CTBUH International Conference London

London maximised exposure and delegate numbers for the CTBUH, the world’s leading authority on tall buildings

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat wanted to hold a conference to explore a critical challenge facing European cities: how to grow while preserving historical architecture and urban fabric.

CTBUH is the world’s leading authority on tall buildings. The not-for-profit body shares best practice information with members in architecture, engineering, planning, development and construction, representing 730,000 employees worldwide.

The Council's target audience and membership is international, and cities under consideration for the event included Paris, Moscow, and London. Their main objectives were to:

  • maximise delegate numbers, particularly from the host city
  • find venues that brought the event’s key themes to life.

Despite stiff competition, London proved the winning host city. Key factors were the capital’s exciting urban plan — it is building skyscrapers while managing to keep historical landmarks intact — and the choice of expert speakers to be found in London.

Also, the timing couldn’t have been better: the 306m Shard, western Europe’s tallest building, opened in London while an ambitious skyscraper cluster was taking shape in the City.

In addition, CTBUH tested the viability of the conference among its large London membership base, receiving a very positive response.

“With growing cities, you have to handle density issues,” says Patti Thurmond, CTBUH Operations Manager. “You have to either build out or build up. What’s the most sustainable thing to do in a historic setting? Our event gave people the opportunity to see what the issues are and to hear experts speak on the solutions.”

London & Partners were very helpful and accommodating. They were so fabulous taking me around to look at different types of venues to host the conference. They set up meetings and took me to those meetings. They took care of us. Whatever we needed, they were available.

Patti Thurmond, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Operations Manager

The main conference venue, The Brewery is a grade II listed building in the City of London combining old and new: elegant spaces feature exposed brick, vaulted ceilings and copper piping alongside state-of-the-art lighting, PA systems, LED lighting and projection equipment.

The venue perfectly embodied the conference’s theme: “The venue was wonderful,” says Thurmond. “A building with historic connections and a prime example of re-use. We were really able to see the value of coming into London.”

Other highlights included:

  • Neworking receptions at Renzo Piano’s Shard, the tallest building in western Europe, and at 30 St Mary’s Axe, the ‘Gherkin’ designed by Norman Foster
  • Tours of iconic skyscrapers: 20 Fenchurch Street (‘the Walkie Talkie’), Broadgate Tower, Heron Tower, One Canada Square, Tower 42 and the Willis Building
  • Five-star conference dinner at the historic Royal Courts of Justice
  • London-based speakers included Make founder Ken Shuttleworth; Angela Brady, Chair of the Royal Institute of British Architects; Professor Robert Tavernor, London School of Economics, and Simon Thurley, Chief Executive, English Heritage



The conference was a huge success, attracting a near-capacity audience of 738 people. The nation’s interest in tall buildings was fully harnessed, with some 40 per cent of delegates coming from the UK.

The speaker programme drew particular praise. Many speakers were leading practitioners sourced from London and representing international companies.

Thurmond comments: “They are active in the building market right now. We heard from people involved in these tall buildings globally and in London.”

How London & Partners helped


  • Venue search: numerous visits to suitable venues across London
  • Introductions: to professional conference organisers
  • Event support: suggestions for hotels and other associated services

“If I hadn’t had London & Partners, we would have made some mistakes along the way. Without London & Partners it would have taken a lot more time to find these connections myself. I might not have made the right choices.

“They also offered other services; if I had needed other things for my delegates, like tour guides, I would have gone to London & Partners to get the right people."

If you're planning a congress in London, contact  London & Partners today.

My key piece of advice? Start with London & Partners. They were so good in welcoming me to the city, showing me all that it had to offer and making the connections for me.

Patti Thurmond, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Operations Manager