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Towering above the rest

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Leeds Metropolitan’s tower building Broadcasting Place has been voted ‘The Best Tall Building in the World 2010’ by Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats Awards (CTBUH).
The CTBUH issues the Tall Building Awards electing buildings around the world recognizing excellence in design and construction.
After being elected “Best Tall Building in Europe” in June, the rust-coloured steel tower on Woodhouse Lane was shortlisted for the world award together with the best tallest buildings from three other world regions including Middle East/Africa, Asia/Australasia and North/South America.
Broadcasting Place was praised by the CTBUH jury for “showing a respect for the scale and grain of the surrounding listed buildings” and because the “changing angular geometry and shear gusto of cladding simply blew the judges away during deliberations.”
The 23-story Leeds tower, designed by Sterling Prize-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley was completed in 2009. At 70m, Broadcasting Place is a low skyscraper compared to its competitors.
It beat off Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 828m and current holder of the ‘New Tall Building Global Icon’ Award.
The other buildings awarded by the CTBUH was the  Pinnacle at Duxton in Singapore at 163 m and the 366m Bank of America tower in New York.
Alex Whitbread, Partner and Architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios said: “To win this award against such a remarkable shortlist is both an honour and a coup for everyone involved in the project. This is a testament to the collaboration between Downing, Leeds Metropolitan University and the overall design team to create a major new academic focus and significant new piece of city and skyline.”
“We hope that Broadcasting Place shows that it is possible to build bold contemporary architecture in sensitive contexts and that tall buildings can both complement and contrast successfully with their surroundings.”
“I was born and brought up in Leeds and it makes me very proud that we have been able to contribute to the architectural legacy of the city.”
The £50 million building is owned by student accommodation developer Downing and is pre-let by Leeds Metropolitan University. It houses the faculty of Art, Environment & Technology, 240 student residences and a Baptist church.
Leeds Metropolitan University Director of Estates, Sue Holmes, comments: “We are thrilled that Broadcasting Place has won this prestigious international award.  Leeds as a city has taken this building to its heart and the building is home to students and staff from out Arts, Environment and Technology Faculty and provides a fantastic learning  and working environment. Many of our students also choose to live in the tower which has some wonderful views over the city as well as providing an inspirational addition to the skyline.”
The CTBUH award is not the first official critical appraise of Broadcasting Place. Earlier this year, Broadcasting Place has also received an award for architectural excellence from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). As a city landmark, the building was praised as “truly iconic”. It also won the title “Best Commercial Development 2010” at the Yorkshire Property Awards. Broadcasting Place was also voted third place in Leeds’ favourite Building Shortlist by the people of Leeds themselves at the 2009 Leeds Architecture Awards.
Despite the awards, Broadcasting place does not hold the same position in all the hearts of Leeds’ inhabitants. The tower has been subject to lively debates about its excellence with The Independent calling the building “freakish.”
Certainly the object of widely differing opinions, the word on the street is that the building is on the “Love to hate” list among students.

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