I thought that Emporis had written me off and removed me from its contact list. For a few years, this world authority on construction projects based in Hamburg, Germany, had sent me updates about architectural innovations around the world. I always looked forward to them and to its annual Emporis Skyscraper Award. Since the year 2000 a jury of architecture experts has judged nominated buildings and given this award to the best new design somewhere in the world. Sergius Kirsch from Emporis’ Public Relations wrote me to announce the winners of the 2019 competition for the skyscraper of the year.
The #1 2019 winner is a Russian project in St. Petersburg, the Lakhta Center. This is the first Russian win in Emporis’ 20 year history and the tallest building in Russia. Designed by Gorproject and RMJM, the 1,515 feet of high-rise Lakhta is also the tallest building in Europe and the 14th tallest building in the world. More than 700 skyscrapers were entered in the 2019 competition for the Emporis award, and the Lakhta Center was chosen for its “unusual form”, 5 wings that rotate almost 90 degrees. Gazprom, the Russian natural gas producer, is a resident of Lakhta. Considering where it is, this building had to be designed to withstand extreme temperatures and it does. Seen just above this paragraph, the Lakhta Center is the star of this photo that I downloaded free from an Emporis website.
The #2 winner, was Beijing, China’s Leeza SOHO seen just above in a free photo also from Emporis. This office building with a round shape was one of Zaha Hadid’s last projects before she died in 2016. It won second place on the strength of its innovative atrium, the highest in the world that insures an abundance of interior light.
The #3 selection is one of 3 designs in the United States to place among the top 10 winners. It’s 35 Hudson Yards in New York City, the tallest residential building in this massive project that has received a lot of publicity. The other 2 US designs are in Chicago and Miami and can be seen on Emporis’ website. They are called The Paragon and One Thousand Museum.
I enjoyed looking at Emporis’s past winners. I was pleased to note that Hadid won the #2 prize in 2017 for the Generali Tower in Milan, Italy. Looking for my favorite US architect Jeanne Gang, chief architect of 100 Kingshighway in St. Louis and seen at the top of this essay, I was again pleased to learn that she won #1 in 2009 for Chicago’s Aqua and that The Shard in London won #1 in 2013.