The International Beautiful Tall Buildings Challenge

Winners announced!

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Worldwide, a growing proportion of residential development is in tall buildings.

However, designing beautiful tall buildings is challenging. The combination of structural limitations and vertical repetition often leads to tall buildings not being as successful aesthetically as other built forms. Tall buildings are also frequently subject to objections from the community, who point out concerns about their aesthetics and rigidity.

We are looking to learn from great real-life examples of beautiful tall buildings.

Is there a tall residential building that makes you pause and take a longer look? Take a photo or snap a screenshot from Google Street View and enter it into our competition for a chance to win CAD $500.

The intent of this competition is to build a catalogue of well-designed tall buildings that look great in real-life (and not just in artist impressions!) from across the world.


Beirut Terraces | 1st Prize

Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Submitted by: Igor Dragovic
Google Street View is not available in Beirut, but you can learn about the building by clicking on the name above.

128 W Cordova St, Vancouver | 2nd Prize

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Architect: Henriquez Partners Architects
Submitted by: Jamie Harte

1 St. Thomas | 3rd Prize

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Submitted by: Marian Mendoza

We were looking for design approaches that could be applied to regular residential projects and help guide the design of the large number of tall buildings being built every year.

Submission Criteria:

  1. Include a snip from Google Street View or a similar service, or a photo. Professional photography will not be accepted. You can add a second photo if you want to highlight some details.
  2. Write 50-200 words explaining why the design looks great.

Fill out the (short) form.

Applicants are encouraged to submit more than one entry.

Building Selection Criteria

  1. The building exists.
  2. It is residential in urban context.
  3. Height is approximately or generally between 20 to 50 storeys.
  4. If the units in the building have outdoor space (like balconies), it is an advantage.
  5. The design is not so expensive that it cannot be used in regular projects (we don’t ask to know the construction cost – we just want to avoid designs that cannot be reused)

The deadline for this competition was April 14, 2023. We announced the winners on our social media pages on May 23, 2023. The prize for 1st place was $500 CAD, 2nd place was $200 CAD, and 3rd place is $100 CAD. All winners received their prize.

Enter the competition by sending the image and the filled form to The competition is anonymous, and no name or identifying feature is to be included in the form or image.

Meet the Jury:

James Parakh

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

CTBUH Advisory Group Member

City of Toronto Planning Department, Urban Design Manager

Manuela Belova

Sofia, Bulgaria

Architecture by Belova, Founder

Ivan Ip

 Sydney, Australia

Ethos Urban, Associate Director, Designer

Naama Blonder

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Smart Density, Co-Founder

The competition is open to entrants over 18 years of age. By entering the competition, you confirm that you are eligible to do so and that you are eligible to receive any prizes that may be awarded to you.
The competition sponsor, and third parties will be entitled to publish the entries in media such as magazines and websites.
If for any reason this Contest is, in the Contest Sponsor’s sole discretion, not capable of running as planned, the Contest Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to modify these Rules and/or to modify or suspend all or any part of the Contest. Contest Sponsor further reserves the right to cancel or terminate this Contest at any time for any reason. Contest Sponsor reserves the right to select entrants to be eligible to win a Prize(s) from among all eligible entries received up to the time of any such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. 
Limitation of Liability
The Contest Sponsor accepts no liability for any damage, loss, injury, or disappointment suffered by any entrants as a result of participating in the competition or being selected for a prize.
The Contest Sponsor reserves the right, at any time and without prior notice, to cancel the competition or amend these terms and conditions.