By Blair Kamin www.featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com
Nobody really takes “world’s best skyscraper” lists very seriously, except, perhaps, those who put them together and the developers who trumpet them to sell square footage.
One is the Burj Khalifa, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and its former partner Adrian Smith, which came in second. The other is the Legacy at Millennium Park, by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, which finished sixth. Both were completed in 2010, the year in which buildings had to be finished to be considered for the list.
Number one and the winner of the Emporis Skyscraper Award for 2010 is the Hotel Porta Fira in Barcelona (above), a mere 370 feet tall compared to the Burj Khalifa’s 2,716 feet. Its designers are Toyo Ito & Associates and b720 Fermin Vazquez Architectos. The hotel’s colorful, boldly sculpted facade consists of red aluminum tubes. Unlike a traditional setback skyscraper, its floor plates get bigger as it rises.
The winners were chosen from more than 300 skyscrapers around the world. In a news release, Emporis said of the hotel: “The jury valued the building’s aesthetics and integration into its urban environment over humankind’s fascination with building the tallest structure.”
The Burj Khalifa, the release said, was “especially heralded for its technical achievements.”
Last year, Chicago’s Aqua Tower, by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, was named the world’s best skyscraper for 2009 while the Trump International Hotel & Tower, by SOM and Smith, finished fifth.
The Emporis Skyscraper Award has been given since 2000 and recognizes excellence in aesthetic and functional design. It is given annually to a building at least 100 meters tall that was completed within the award year. Emporis editors from around the world make nominations for the prize and select the winners.
Here’s more information about the Hotel Porta Fira, from designboom.com, which gets credit for the photo of the building above.
For a complete list of the Emporis Top 10 Skyscrapers of 2010, click here.