Feb 07 2012
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According to the newly appointed chair of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, "We are now in unprecedented times of globalization, where communication is without borders, and innovation thrives when diverse minds collaborate on solving the issues at hand."
Appointed at the council's conference at a 'passing of the chairman's gavel' ceremony in Seoul last month, Johnson is design partner and leader of international commercial design for NBBJ.
His most recent work includes the world's 10th tallest residential building, Sail at Singapore's Marina Bay, and the Massachusetts General Hospital's Lunder Building in Boston, which officially opened in June 2011.
Succeeding Professor Sang Dae Kim, the self confessed "tall building junkie" will hold the position until 2013 and Johnson has a clear plan for the duration of his leadership.
Already a world-wide body, Johnson intends to build on the strength of the council's country chapters, to unify its approach and identity and "define expectations" by establishing a taskforce to research successful models that will allow the council to expand.
Continuing the international approach, particularly in the Far East where Johnson says it is likely the majority of the next decade's tall buildings will be built, the council will also oversee both the China Congress 2012 and Singapore Congress 2012, with Johnson already proposing a 2013 CTBUH conference in Singapore.
Johnson's next step will be to formulate a tall building performance initiative to "advance the council's mission and clearly define its 'north star'."
Outlined as a three point programme, the initiative will enhance dialogue, target research and award innovation.
"Two years goes by very fast, however, over the next decade I do see that high rise buildings will need to continue to increase in their performance in all aspects - reduce energy consumption, create power, be safer, more secure, and ultimately better and better places to live work and conduct life," he says.
This is all in addition to the wider goal to increase membership and harvest knowledge to advance the development of tall buildings, which he says will play a "tremendous role" in the future of sustainable cities.
"The CTBUH is a source of information dissemination, dialogue, and collaboration of a diverse membership of professionals passionate about tall buildings," he explains.
"This creates synergies and possibilities for invention and innovation in high rise design and construction, further development of cities, and creating a more sustainable human condition."
Naming his project de jour as China's under construction Pear River Tower, by SOM, Johnson looks poised to continue the new era of sustainability, currently sweeping through the industry.
"Even though we are building taller than ever, tall buildings are still in their infancy in terms of innovation," he is quoted as saying in his two year plan.
"Tall buildings in an urban environment are a holistic sustainable strategy. Building owners are demanding higher performance solutions and asking for proof of concept. There are many opportunities for this building type to innovate and create more relevant and sustainable solutions.
"The council can and should be the forum for these innovations to be discussed and formulated," he continues, further adding non-for profit organisations need to be more focussed than ever.
Despite only recently assuming the role of Chair, Johnson's experience on the council is extensive, having previously served as trustee, advisory group member, awards chair, awards committee member and editorial board member for the CTBUH Journal since 2008.
Outside the council, his award-winning work spans the globe and includes commercial mixed-use projects, multi-family residential, healthcare facilities, transportation facilities, and corporate workplace interiors.
Perhaps Johnson's most important initiative over the next five years, will be the implementation of his "strategic" five year plan, clarifying the council's purpose and focusing on research.
"There is much to do in this regard, in many ways tall buildings are still in their infancy of development and have a bright future ahead," he adds.
"At our April 2011 Board of Trustees meeting in New York City I outlined a strategic planning process for beginning the dialogue to create a strong plan," he says, adding that by early 2012 a published plan designed to "guide us" will be in please.
"Participating in the council as a Trustee has illustrated a number of times the stresses of a growing organisation and I believe a strategic plan could be a fundamental road map for making many decisions and assuring the council is focused on the right areas and with the right resources, to serve our membership now and into the future," he continues.
"The Council, although over 40 years in the making, is just entering its 'unruly teen years' with a lot of great ambition and energy. Our membership is the largest, most diverse, and most global than any time in our history and to clearly define our vision, mission, and values is an important step to assure we are of greatest benefit to our membership.
"In addition, the Council aspires to help formulate and discover the future of tall buildings and the urban habitat and that is just getting off the ground. And finally, I will work tirelessly to encourage those involved in tall buildings in cities to join our band and add to the amazing knowledge and passion of the organization," Johnson concludes.Career highlightsProfessional Affiliations:
American Institute of Architects
The Architectural League of New York
Urban Land Institute
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat - Board of Trustees; Awards Chairman 2006, 2007, 2008
Asia Design Forum - Board of DirectorsEducation
Master of Science, Advanced Architectural Design, 1992, Columbia University
Bachelor of Architecture, 1990, University of MinnesotaCertifications
Registered Architect: CT, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC
National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB)
LEED Accredited ProfessionalAwards
AIA New York, Building Type Award, MGH, April 2009.
AIA South Carolina, Design Award, MUSC Ashley River Tower, March 2009.
MIPIM Asia Award, The Sail @ Marina Bay, Best Residential Development and Participants' Choice Award, 2008.
Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, 2001.Publications / Lectures
4th Annual Ultra High-rise Building Summit 2011, "Urban Environments," Shanghai, China, March 2011.
Asia Design Forum's Design Roulette Dialogue, "Hangzhou Sports Center and Parametric Design," Singapore, Dec. 2010.
Architecture & Design Conference, "Beyond the Icon: The Business Strategy behind The Sail @ Marina Bay," Hong Kong, May 2009.
ULI Young Leadership Group, "Design in a Time of Change," Tokyo, May 2009.
CTBUH Moscow, "Designing Vital Urban Environments," October 2008.
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