functions traditionally restricted to the ground level would all, ideally, continue up and into the building, such that the buildings themselves become an extension of the city: a part of the two-dimensional horizontal urban plane flipped vertically.

Participants are free to site their projects anywhere in the world. But this is not to undervalue the importance of site – participants should carefully consider their site (which must be a “real” site, in an existing urban location) as the site context should inherently have significant influence over the project’s design. Participants are also free to determine the size, height, function, accommodation, and responsibilities of the building. The intention is these freedoms on site and program will maximize the diversity and creativity of the responses. It is also intended to allow students from specific high-rise educational studies around the world during the 2018–19 academic year to submit their projects for consideration.

Participants should engage with the exploration and resolution of the synergistic relationship between a tall building and its urban setting; how that tall building can be inspired by the cultural, physical, and environmental aspects of its site; how the program of the building is influenced by the micro and macro site/urban conditions; and how the building responds to global issues. Proposals should show evidence of a clear understanding of how considerations of structure, environment, servicing, etc. are as vital to the success of a tall building as the form, materials, aesthetics, etc.

Participants need to also consider the CTBUH Criteria for defining tall buildings, such that “at least 50% of its height is occupied by usable floor area,” (i.e., proposals should be functional “buildings” not simply an observation, communication, or other towers).

CTBUH 2019 International Student Tall Building Design CompetitionParticipation Requirements for CTBUH 2019

■ The competition is open to all students who are registered at the University level. For recently graduated students: you must have been a registered student during the Fall 2018 term, i.e., August–December 2018 or later.
■ Entries to the CTBUH competition must be original works by the students and can not have been submitted to any previous design competition. Students may work under the guidance of a faculty adviser if they so choose.
■ The official language of the competition is English.
■ Participation in this competition is anonymous. You will be issued a registration number which will serve as the only means of identification during the entire judging process.
■ Contact between participants and members of the jury is prohibited.
■ Five “Finalists” will be selected to present their schemes at the CTBUH 2019 Conference. Participation in the Conference and presentation to the jury are required as a condition of being awarded “Finalist” status and receiving the award (a travel stipend is provided for one representative per team, see below). Finalist teams that do not attend will be ineligible for prizes.
■ Copyright and intellectual rights of the submissions remain with the original authors. Successful participants in the
CTBUH Student Design Competition agree to allow the CTBUH to display their work in printed format at the CTBUH 2019 Conference Oct. 28st-Nov. 2nd.

Display images and a text description of their work on the CTBUH website at, and use an image of their work in promotional material for future CTBUH competitions.


First Place: US$6,000 – US$3,000 cash + stipend to attend CTBUH 2019 Conference (up to US$3,000 value*)
Second Place: US$5,000 – US$2,000 cash + stipend to attend CTBUH 2019 Conference (up to US$3,000 value*)
Third Place: US$4,000 – US$1,000 cash + stipend to attend CTBUH 2019 Conference (up to US$3,000 value*)
Fourth Place: US$3,000 – Stipend to attend CTBUH 2019 Conference (up to US$3,000 value*)
Fifth Place: US$3,000 – Stipend to attend CTBUH 2019 Conference (up to US$3,000 value*)
Honorable Mentions – A select number of entries will be recognized as Honorable Mentions and awarded with a certificate separate to the Conference.
Exhibition: A poster exhibition of the five “Finalists” and a selected number of “Semi-finalist” entries will be exhibited during the CTBUH 2019 Conference

Key Dates

■ Thursday, March 21st – Competition formally launched
■ Monday, July 15th – Registration deadline
■ Monday, July 22nd – Submission deadline
■ Friday, August 9th – Short-listed “Semi-finalists” notified
■ Friday, August 30th – Top-five “Finalists” notified
■ Tuesday–Wednesday, October 29th–30th – CTBUH 2019 Conference, Top-five Finalists will present to the jury in
Chicago. Winners will be announced during the conference.


■All university students are invited to participate in the design competition. Multidisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.
■ Teams can be made up of one to five individuals.
■ Only one single project can be submitted by any one individual/team.
■ Students cannot participate in more than one team.
■If a team chooses to work under the guidance of a faculty advisor, they must provide his/her name when registering. While students cannot participate on more than one team, a faculty member is eligible to advise multiple teams.
■ Participants must register online at by July 15, 2019.
■ All team members must submit proof of student status when they register. A scanned copy of a student ID or form of verification for each member of the team must be uploaded to the registration site in order to successfully complete the registration.
■After your registration and student status has been approved, the CTBUH will issue you a unique registration number which will be necessary for the final submission.
■ There are no registration fees. Participation in the CTBUH Competition is free.