Click a presenter to see a video of their presentation, and the accompanying paper and PowerPoint presentation.
Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Azrieli Group
President & Founder, Moshe Zur Architects and Town Planners
Chairman and CEO, Benchmark
Associate, Herzog & de Meuron Architekten
CEO, Berggruen Residential
Associate Partner, Richard Meier & Partners Architects
Development Director, V&A Waterfront
Group Leader, Heatherwick Studio
The session for Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa explored some of the best that these vast, varied regions have to offer. The Award of Excellence Recipients, which included buildings that nodded to dominant historic architectural styles, such as Bauhaus, or literally embodied a historic building, such as the former grain silo in Cape Town, showed a range of styles and approaches. The complete list includes the striking, stacked Beirut Terraces, and the dynamic Azrieli Sarona.
The session began with Moshe Tzur, President & Founder, Moshe Tzur Architects, and Danna Azrieli, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Azrieli Group, who detailed their process for creating Tel Aviv’s double-skin Azrieli Sarona Tower, which, in tandem with motorized sunshades, is able to save up to 26% on HVAC, while flushing cool air into the building. “We spent hours talking about this layering,” Azrieli said. “It helped us to pursue our goal to be environmentally friendly. But the emotional rationale for pursuing the double skin was that it emphasized the building’s movement. The façade takes on a depth that exponentially and dramatically affects how the building looks.”
Beirut Terraces stands out among the crowd not just for its layered, staggered floor plates, but also because it found a way to nix paradoxes in modern high-rise living by supplementing privacy with an expansive view for each unit, melding indoor space with the outdoors, and folding in organic vegetation on its manmade structure. “We made a design that shapes the future, but is rooted in the past,” said Bassim Halaby, Chairman and CEO, Benchmark, who presented along with Tobias Winkelmann, Associate, Herzog & de Meuron Architekten.
The Rothschild Tower, a 42-story residential tower situated in Tel Aviv’s White City (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), bridges the neighborhood’s history from its high number of Bauhaus buildings, to a modern-influenced aesthetic. In addition, the building’s light coloring helps reduce its visual weight among the lower-rise buildings surrounding it, helping it blend seamlessly into the local fabric. “We wanted to express the optimism, openness, and energy of modern Tel Aviv,” said Reynolds Logan, Associate Partner, Richard Meier & Partners Architects.
The final presentation of the session was led by Mat Cash, Group Leader, Heatherwick Studio, and Mark Noble, Development Director, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, as they walked attendees through the adaptive reuse transformation of a former grain silo into the Zeitz MOCAA--an international museum dedicated to contemporary African art atop which is stacked a luxury hotel. Touching on some of the challenges in bringing this project to fruition, Noble said, “there’s no government-funding, tax breaks or philanthropic culture to support this type of museum in Africa, so we had to create a public institution with a new business model,” he said. “We had ambitions to create the biggest museum ever built on the continent.”
The winner of the 2018 Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa was Zeitz MOCAA.