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MAD Tops Out on Beijing's Chaoyang Park Plaza

MAD Architects has topped out on Chaoyang Park Plaza, a 120-meter-high mixed use development rising in the central business district (CBD) of Beijing on the southern edge of Chaoyang Park, one of the city's largest parks. A product of Ma Yansong’s “Shanshui City” concept, which aims reintroduce nature into the urban realm, the building is designed to "push the boundary of the urbanization process in modern cosmopolitan life by creating a dialogue between artificial scenery and natural landscapes."

UNStudio's Ben van Berkel on Designing High-Rise for Central London

In the latest episode of Monocle's Section D, Josh Fehnert talks to Ben van Berkel, co-founder and principal of Amsterdam-based UNStudio, about London's new Caneletto residential tower. The office, which was founded in 1988, has completed projects around the world ranging from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge to the Mercedes-Benz Museumin Stuttgart. With over 81 built projects, and 54 currently in progress (including Raffles City in Hangzhou and Scotts Tower in Singapore), London’s Canaletto Tower (which is due to be completed in 2015) marks the practice’s first major project in the UK. The tower, located at the confluence of two London districts — Islington and Shoreditch — marks a significant moment for the Dutch practice's œuvre.

Paris Approves Plans to Build Herzog & de Meuron's "Triangle Tower"

Paris has approved its first tower in over 40 years; the city council has agreed to move forward with Herzog & de Meuron's 180-meter-tall "Triangle Tower" - or "Tour Triangle" - after initially rejecting the proposal last year. The controversial plans have been the center of an intense debate since its unveiling in 2008 on whether or not Paris should preserve its 19-century skyline. 

As Gizmodo reports, the Swiss architects sold the tower to the city by claiming its glass facade will "disappear" into the skyline.

“Almost everything the architects say has one message: This building is invisible,” as Foreign Policy pointed out last year. “As if to reinforce this strange duality, the renderings omit Paris’s one true existing skyscraper: the wildly unpopular Tour Montparnasse, built in 1973.”

Goettsch Partners Design 605-Foot "Park Tower" for San Francisco

Goettsch Partners (GP) has been commissioned to design a 605-foot-tall "Park Tower" for San Francisco. Planned to rise in the SOMA district, on the corner of Howard and Beale streets, across from the new Transbay Transit Center, the new building will feature a variety of office space, flanked by a series of outdoor terraces - "mini-parks in the sky," hence the tower's name. 

CTBUH Names World's 4 Best Skyscrapers of 2015

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has shortlisted four buildings for the annual "Best Tall Building Awards." Considered to be the four best skyscrapers of the year, the buildings have been named from each of the four competing regions in the world - Americas; Asia and Australia; Europe; the Middle East and Africa - from nominees representing 33 countries. One of the buildings will be crowned the world's best at a ceremony this November. 

The four top skyscrapers for 2015 are...

AS+GG, Burj Khalifa Architect to Design World's Tallest Commercial Tower

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture has been commissioned by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) to design the world's tallest commercial tower, "Burj 2020." As Emirates 24/7 reports, AS+GG will work with WATG, a "top destination creation consultancy" who's been appointed to envision the Burj 2020 District's masterplan, to realize a "world-class destination" that will "set new levels of efficiency and urban sustainability."

BBC Profiles Zhang Yue: The Man Who Plans to Build the World’s Tallest Building in 7 Months

BBC News has published a profile on the new projects and ambitions of Broad Sustainable Building’s Zhang Yue. A few months ago, Yue became known as the man behind Mini Sky City, a 57-story building that went up in 19 days. Now, Yue wants to further his idea of modular construction to build Sky City, which will be the world’s tallest skyscraper, stretching ten meters taller than the 828 meter-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and take only seven months to complete. In addition to being constructed from prefabricated parts, Sky City will be sustainable and built from steel to help prevent earthquake damage. Construction is expected to begin on the skyscraper in early 2016. Read more about Yue, his company, and their projects in the BBC News article.

Could the Empire State Building Have Been Built with Wood?

Michael Green has teamed up with Finnish forestry company Metsä Wood and Equilibrium Consulting to redesign the Empire State Building with wood as the main material. The project is part of Metsä Wood’s “Plan B” program, which explores what it would be like for iconic buildings to be made of timber. Their work shows that not only can wood be used to produce enormous structures in a dense urban context, but also that timber towers can fit into an urban setting and even mimic recognizable buildings despite differences in material.

Büro Ole Scheeren Unveils the "Future of Vertical Housing" in Vancouver

Büro Ole Scheeren has envisioned a "future vision for vertical living." Designed to serve as an "urban pivot" on one of Vancouver's main avenues, 1500 West Georgia Street, the multifaceted tower features a system of vertically shifted apartment modules and outdoor terraces that branch out horizontally to "engage the space of the city and activate Vancouver's waterfront skyline."

“Vancouver possesses a unique balance of urban conditions surrounded by spectacular nature that provides fertile ground for envisioning new possibilities for future living in a cosmopolitan and environmentally-friendly city” says Ole Scheeren. “The design for this building exemplifies our ambition to reconnect architecture with the natural and civic environment and go beyond the hermetic confines of towers that increasingly inscribe our lives.”

BIG Replaces Foster, Unveils Plans for 2 World Trade Center

BIG has revealed plans for the fourth and final skyscraper planned for the World Trade Center site - the 2 World Trade Center (2 WTC) - confirming rumors that the Danish architect has replaced Norman Foster as the project's architect. 

As announced by WIRED, the controversial take over is the result of James Murdoch's distaste for Foster's decade-old scheme and preference for a more integrated workplace. Though the foundation of Foster's building has already been built, the BIG scheme will now be realized and become the new headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s media companies, 21st Century Fox and News Corp.

