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SOM's "Alternative Christmas Tree" Rises at Utzon Center in Denmark

16:00 - 8 December, 2016
SOM's "Alternative Christmas Tree" Rises at Utzon Center in Denmark, © 2016 Allan Toft
© 2016 Allan Toft

An “alternative Christmas tree” designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) has been erected in the courtyard of the Utzon Center, coinciding with SOM’s current exhibition, ‘Sky’s the Limit’. Located on the waterfront in Aalborg, Denmark, the Utzon Center was the last project to be designed by the center’s namesake, renowned Danish architect Jørn Utzon.

© 2016 Allan Toft © 2016 Allan Toft © 2016 Allan Toft © 2016 Allan Toft +18

Shanghai Tower Wins 2015 Emporis Skyscraper Award

15:21 - 22 November, 2016
Shanghai Tower Wins 2015 Emporis Skyscraper Award

Gensler's Shanghai Tower has won the 2015 Emporis Skyscraper Award. Selected from over 300 buildings of over 100 meters in height completed in 2015, the Emporis jury was impressed by the Shanghai Tower's "elegant spiraling cylindrical shape," and the "extraordinary energy efficiency" provided, in part, by the building's double-skin facade.

Currently the world's second tallest building at 632 meters, the Shanghai Tower becomes the second Chinese building to win the Emporis award, after Zaha Hadid Architects' Wangjing SOHO took the prize last year. In addition to Gensler's first-place project, Emporis also recognized 9 runners-up including Rafael Viñoly Architects' 432 Park Avenue, Arquitectonica's Icon Bay in Miami, and the Evolution Tower in Moscow by Kettle Collective and RMJM Edinburgh. Read on to see all ten awarded projects.

Two Buildings by Renzo Piano Near Completion at Columbia University's New Manhattanville Campus

15:01 - 25 October, 2016
Two Buildings by Renzo Piano Near Completion at Columbia University's New Manhattanville Campus, Lenfest Center for the Arts (left) and Jerome L. Greene Science Center (right). Image © Columbia University / Frank Oudeman
Lenfest Center for the Arts (left) and Jerome L. Greene Science Center (right). Image © Columbia University / Frank Oudeman

The first stage of Columbia University’s new Manhattanville Campus, consisting of two buildings by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, is nearly complete, with a move-in and grand opening slated for spring 2017.

The Piano-designed Jerome L Greene Science Center and Lenfest Center for the Arts are the first two buildings to be completed within the larger campus masterplan, conceived by Piano in collaboration with SOM, that will eventually encompass nearly 19-acres between 125th and 133rd streets in northwestern Manhattan.

Jerome L. Greene Science Center, seen from the southeast. Image © Columbia University / Frank Oudeman Jerome L. Greene Science Center, seen from the 125th Street #1 train subway platform. Image © Columbia University / Frank Oudeman Jerome L. Greene Science Center: Collabora- tive meeting spaces and open-air staircases that connect two  oors. Image © Columbia University / Frank Oudeman Jerome L. Greene Science Center: Double-height meeting and interactive spaces. Image © Columbia University / Frank Oudeman +13

The Names and Numbers Behind the World’s 100 Tallest Buildings

16:10 - 14 October, 2016
The Names and Numbers Behind the World’s 100 Tallest Buildings, via CTBUH
via CTBUH

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has released some of the facts and figures behind the projects appearing in their recent book, 100 of the World’s Tallest Buildings. The construction of tall buildings requires collaboration between many different companies and firms and the efforts of hundreds of people, but a few select firms have been responsible for more of the design and engineering achievements than any other.

Continue reading to see the 18 design architects that have contributed multiple buildings to the top 100 list.

First Renderings Revealed of Revamped Plan for New York's Penn Station

10:05 - 28 September, 2016
First Renderings Revealed of Revamped Plan for New York's Penn Station , © Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | Volley
© Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | Volley

Update: We've added a gallery of renderings to the post!

Penn Station is finally getting its much-needed makeover. The transportation hub, the busiest train station in the country, has been the target of much ire and disdain ever since its Beaux-Arts predecessor, designed by McKim, Mead & White, was demolished in 1963, forcing the station to retreat into the dark, cramped passageways below Madison Square Garden. The ordeal lead critic and Yale University Professor Vincent Scully to memorably quip: “One entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat.”

But today, after years of scrapped schemes, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a fast-track plan that will give New York’s scuttling visitors and commuters some breathing room as early as 2020. Led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the design calls for a new 255,000 square foot train hall and retail space in the James A. Farley Building, also known as the General Post Office, across 8th Avenue from Madison Square Garden and the current Penn Station entrance.

© Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | Volley © Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | Volley © Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | Volley © Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | Volley +15

SOM Breaks Ground on One of the Largest Redevelopments in Tokyo’s History

14:30 - 21 September, 2016
SOM Breaks Ground on One of the Largest Redevelopments in Tokyo’s History, © Methanoia
© Methanoia

Construction is now underway on Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s (SOM) OH-1 redevelopment project in the Ohtemachi District of Tokyo, Japan. Covering a 20,000 square meter (215,000 square foot) site, the project constitutes one of the largest revitalization projects in Tokyo’s history. The complex includes two high-rise, mixed-use buildings containing a luxury hotel, commercial office space, retail and cultural facilities, and is centered around a park and public area that will visually connect the development to the adjacent Imperial Palace East Gardens.

These Are the Best-Designed, Most Useful Architecture Firm Websites

07:00 - 12 September, 2016
These Are the Best-Designed, Most Useful Architecture Firm Websites

Our editors look at hundreds of websites per week. What do they admire and appreciate the most? Organization and simplicity. Sites that are not only clean, but fast. We actively search for projects to include on our platform, so it’s crucial that when we visit a website we not only know where to look, but how to access information. Filters and facets are our best friends. Typological differentiation is important, but perhaps not as important as distinguishing between built and un-built projects (“Is that a render?” is a question that comes up at least once a day).

Architect Magazine Names the Top 50 Architecture Firms in the US for 2016

16:35 - 7 September, 2016
Architect Magazine Names the Top 50 Architecture Firms in the US for 2016, Images © Raul J. Garcia, Timothy Hursley & Matthew Anderson
Images © Raul J. Garcia, Timothy Hursley & Matthew Anderson

Architect Magazine has unveiled the latest edition of the “Architect 50,” their list of the 50 best architecture firms in the United States. The 2016 rankings are based on scores from three categories: business, design and sustainability; the last of which was calculated using a new methodology this year. Topping the list this year was ZGF Architects, who also were given the distinction of top sustainable firm, while William Rawn Associates and Marlon Blackwell Architects finished number 1 in business and design, respectively.

See the top 10 from each category after the break.

AD Round-Up: 10 Sacred Spaces

04:00 - 31 August, 2016
AD Round-Up: 10 Sacred Spaces, Courtesy of Flickr user Flemming Ibsen under CC BY-NC 2.0
Courtesy of Flickr user Flemming Ibsen under CC BY-NC 2.0

Religion, in one form or another, has formed the core of human society for much of our history. It therefore stands to reason that religious architecture has found equal prominence in towns and cities across the globe. Faith carries different meanings for different peoples and cultures, resulting in a wide variety of approaches to the structures in which worship takes place: some favor sanctuaries, others places of education and community, while others place the greatest emphasis on nature itself. Indeed, many carry secondary importance as symbols of national power or cultural expression.

AD Classics are ArchDaily's continually updated collection of longer-form building studies of the world's most significant architectural projects. The collection of sacred spaces collated here invariably reveal one desire that remains constant across all faiths and cultures: shifting one’s gaze from the mundane and everyday and fixing it on the spiritual, the otherworldly, and the eternal.

Courtesy of Flickr user Arian Zweger under CC BY 2.0 Courtesy of Flickr user Futo-Tussauds under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 © Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia Courtesy of Flickr user Naoya Fujii under CC BY-NC 2.0 +10

SOM's Timber Tower System Successfully Passes Strength Testing

16:30 - 18 August, 2016

The recent trend in timber-framed architecture may just be beginning.

SOM’s Timber Tower Research Project has passed a major milestone as the structural system has successfully completed strength testing that validate initial calculations. Launched in 2013, The Timber Tower Research project was established with the goal of developing a new structural system for skyscrapers that uses timber as its primary material. Using these techniques, the research team estimates that the embodied carbon footprint of buildings can be reduced by 60 to 75 percent when compared to a benchmark concrete building.

8 Things You Should Know About Fazlur Khan, Skyscraper Genius

12:45 - 18 August, 2016
8 Things You Should Know About Fazlur Khan, Skyscraper Genius, © flickr user achimh. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© flickr user achimh. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When it comes to skyscraper architects, the first name that comes to mind is often Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. No firm has completed more supertall buildings than SOM, and to this day, they remain a leader in the field, designing both the western hemisphere’s and the world’s tallest buildings in One World Trade Center and the Burj Khalifa. Yet, arguably, the height of their powers came in the 1970s, directly following a lull in skyscraper construction that allowed the Empire State Building to retain the status of world’s tallest building for nearly 40 years.

It was then that Falzur Khan, a SOM architect and structural engineer, came up with the structural innovation that revolutionized the skyscraper industry, leaving lasting impacts on the construction methods of supertall buildings today.

Drawing from a recent story published by Mental Floss on the designer, we’ve come up with a list of facts about his life and role in the world of architecture.  

Continue reading for the 8 things you should know about Falzur Khan.

7 Projects Announced as Winners of AIA National Healthcare Design Awards

16:50 - 25 July, 2016
7 Projects Announced as Winners of AIA National Healthcare Design Awards

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected seven recipients of the 2016 AIA National Healthcare Design Awards, given to the year’s best projects in healthcare building design and healthcare design-oriented research. Projects were selected for displaying “conceptual strengths that solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social concerns as well as the requisite functional and sustainability concerns of a hospital.”

