Sustainable earthquake-resistant skyscraper crowned world's best high-rise
Following an international architecture competition hosted by Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), LBR&A Architectos' Torre Reforma has been declared the winner of the International Highrise Award. Chosen from over 1,000 towers built in the past two years, the Mexico City office building was hailed for its innovative earthquake-resistant design.
Torre Reforma, which also came second place in Emporis' Skyscraper Awards last year, is Mexico City's tallest building and rises to a height of 809 ft (246 m). Its unusual design is partly a result of local building regulations which dictate that skyscrapers should be no more than twice as high as the width of the street. If a building does exceed this height, as Torre Reforma does, the upper part must be recessed or tapered.
The tower's floorplan is divided into sections, with each one hosting its own indoor garden. An existing historic house on the site was also retained and integrated into the main lobby.
The building is rated LEED Platinum (a green building standard) for its sustainability and features rainwater and greywater recycling, as well as a focus on natural ventilation. Wind power is used to reduce grid-based electricity requirements, too.
Torre Reforma's walls reach 60 m (196 ft)-deep into the ground. The concrete for the walls was poured very slowly to deliberately create seams between layers, serving as predetermined breaking points and ensuring that the building itself will remain largely unaffected in the event of a massive earthquake. Additionally, its walls incorporate large openings analogous to a car's crumple zone.
The system has already proved effective: during the severe 2017 earthquake in the region, the skyscraper's only "damage" was a handful of superficial and completely harmless cracks in the concrete seams.
"In contrast to the internationally enduring trend toward residential towers as well as ever-larger mixed-use projects in Asia, this year's prize-winner is once again a classic office building," says DAM. "Here, however, it is only the type of usage that is conventional. The prevailing problem of earthquakes in Mexico City calls for an intelligent support structure concept, which lends the 246-meter-high office tower its striking appearance. In doing so Torre Reforma by L. Benjamín Romano places Mexico's capital on the world map of ground-breaking high-rise architecture."
Head to the gallery to see more of Torre Reforma and a selection of runners-up for the International Highrise Award.