Top Prize picks the Cocoon skyscraper, in Tokyo, as 2008’s best.

Move over, Het Strijkijzer. There’s a new darling of the high-rise set. Tokyo’s Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower has just been named the skyscraper of the year by Emporis, a German-based Web site that compiles data on very tall buildings. The Gherkin-esque tower, designed by Kenzo Tange Associates, bested Seoul’s Boutique Monaco (Mass Studies; void-pocked mixed-use block) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (Kohn Pedersen Fox; giant bottle-cap opener) to join such past winners as Calatrava’s Turning Torso, Norman Foster’s Hearst Building, and the aforementioned Het Strijkijzer, a Flatiron look-alike in The Hague. The 668-foot-tall Cocoon is one of a pair of skyscrapers that Tange designed for Mode Gakuen, a trade school in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward.

Given the rosy outlook for global architecture and real estate, we can safely predict that next year’s winner will be a two-story Home Depot on the New Jersey Turnpike.

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