The award is given in four categories: Category A: Built, Less than $25 million in construction cost; Category B: Built, More than $25 million in construction cost; Category C: Unbuilt, Must be commissioned for compensation by a client with the authority and intention to build (No projects were selected in this category this year); and Category D: Innovations in Planning and Design Research, Built and Unbuilt.

Read on for the list of winners.

Perkins Eastman Update SOM-Designed Laboratory at the University of Chicago

16:05 - 22 July, 2016
Perkins Eastman Update SOM-Designed Laboratory at the University of Chicago, Southwest Facade After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman
Southwest Facade After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman

Perkins Eastman has released plans for a two-story expansion and redesign of the SOM-designed Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research at the University of Chicago campus in Chicago, Illinois. Construction on the 63,500 square foot building has just begun, and once completed, will serve as the renewed home of the University’s Department of Physics. The addition and renovation will create a new physics hub on campus that will allow students of different sub-disciplines to collaborate under the same roof for the first time.

Soutwest Facade Before. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman Northwest Facade After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman Northwest Facade Before. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman Aerial Perspective After. Image Courtesy of Perkins Eastman +6

SOM Reveals Plans for New Urban District Around Philadelphia's 30th Street Station

16:05 - 18 July, 2016
SOM Reveals Plans for New Urban District Around Philadelphia's 30th Street Station , 30th Street Station anchors a new city district with up to 18 million square feet of development. Image © SOM
30th Street Station anchors a new city district with up to 18 million square feet of development. Image © SOM

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has released plans for a new mixed-use urban district for Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station Precinct. In response to projections showing significant increases in transit activity in the coming decades, the project calls for a transformation of the existing Beaux Arts train station and surrounding neighborhood of University City. The design will improve transportation throughout the city, and will activate the area with new shops, restaurants and public plazas.

30th Street Station represents a new chapter in the story of transit-oriented development in Philadelphia. Image © SOM  Aerial view from Powelton Village. Image © OLIN Station Plaza view from the west. Image © OLIN A new underground concourse, capped by a dramatic skylight, connects the subway and 30th Street Station. Image © SOM +11

Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum Named National Treasure by National Trust for Historic Preservation

14:00 - 10 June, 2016

Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill's Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon has been on the chopping block for some time now: since the city’s NBA team moved to the Moda Center (known also as the Rose Garden) next door in 1995, the building has struggled to find the funding necessary for maintenance, and since 2009 calls have been made for the demolition of the iconic modernist structure. The threat reached peak levels last October, when the Portland City Council nearly voted to approve a proposal for demolition before ultimately denying it by a narrow 3-2 margin.

Now, preservationists have a new designation to use in their defense. Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Veterans Memorial Coliseum its newest National Treasure, joining 60 other threatened sites including the Houston Astrodome and Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.

© Wikimedia cc user Steve Morgan. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 © Flickr cc user diversey. Licensed under CC BY 2.0. via City of Portland Archives © Flickr cc user A.F. Litt. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 +9

Spotlight: Gordon Bunshaft

12:30 - 9 May, 2016
Spotlight: Gordon Bunshaft, Lever House. Image © Flickr user gaf licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Lever House. Image © Flickr user gaf licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As lead designer of the Lever House and many of America’s most historically prominent buildings, Pritzker Prize winning architect Gordon Bunshaft (9 May 1909 - 6 August 1990) is credited with ushering in a new era of Modernist skyscraper design and corporate architecture. A stern figure and a loyal advocate of the International Style, Bunshaft spent the majority of his career as partner and lead designer for SOM, who have referred to him as “a titan of industry, a decisive army general, an architectural John Wayne.”

SOM Unveils Manhattan West Development Plans

08:00 - 1 February, 2016
SOM Unveils Manhattan West Development Plans, Courtesy of SOM
Courtesy of SOM

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has released the plans for Manhattan West, a new office and residential development spanning five million square feet over the 2.6-acre platform that covers the active rail tracks connecting Penn Station to New Jersey and Upstate New York.

SOM: "The Engineering of Architecture"

13:26 - 21 January, 2016
SOM: "The Engineering of Architecture", © Saskia Wehler
© Saskia Wehler

With its 80 years of experience in bringing together architecture and structural engineering Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) remains groundbreaking to this day, particularly in the construction of gigantic skyscrapers, the so-called “supertalls”. The exhibition and the accompanying DETAIL volume present the approaches, the roots and the theoretical background of the SOM Structural Group. One central question is how far architecture can go – in terms of height. Typical structural concepts and individual details from numerous projects across the world serve to illustrate processes of solution finding. The results illustrate the firm’s core values: simplicity, clarity, hierarchy, efficiency, economy and advancement. A number of iconic SOM buildings such as the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower help to position the example projects – ranging from James Turrell’s Skyspace to Burj Khalifa – within the context of SOM’s complete work. The innovative structural solutions presented here indicate how SOM enables the creation of “next generation” buildings.