Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) has released a conceptual masterplan for Egypt's new capital city following its unveiling at the Egyptian Economic Development Conference. The 700-square-kilometer "Capital Cairo" hopes stimulate Egypt's ailing economy and alleviate Cairo's rising population density, while adhering to the cultural and climatic conditions of its site.
To honor what would have been Netsch's 95th birthday, SOM recently republished an interview between Netsch and architecture theorist and writer Detlef Mertins, which had originally been published in 2001 in SOM Journal 1. In the following extract from this interview, Netsch discusses the story of how he developed the design, and what it was like to participate in one of America's most influential practices among a host of strong characters.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Broadgate Exchange House (1990) in London has been announced as the 2015 recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ 25-Year Award. The first UK project to ever win the award, the ten-story Exchange House was commended for “standing the test of time” with its “simple yet ingenious structural system that unifies design and function in the mid-century Modernist tradition.”
The first tenant has moved into the One World Trade Center, making Monday, November 3, the official opening of the (arguably) tallest building in the Western hemisphere 13 years after the tragedy of 9/11. The “extraordinary moment was passed in the most ordinary of ways,” described the New York Times, as employees of Conde Nast entered into the white marble lobby (taken from the same quarry that produced marble for the original twin towers) and headed straight to the elevators to start their work day.
To celebrate its completion, renowned architectural photographers Iwan Baan and James Ewing took it to the sky to capture the One World Trade Center in all its glory. The images, after the break.
Inside the Wood Pavilion at this year's AIA Convention, we had the chance to chat with Benton Johnson of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) about SOM’s research on using wood for highrise buildings. Although wood is a sustainable and efficient material, it hasn’t entered the world of skyscraper construction yet. However, through their Timber Tower Research Project, SOM has come up with a structural system for skyscrapers that uses mass timber as the main structural material and consequently minimizes the building’s carbon footprint.
“Architects should focus on using wood for these types of structures because we do think of it as the way of the future. Energy and resources are just going to become more and more important going forward, and mass timber technology has no way to go but up,” Johnson explains.
The competition, run by developers Serneke, called for proposals for a 32,000 square meter mixed-use masterplan, including a 200+ meter residential tower, in Gothenburg's Lindholmen area. A particular focus for the jury was for proposals to "demonstrate how the skyscraper can be integrated into the structure of the neighborhood," adding that "the building should be a part of the area’s social and architectural context, not stand as a solitary monolith."
Read more about the jury's decision after the break
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has been chosen to design a new teaching and learning facility for Barnard College - Columbia University’s world-renowned liberal arts college for women. The selection committee chose SOM after deeming them the best candidate in three categories: “a history of creative and innovative architecture,” a proven recorded on similar academic projects, and “an internal commitment to woman’s leadership reflected by women holding key roles in the firm.”
Originally posted under the title "Well-Oiled Machine" on Metropolis Magazine, this fascinating article by Ian Volner profiles the international behemoth that is SOM, exploring how the practice has remained so prominent - and relevant - after 78 years, and what it is that stylistically unites a practice spread across five continents with more than 10,000 buildings to their name.
Frank Lloyd Wright called them the “Three Blind Mies.” Louis Skidmore, Nathaniel Owings, and John O. Merrill were the architectural troika whose namesake firm—founded in Chicago in the mid-1930s—became something like the Julia Child of postwar design, delivering European sophistication to middle America at midcentury. Through hundreds of buildings in cities all across the country (and, later, around the world) the office turned the stringent aesthetic of German master builder Ludwig Mies van der Rohe into an architectural metonym for big business. Whether you look at rows of sleek glass skyscrapers and see grace and economy, or only the “thousand blind windows” of Allen Ginsberg’s monstrous “Moloch,” it’s no stretch to say that you have Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to thank for them.
Australian developer CBUS Property has invited four pairs of Australian and internationally-renowned architectural practices to compete to design an office complex at a 6,000 square meter site in downtown Melbourne, Australia where the National Mutual Plaza currently stands.
In August, we reported a Request for Qualifications for the renovation of Mies van der Rohe's Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. - Mies' only library and the only building in D.C. A few days ago, the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) narrowed down the list of potential firms from 26 to 10 and revealed that it was looking for community input on the library's future spaces and services.
Just eight months after being awarded the design-build contract with Clark Construction Group, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) has broke ground on the new, $318 million United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. This is a long-awaited achievement for the city of Los Angeles, as attempts have been made to construct a new courthouse since 2007. However, despite having to abandoned a $1.1 billion Perkins + Will proposal years ago, many believe this sustainable and more cost-effective design by SOM was worth the wait.
"In architecture’s 'Mad Men' era, there was a woman." So begins David W. Dunlap's eloquent eulogy, published yesterday in The New York Times, to Natalie de Blois. Dunlap explores de Blois' significant contributions to Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill's iconic buildings, including the Lever House, as well as the significant hurdles she had to overcome. As SOM partner Nathaniel Owings wrote of de Blois in his autobiography: “Her mind and hands worked marvels in design — and only she and God would ever know just how many great solutions, with the imprimatur of one of the male heroes of S.O.M., owed much more to her than was attributed by either S.O.M. or the client.” Read the entire article at The New York Times.
This morning, four architectural firms, invited by the Metropolitan Art Society(MAS), displayed how they would transform New York's darkest & dingiest hub - Penn Station - into a space worthy of its site in the heart of the city.
New Yorkers have been up in arms about Penn Station ever since its Beaux-Arts predecessor, designed by McKim, Mead & White, was demolished in 1963. Its replacement is a dark, cramped station that lacks both the operational and security features it needs to sustain the hundreds of thousands of travelers who use it daily. As Michael Kimmelman put it in his inaugural piece as architecture editor for The New York Times: "To pass through Grand Central Terminal, one of New York’s exalted public spaces, is an ennobling experience, a gift. To commute via the bowels of Penn Station, just a few blocks away, is a humiliation."
As we reported last month,Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) 50-year permit expires this year, and it will be either renewed without limit, or extended 10-15 years, by The New York City Council in the coming months. The problem, according to MAS, is that "MSG happens to sit on top of the busiest train station in North America [a.k.a, Penn Station] and constrains its ability to serve over half a million people every day. [...] 2013 presents New York City with a truly unique opportunity and together we need to seize this moment."
After weather conditions refused to cooperate on Monday, the final two sections of Freedom Tower have been lifted to the summit of the One World Trade Center. Construction of the gargantuan 758-ton, 408-foot spire - a joint Canadian-U.S. venture - began in December 2012, when 18 separate pieces were shipped to Manhattan from Canada and New Jersey. This final addition, including a steel beacon, means that the height of the building will soon rise from 1,368 feet to a more patriotic 1,776 feet once the segments are permanently installed within the next few weeks. However, it's not yet certain that the building will officially be the tallest in the U.S.