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Report by Jose Alfano, Alfano Architects

Hosted By:
Goettsch Partners


Models by Goettsch Partners on display.

I had the great pleasure of attending the presentations conducted in the Goettsch Partners Host Room on October 26th and 27th. The overarching theme of the presentations – “Tall Building Development Trends” – centered on a number of trends shaping the latest wave of global skyscraper construction with a focus on current commercial office / workplace projects being delivered in Chicago, San Francisco, and Portland, as well as a secondary focus on projects in Asia and the Middle East as exemplified through case studies.

James Goettsch FAIA, Chairman and CEO of Goettsch Partners, complimented his Plenary Presentation with a presentation entitled “Urban Open Space – A Tower in the Park and a Park in a Tower.” This presentation highlighted the importance of high quality urban design, the value of “the Making of Place” at the ground plane of towers, as well as the benefits of creating urban open spaces – “the 5th façade” – adjunct to upper story office floor plates as a key amenity component to productive workplaces.


Scott Seyer, Principal, Goettsch Partners, discusses value propositions in architecture.

Susan See PE LEED AP BD+C, Principal Director of Electrical Engineering for Meyers +Engineers, gave an enlightening presentation on innovation and emerging trends in high performance work places. This comprehensive  presentation posed the challenge of rethinking both the importance of user happiness within the context of activity-based workplaces as well as the design and integrated environmental control system criteria related to workplace productivity.

Gunnar Hubbard FAIA LEED, Fellow Principal and Sustainable Practice Leader for Thornton Tomasetti (TT), provided several case studies showcasing the innovative benefits of TT’s integrated design approach and software platform FORMation – where building envelopes and associated structural systems can be optimized at the early project concept stages and tested to ensure improved design performance outcomes responding to wind, earthquake, structural, and façade engineering.

Mark May, Senior Vice President of The John Buck Company, articulated some of the key investment criteria driving workplace development in the Midwest and West Coast. Of particular interest were the trends responding to “Millennials” and Silicon Valley Venture Capital firms making the move into San Francisco’s central business district

Larry Krueger, Managing Director of Wanxiang America Real Estate Group, through the presentation of numerous case studies, exemplified the growing appetite for significant project investment in the Midwest and West Coast property markets by his firm’s primarily Chinese investors. Meanwhile, former CTBUH Chairman Ron Klemencic, Chairman and CEO of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, presented a lecture titled “Pushing the Limits: The Latest Structural Design Challenges.”

Scott Seyer AIA LEED AP, Principal of Goettsch Partners, gave an in depth presentation on the “Value Proposition” developed through the comprehensive evaluation of economic performance criteria associated with the firm’s current and historical project exemplars. The conclusions of these studies supported the triple bottom line “Value Proposition” as a clear outcome of an evolved understanding of the key project metrics driving investment in tall buildings within the Goettsch Partners’ projects.

Monday, October 26, 2015

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM

Exhibition Viewing

12:45 – 1:45 PM

Lunch Break

1:45 – 3:15 PM

Trends in Repositioning Existing High-Rise Buildings
“Chicago – The Four Corners”
Michael F Kaufman, Partner, Goettsch Partners, Chicago
“Living Building Challenge Retrofit for a High-Rise Building”
Steven Straus, President, Glumac International, Los Angeles

3:15 – 3:45 PM

Coffee Break

3:45 – 5:15 PM

Trends in Sustainability for High-Rise Buildings
“FORMulating High Performance Towers: Envelope Shape, Tectonics and Functionality”
Gunnar Hubbard, Principal and Sustainability Practice Leader, Thornton Tomasetti, Portland
“Global Cyclical Resurgence and Clustering of Office Skyscrapers”
Dr. Sofia Dermisi, Professor of Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington, Seattle
“A High-Performance Workplace in a High-Performing City”
Susie See, Principal and Director of Electrical Engineering,  Meyers+ Engineers, San Francisco

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM

Trends in Global Tall Building Design
“Urban Open Space – A Tower in the Park and a Park in the Tower”
James Goettsch, Chairman and CEO, Goettsch Partners, Chicago
“Pushing the Limits: The Latest Structural Design Challenges”
Ron Klemencic, Chairman and CEO, Magnusson Klemencic Associates / Past CTBUH Chairman, Seattle
“Context, Culture, Capital: What are Tomorrow’s Drivers for Vertical Buildings?”
Paul De Santis, Principal, Goettsch Partners, Chicago

12:45 – 1:45 PM

Lunch Break

1:45 – 3:15 PM

Trends in Global Investment of High-Rise Buildings
“What is Driving Investment in Tall Buildings?”
Mark May, Senior Vice President, The John Buck Company, Chicago
“Tall Building Investment: An Architect’s View”
Scott Seyer, Principal, Goettsch Partners, Chicago
“The Influence of China on Global High-Rise Investments”
Larry Krueger, Managing Director, Wanxiang America Real Estate Group, Chicago