Designed as seven unique building stacked on top of each other, the stepped 2 WTC tower will rise 1,340 feet - a height that would make it Manhattan's third-tallest building if built today. 

Watch Bjarke Ingels explain the concept in a video, after the break. 

© DBOX, Courtesy of BIG © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG

The Psychology of Skyscrapers: Is Bigger Always Better?

Nothing is more iconic of progress than the skyscraper - but as developers continue to build up, it begs the question: what effect does higher living have on our mental health? Taking opinions from authors, architects, engineers and residences of high-rise apartments, Fast Company reports on the pros and cons of the vertical obsession of the 21st century. Comparing the liberation offered by the Hancock building and the failure of the Pruitt-Igoe project, the article looks at how living at high altitudes may change the way that we socialize and perceive space. Read the full article, “The Psychology of Skyscrapers,” and decide for yourself whether this trend of growing buildings is a good or bad thing.

MGA Proposes World's Tallest Wood Building in Paris

Michael Green Architecture (MGA) and DVVD has teamed up with REI France developments to propose the world's tallest wood building in Paris. The carbon-neutral proposal, developed as part of the city’s innovative Réinventer Paris competition, aims to alleviate the city's urban housing challenges.

“Our goal is that through innovation, youthful social contact and overall community building, we have created a design that becomes uniquely important to Paris,” said Michael Green, Principal of MGA. “Just as Gustave Eiffel shattered our conception of what was possible a century and a half ago, this project can push the envelope of wood innovation with France in the forefront. The Pershing Site is the perfect moment for Paris to embrace the next era of architecture.” 

Report Offers 10 Recommendations To Curb London's Tall Building Boom

A report released last week aims to highlight the problems involved in high-density housing in London, offering 10 suggestions for how to create future developments that offer density while maintaining the UK capital's distinctive character. Produced as a follow-up to their 2007 report entitled "Superdensity", four UK housing specialists Pollard Thomas Edwards, HTA, Levitt Bernstein and PRP Architects have produced "Superdensity: The Sequel," aiming to address the dramatic changes that have taken place in London development over the intervening 8 years.

Read on for more of the report's aims and its 10 recommendations for future housing in London.

Watch Herzog & de Meuron's 56 Leonard Take Shape in New York

Herzog & de Meuron's 56 Leonard is taking shape in New York. Due to top out this summer, the 60-story condominium has become known as the “Jenga tower” for its cantilevered glass facade. Upon its completion in 2016, the 821 foot-tall (250 meter) Tribeca building will be comprised of 145 residences and will feature a Anish Kapoor sculpture at its base. Check out the Rob Cleary time-lapse above to view the building's progress over the last year. 

An Interactive Look at Japan's Tall Building History

A new research study conducted by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), entitled Tall Buildings in Numbers – Japan: A History of Tall Innovations, examines the evolution of tall buildings in Japan since the 1960s. The study highlights key innovations in Japan’s skyline through a compilation of graphic representations, including a timeline of notable highrises, a scatterplot of towers over 150 meters and annual construction rates, and a comparison of skyscraper density with regional populations.

View the interactive charts after the break.

eVolo's 20 Most Innovative Skyscrapers

In the celebratory spirit of its recent 2015 Skyscraper Competition, eVolo has compiled a list of the contest's most innovative submissions. 20 skyscrapers from 13 countries rose above the rest in terms of their unorthodox forms and imaginative solutions to socio-environmental issues. The avant-garde designs, which range from self-sustaining micro-climates to extensive sky-bound bicycle networks, address the cultural, social, and sustainable contexts of the future through groundbreaking means.

See all 20 innovative skyscrapers after the break.

Floating Waterfront Village: Trees of Life / Yi Wang, Jin Wei. Image Courtesy of eVolo Re2iffel Equalizer Skyscraper / Teemu Holopainen, Tomi Jaskari, Tuomas Vuorinen, Simon Ornberg. Image Courtesy of eVolo A Thousand Splendid Suns / Bart Chompff, James Park. Image Courtesy of eVolo High-Rise Waterfall / Gigih Nalendra, Nadia Vashti Lasrindy, Reza Arya Pahlevi. Image Courtesy of eVolo

Insiders Tip BIG to Redesign Foster + Partners' World Trade Center 2 Tower

A new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that BIG may replace Foster + Partners to realize the World Trade Center 2 (WTC2) tower - the final tower planned to be built on Ground Zero. The 79-story tower, originally designed in 2006, was stalled due to the economic crash of 2008. 

According to the report, 21st Century Fox and News Corp have "tipped" BIG to redesign the tower should they strike an agreement with project backers Silverstein Properties and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to move into the tower. If the deal goes through, the two companies would occupy nearly half of the building - enough to kickstart development. 

Where the Real Skyscrapers Are (Hint: North Dakota)

The Burj Khalifa might get all the headlines today, but for nearly half a century before it was built, some of the tallest structures in the world were actually in North Dakota, in the form of TV masts. In this post originally published by re:form on MediumCasey Tolan investigates the threatened industry that once gave the world some of its most heroic structures.

Name the tallest structures in the world. Maybe flashy skyscrapers in China or the Gulf States come to mind. Or maybe you’re thinking of U.S. icons like One World Trade Center in New York or the Willis Tower in Chicago.

You’re almost certainly not thinking of TV towers. But dozens of nearly anonymous towers around the United States, most in small rural communities, dwarf all but the tallest man-made structures in the world.

© Flickr user Raymond Cunningham The KVLY-TV Tower in North Dakota. Image © Flickr user Raymond Cunningham The locations of all 16 2000-foot-plus TV towers in the USA. Image Courtesy of Medium.com The KVLY-TV Tower in North Dakota. Image © Flickr user Raymond Cunningham