The world’s most renowned architecture prize for skyscrapers, the Emporis Skyscraper Award, goes this year to the Absolute World Towers in Mississauga, Ont. (Bravo Canada!) The two towers were selected by an international jury of experts from over 300 skyscrapers at least 100 metres tall completed last year. The award, given by Emporis (emporis.com), the international provider of building data, is being presented for the 13th time this year.

Absolute World Towers, which form part of a five-building complex and were designed by the architectural practices MAD and Burka Architects, won over the jury primarily through their unmistakable design. “The way the two structures twist organically by up to eight degrees per floor is not just a superb technical achievement, but also a refreshing change to the set forms of high-rise routine,” say the panel of experts in explaining the choice of the pair of towers, 176 and 158 metres tall, as the winner.

The second-placed project is Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi, UAE, designed by Aedas Architects. Due to its innovative facade, the skyscraper complex convinces in terms of both climate and design criteria. The outer skin of the facades is rotated by computer in response to the sun’s position, leading to a substantial reduction in thermal energy inside the buildings. In designing the towers, the architects drew inspiration from Arab mashrabiya windows – sun and privacy screens found in traditional Islamic architecture.

The expert jury voted Burj Qatar, a 238-metre tall skyscraper in Doha, Qatar, into third place. Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, it is the building’s exceptional facade design that stands out. The metal mesh facade, whose design – as with Al Bahr Towers – draws on traditional mashrabiya windows and is intended to contribute to protection from the sun, reveals a complex pattern at close quarters. The imposing effect of the ornamental facade reaches its full expression under the dome that tops the cylinder-shaped skyscraper.

Absolute World Towers winning the Emporis Skyscraper Award means this now the second time the prize has gone to Canada. In 2001, Vancouver’s One Wall Centre claimed the coveted top spot. Surprisingly, the U.S.A. – the cradle of high-rise architecture – does not feature this year. Instead, major international cities such as Moscow, Istanbul or Guangzhou stake their claim to their own chapter in the history of outstanding skyscraper architecture with an impressive array of unique buildings.

Link to the Emporis website: www.emporis.com