by Amber

World’s Best Tall Building

The incredible vertical gardens, indoor gardens, and super green sustainability designed into the mixed-use building at One Central Park in downtown Sydney received a multiple nods from the global skyscraper critics and their peers this week. The development was named Best Tall Building Worldwide 2014 by the Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Even without the gardens on the exterior walls, the grounds and inside many areas of the buildings, the buildings are beautiful, but 35,000 plants that have about a year to grow enhance it’s attractiveness. The judges were blown away at the use of sustainable and highly green features engineered into the project, trumping the 88 other buildings around the globe that were considered for the award.

We wrote about the planned construction of One Central Park last September when a flurry of new vertical garden activity on towering urban structures hit the news wire. The architectural renderings of what the buildings reclaiming the site of an old brewery were lovely, and surprisingly very much like what exists on that spot today. No doubt once the plants have had another year to mature and gain density, it will be hard to distinguish from reality to the concept images.

CTBUH, a US organization based in Chicago, had never seen anything like it, which isn’t really surprising. Architects and developers in other areas of the world are far more forward thinking than those in the US, though this will probably give them all a wake up call. Acting on it though will depend on the price tag, because as cheap as possible reigns in the States.

The glass building holds 38-floors of shopping and apartments, and features over 12,000 square feet of vertical gardens planted with some 35,000 plants from over 250 Australian native species left CTBUH executive director, Anthony Wood, in awe.

“There have been major advances in the incorporation of greenery in high-rise buildings over the past few years – but nothing on the scale of this building has been attempted or achieved. One Central Park strongly points the way forward, not only for an essential naturalization of our built environment, but for a new aesthetic for our cities – an aesthetic entirely appropriate to the environmental challenges of our age.”

The awards ceremony attracts a global audience who attend to see the presentations of the finalist entries. One Central Park claimed best for the Asia – Australia region also, a true feather in the cap of designer and Nobel Prize winner Jean Nouvel, as well as the rest of the team responsible for it’s engineering and features. The firm was represented by partner Bertram Beissel, who addressed the industry members gathered during his presentation with the following insight:

“This project was about the visibility of sustainable design. If we do all these sustainable things, and no one can see them, do they really exist? The choices we make for a sustainable future cannot be made in the future. They must be made today.”

Though the jury is the only vote that counts in naming the winners, the 500 peers in the audience voted secretly via text message. After the winning projects are announced, this separate vote is revealed. Attendees elected One Central Park too as the best tall building project in the world.

Get a better look at the vertical gardens as seen from the street in the video below:

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The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.