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Prestigious skyscraper award goes to high-rise in Russia for the first time

Tim Gibson

13 November 2020


THE winners of the prestigious Emporis Skyscraper Award were announced on 10 November 2020 - with the top prize going to a Russian high-rise for the first time in the award's 20 year history.

The award is one of the world’s most renowned prizes for high-rise architecture. Each year a jury of experts recognises the top ten skyscrapers that were completed the previous year, with buildings judged on their aesthetic and functional design.

Previous winners have included the Lotte World Tower, Shanghai Tower and The Shard.

Above and Below: This year's winner is the striking Lakhta Centre, the world's 14th tallest building (images courtesy of Mark Freeth and  Monoklon).

This year’s winner is the 462-metre Lakhta Centre in St Petersburg - Russia and Europe's new tallest building. 

In a press release, the jury noted the skyscraper’s unusual twisting form, giving the impression of a blazing flame on the St Petersburg skyline.

The tower gained further points for its environmentally friendly design and use of energy efficient technologies.

As the northernmost supertall building in the world, the skyscraper faces unique challenges from extreme cold temperatures.

The tower’s double skin facade traps heat, while its innovative use of infrared radiators feeds excess heat back into the building’s system.

Above: Second place winner Leeza SOHO (image courtesy of Hufton + Crow). Below: Third place winner 35 Hudson Yards (image courtesy of Dave Burk).

Second place went to the Leeza SOHO building in Beijing; twisting dual towers that rise either side of a metro line, joined by the world's largest atrium.

The skyscraper was one of the last projects to be personally designed by Zaha Hadid before her death in 2016.

Third place went to Hudson Yards' tallest residential skyscraper - a 72-storey building whose unique facade is made of Bavarian limestone and glass.

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the construction industry, looking ahead there will be far fewer skyscrapers eligible for the 2020 Awards. Many projects projected to be completed this year have instead been pushed back to 2021, or further.


A recent study has found that more construction projects have been cancelled than started in the United States this year. While New York City alone has lost 19,500 construction jobs.

The industry is also facing a massive shortage of equipment, with 42 percent of American firms listing the shortage as the main reason for delays.

Construction sectors around the world are having to create unique solutions the crisis, with many turning to their governments to fast-track approvals for major projects.

France and China have invested heavily in constructing new infrastructure, while Australia is moving ahead with the country’s tallest skyscraper.


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