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CTBUH 2013 Tall Buildings Conference: Height & Heritage

Tuesday 07 May 2013

Exclusive video interviews: Height & Heritage

CTBUH 2013 Tall Buildings Conference: Height & Heritage by CTBUH
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Exclusive interviews with 15 speakers for this year's CTBUH Tall Buildings Conference 

Fifteen architects, engineers and industry experts dropped into the Groucho Club in London last week to talk to World Architecture News about building tall. WAN hosted this pre-event session in preparation for this year's Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Conference in London this June.  Click here to secure your place at this prestigious annual event.

Question: What will you be speaking about at the CTBUH June 2013 London conference?

Stephan Reinke (Steering Committee)
Kamran Moazami, WSP (Speaker)
Peter Rees, City of London (Speaker)

PR: Building tall is the last resort and is why we have created a cluster of towers. London has succeeded in building office clusters. London has been the victim of gangster cash in building tall residential developments that will never been lived in...

KM: How to collaborate with the designers is key and we face many challenges in London building tall

Question: Tell us about your involvement with the CTBUH June 2013 London conference?

Steve Watts, CTBUH Trustee (Conference Co-Chair)
Peter Barbalov, Farrells (Speaker Representative)
David Glover AECOM (Speaker)

SW: It is the first time that the conference is in London since 2001...we have an incredible array of tall buildings that are changing the skyline. We are expecting at least 800 people to the conference in June.

DG: Understanding the economics of building tall in a historic city: London is a great example of that. Designers have come up with some fantastic innovations to deliver those buildings and those innovations have started to challenge the classic tall building design. They are more efficient and have better net to gross, etc.

PB: How a building sits within the context of the city is very important to us. The Shard is a classic example of this, being built over a transport hub. The world's best professionals in this field will be at this conference. The city is ripe for this. We've got some great buildings being built...we are going to see some fantastic things.

Question: Should London be building office towers when the south of England is so short of housing?

Vince Ugarow, Hilson Moran (Steering Committee)
Albert Williamson-Taylor, AKT (Steering Committee)
Tanya de Hoog, Thornton Tomasetti (Steering Committee)

VU: It's all about location..it is appropriate to have commercial office towers in the heart/city of London

AW-T: We need to look beyond how we deal with residential and commercial building..and I think there needs to be a change in the planning process approach

TdH: We need to be able to adapt our buildings...it is cyclical...it's about balance. Do we try to design for max adaptability? Or do we accept that that is too difficult. I believe we should design them holistically. It is quite difficult to do that in tall buildings.

Question: Tell us more about the challenges for building tall in a historical city?

Chris Wilkinson, Wilkinson Eyre Architects (Speaker)
Kent Jackson, SOM (Steering Committee)
Lee Polisano, PLP (Speaker)

CW: My experience is in China and there it is much easier to design and construct a tall building...the planning process is much more straight forward...there's a desire to get on with things. Over here the design goes through more refinement so it takes longer.

KJ: It's great to see so much happening, we came here on the back of Canary Wharf.

LP: We don't really build tall here in relation to other parts of the world. Planning here makes a big big difference, it takes a very long time. Planning creates the value. We don't know how tall we can go until the system is finished.

Question: What do you think are the innovations and future for building tall in a historical city?

David Scott, Laing O'Rourke (Speaker)
Harry Handelsman, Manhattan Loft Corporation (Speaker)
Neil Squibbs, Buro Happold (Steering Committee)

DS: We have been looking at 50-storey pre-fabricated buildings. This process enables us to minimise carbon content of the elements that we are producing, putting them together on site to build quickly and to avoid disruption to the local community.

NS: Energy use might have been a primary issue but more important now is the buildings' embodied energy. How do we build with much lower levels of embodied energy.

Interviews by Caroline Stephens, filming by James Forryan


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