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Keynote Presenter - General Session


Dr. Antony Wood

Chief Executive Officer
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Dr. Antony Wood has been Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat since 2006, responsible for the day-to-day running of the Council and steering in conjunction with the Board of Trustees, of which he is an ex-officio member. Prior to this, he was CTBUH Vice-Chairman for Europe and Head of Research. His tenure has seen a revitalization of the CTBUH and an increase in output and initiatives across all areas.

Based at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Antony is also a Research Professor in the College of Architecture at IIT, and a visiting professor of tall buildings at Tongji University Shanghai. A UK architect by training, his field of speciality is the design, and in particular the sustainable design, of tall buildings. Prior to joining the Council and IIT, Antony was an Associate Professor/Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Nottingham in the UK from 2001–2006, where he ran the third and fifth year programs respectively, and was an active member of various research teams. The design research output of his various academic collaborations can be seen here; at the Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Nottingham. Whilst at Nottingham, he also founded the Tall Buildings Teaching and Research Group.

Prior to becoming an academic, Antony worked as an architect in practice in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and the UK, between 1991–2001. It was during this time that he developed his passion for, and professional background in, tall buildings. Tall Buildings/large projects he has been involved in these countries include the £120 million, 11 No. mixed office/residential tower project of SV City, Bangkok (completed 1995), the £70 million 4 No. 44-story condominia project of Kuningan Persada, Jakarta (1997) and the prestigious £200 million Kuala Lumpur Central International Railway Terminal, Malaysia (completed 2001).

Antony’s PhD explored the multi-disciplinary aspects of skybridge connections between tall buildings. He is associate editor of the CTBUH Journal and serves on the editorial board of several other journals. He is the author of numerous books and papers in the fields of tall buildings, sustainability and related areas. Antony has been Conference Chair and Chair of the Scientific Committee at several CTBUH conferences. He has also presented at numerous conferences, and lectures regularly around the world.

Antony is Chair of the CTBUH Tall Buildings and Sustainability working group, chair of the Expert Peer Review Committee, a member of the CTBUH Height Committee, and a standing member of the CTBUH Awards Jury. He has been principal investigator for numerous funded research projects. He currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois, with his wife and two children.

Keynote Presentation
Vertical Cities of the Future: What is Truly Sustainable?

As city populations grow and the planet as a whole becomes more urban, tall buildings have a responsibility that extends far beyond themselves. A “kinder, gentler” model of skyscraper must be developed, one which can support a wide range of human activity, while also reinforcing the natural context. Although still the exception, in recent years we have seen the development of tall buildings suggestive of this positive future, which complement their environment aesthetically, socially and ecologically, and provide the basis for locally-specific skyscraper vernaculars that can return a “sense of place” to increasingly global cities.

But we must do more. It is not enough to simply enable density. Tall buildings need to form vital connections between layers of the city. Today, the world of urban planning and infrastructure is mostly a two-dimensional, ground-plane-restricted, horizontal proposition, and mostly in the public domain. But it needs to become a three-dimensional world with urban infrastructure that is fully integrated with vertical development. This will enable the multi-dimensional, multilevel vertical cities that are so omnipresent in the popular imagination, and so tantalizingly close to reality today.

In addition to demonstrating examples of existing built work and the concept of integrated vertical urbanism, this presentation charts patterns in urban growth globally, before discussing the future viability of cities around the world. In showcasing theoretical design work from academic studios convened over several years at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the material explores alternative urban futures that embrace density while navigating local environmental conditions across disparate regions.


  1. By examining theoretical design work from academic studios convened over several years at the Illinois Institute of Technology, participants will be able to compare several alternative urban futures across disparate regions that offer different strategies to achieve energy-efficiency and resource-efficiency.

  2. Through a discussion on the scope of responsibility that tall buildings have to support a wide range of human activity as they enable greater urban densities, participants will be able to determine several characteristics that define skyscrapers with aesthetically, socially and ecologically complementary connections to their urban context.

  3. Participants will be able to master key requirements of a three-dimensional city through an exploration of the benefits of accessible skybridge connections, sky spaces and other at-height green spaces and amenities. 

  4. Through a presentation on existing built work and conceptual examples of integrated vertical urbanism, participants will be able to summarize global patterns in urban growth and evaluate the viability and long-term sustainability of cities around the world in terms of resilience to resource shortages and natural disasters.

Educational Advisory Board
AEC Buildtech Agenda