Symposium Synopsis

As many urbanists and visionaries have shown over a period spanning more than a century, the recreation of the urban realm in the sky through connections between buildings at height has a vast potential for the enrichment of our cities. To many, it seems nonsensical that, although the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have clearly seen a push towards greater height and urban density in our major urban centers, the ground level remains largely the only physical connective plane. As the world rapidly populates and urbanizes, greater thought needs to be expended on how horizontal space can be created at height.

Today, new transportation technologies, and relatively new structural engineering practices, put significant horizontal urban habitat in the sky within reach. But cultural, organizational, and jurisdictional obstacles remain. To overcome these, a solid case needs to be made for the extensive benefits of skybridges and skyplanes in a much wider application than has been seen historically.

Functional public connections at height have the potential to drastically alter the dynamics of urban life, and would bring into question fundamental urban planning mechanisms that we currently rely on. Therefore, the effort to bring skybridges into reality is aligned with a much wider effort to reimagine how we build cities – taking us away from flat, two-dimensional to holistic, three-dimensional urban planning, and embracing all aspects of design, construction and operation. This topic thus embraces a wide cross-section of disciplines and stakeholders, who must work collaboratively toward the collective benefit of urban inhabitants and cities of the future.

The 2018 Skybridges Symposium, organized by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in conjunction with thyssenkrupp, will comprise a significant, stand-alone two-day program incorporated into the CTBUH 2018 Polycentric Cities Conference, taking place in the host city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The symposium will hear from the top thinkers and companies at the cutting-edge of this important topic. Through explorations of new technologies, examinations of real-world case studies, and views to future applications of skybridge concepts, this event will represent a watershed moment that promotes and catalyzes innovation in the tall building industry.

Please join us in Dubai for this landmark occasion!

Header Image: Tencent Seafront Towers. Learn more about this building on The Skyscraper Center

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Jean Nouvel
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Santiago Calatrava
Founder, Santiago Calatrava Architects & Engineers
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Rem Koolhaas
Founding Partner, OMA
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Karl Fender
Director, Fender Katsalidis Architects
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Adrian Smith
Partner, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
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Winy Maas
Co-Founding Director, MVRDV
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Irvine Sellar
Founder, Sellar Property Group
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