Winner of the International Highrise Award 2020

Twin Tower 'Norra Tornen' in Stockholm wins the International Highrise Award 2020

The final of the International Highrise Award (IHP) 2020 has been decided: The winner of the competition for the world’s most innovative high-rise is the ‘Norra Tornen’ twin towers project in Stockholm/Sweden designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in Rotterdam.
The prize comes with 50,000 euros and a statuette created by internationally renowned artist Thomas Demand.

Foto: © Anders Bobert

The Norra Tornen twin towers, the "northern towers", are located at the transition from Vasastaden, a district with residential developments mainly from the 1930s, to the newly emerging district of Hagastaden and create a gate situation to the left and right of the arterial road Torsgatan. A gate formed by two high-rise buildings is a motive traditionally used in Stockholm's cityscape to mark important points.
In the immediate vicinity of the Karolinska Institute, which annually determines the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Hagastaden is currently Stockholm's largest urban development area comprising 96 hectares, about three times the size of the famous old town. By 2030, around 50,000 workplaces and 6,000 new apartments are to be created here, 3,000 on the Stockholm side and 3,000 in the subdistrict of Solna. Norra Tornen is therefore not only situated at the transition of two districts but also of two municipalities, without this being noticeable on the spot.
Norra Tornen marks the transition to the new district and clearly represents a contemporary and sustainable vision for the city. At the same time, the towers are able to incorporate Stockholm's older architectural structure in their color scheme
and rising shape. This mediation between the old and the new is one of the great design strengths of the project.
The sheltered balconies and the cube-like modules alternate in a regular pattern and form a brutalist game of deception. The ribbed structure and coloration of the precast concrete elements were analyzed in many tests. Some versions envisaged uncolored concrete or a manually chipped, rough and jagged rib surface in the style of the design models of 1960s brutalism such as Paul Rudolph's Art + Architecture Building at Yale University in New Haven. With the soft brown of the implemented solution, the façade blends in perfectly with Stockholm's earthy color range, which includes all shades from beige to red.


The "Norra Tornen" have an energy-efficient sandwich façade with 23 cm thick thermal insulation and triple-glazed windows without transoms and mullions to avoid thermal bridges. A natural ventilation of the living spaces is achieved by ventilation elements in the façade panels. Further technical building equipment such as a heat recovery system, heat exchangers in each apartment or commercial unit and the connection to the district cooling system contribute to the sustainability of the towers. The grey water produced is also used for various purposes. The good connection to public transport is an important part of the design of the building ensemble.

The 2020 finalists at a glance:

The jury selected five buildings, three from Europe and two from Asia, from a total of 31 nominated high-rise buildings from 14 countries.

The International Highrise Award is aimed at architects and developers whose buildings are at least 100 meters high and have been completed in the past two years. The jury consists of architects, structural engineers, real-estate experts and architecture critics. It judges the nominated projects according to the following criteria: future-oriented design, functionality, innovative building technology, integration into urban development schemes, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness.

The 2020 IHA jury:

Chair of the international jury determining the outcome of the 2020 International Highrise Award is Anett-Maud Joppien (Architect / Dietz Joppien Architekten AG in Frankfurt/Potsdam).

The other members of the jury are:

  • Klaus Fäth (Civil Engineer / osd – office for structural design, Frankfurt/Hamburg)
  • Dr. Ina Hartwig (Head of Cultural Affairs of the City of Frankfurt/Main)
  • Andreas Moser (Architect / ma cyrus | moser | architekten, Frankfurt/Main)
  • L. Benjamín Romano (Architekt / LBR&A Arquitectos, Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Peter Cachola Schmal (Director / Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurr/Main)
  • Victor Stoltenburg (Managing Director / Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH, Frankfurt/Main)

Consultants without voting rights:

  • Horst Muth (Graduate Engineer/ Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH, Frankfurt/Main)
  • Rudi Scheuermann (Architect and Civil Engineer, Arup Deutschland GmbH, Frankfurt/Main)

Committed to architecture since 2004

The International Highrise Award was jointly initiated in 2003 by the City of Frankfurt, Deutsches Architekturmuseum and DekaBank. Since then, it has been organized and financed in partnership and cooperation between Deutsches Architekturmuseum and DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale
Previous recipients of the IHA:
2018 „Torre Reforma“ in Mexiko City (Mexico), BR&A Arquitectos as architects and developer.
2016 VIA 57 West“ in New York City (USA), BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and The Durst Organization as the developer.
2014 Bosco Verticale“ in Milan (Italy), Boeri Studio and Hines Italia as the developer.
2012 1 Blight Street” in Sydney (Australia), a cooperation between ingenhoven architects in Düsseldorf and Architectus in Sydney with DEXUS Property Group; DEXUS Wholesale Property Fund, Cbus Property as the developers.
2010 The Met” in Bangkok (Thailand), WOHA in Singapore and Pebble Bay, Thailand as the developer.
2008 Hearst Building” in New York (USA), Foster + Partners and Hearst Corporation as the developer.
2006 Torre Agbar” in Barcelona (Spain), Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Layetana as the developer.
2004 De Hoftoren” in The Hague (The Netherlands), Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (International) PA, London and ING Vastgoed as the developer.

Further information: