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Architecture City Guide: Chicago

We are headed to the windy city of Chicago for this weeks Architecture City Guide series.  Jam packed with architecture from Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, here are our 12 recommendations if you are visiting Chicago.  Head to the comment section and share your recommendations for additional buildings to include on our list! The Architecture City Guide: Chicago list and corresponding map after the break!

Vision for the Great Lakes at TEDxTalks by Philip Enquist of SOM

This past July Philip Enquist of SOM spoke to the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota as a part of TEDxTalks Mill City series.  His focus was to raise awareness and also challenge the Great Lake and St. Lawrence watershed residents to “imagine there are no borders”.  This video hits close to home, as I grew up in the Great Lakes watershed region.  His lecture is informative and revealing of the responsibility there is to utilize and protect this great resource of the United States.

At the end of the video you find yourself wondering why haven’t we already created a plan for the Great Lakes region.  Possibly the size of this region or the international boarder running through it has failed to put it on many people’s radar screens.  Either way Enquist lays out an achievable ten point plan (overview after the break) to focus on where this 100 year vision could be a global example of human balance with nature, beyond two nations.

Courtesy of SOM
Courtesy of SOM

Following Enquist’s lecture the mayors of the Great Lake and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative voted to approve a regional sustainability program.

Courtesy of SOM Courtesy of SOM Courtesy of SOM Courtesy of SOM

One World Trade Center gets to 260 feet

One World Trade Center has reached a construction milestone by rising 260 ft above street level. Upon its completion in 2013, it will become the tallest office building in the United States reaching 104 stories. Currently standing at the 26th floor level, the 1,776-ft-tall office building is being designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (NY office) and developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is scheduled to reach a height of 50 stories by the end of 2010. To date, more than 67,000 cubic yards of concrete have been poured for the tower, both above and below ground exceeding the amount of concrete used to build the entire Empire State Building. One World Trade Center will incorporate design elements based on LEED Gold criteria with energy efficiency running 20% higher than city codes presently require. Seen at GreenSource.

Architecture weekend fun: LEGO Sears Tower

This one looks great on my desk, and will shortly join the

More photos after the break:

Inland Steel Building / SOM

SOM is in the process of retrofitting their 1958 Inland Steel Building to meet modern sustainability and landmark restoration goals.  The idea for the upgrade, although headed by SOM, was actually conceived in 2007 when, non other than Frank Gehry and New York real estate player Richard Cohen purchased the 19-story, 232,450-square-foot property for approximately $57 million, and set out to transform the aging structure into Class A space. More after the upgrade after the break.

University Center / SOM

Located in Greenwich Village, The New School is an artistic academic institution where thousands of students continue their education in varying facets of design, whether it be music, drama, jazz, liberal arts etc. Within the past few days, the school has unveiled their newest proposal for a University Center designed by New York based SOM. Adding over 365,00 sqf for academic and public programs, a new library and a 600+ student dormitory, the project will create a major campus hub at 65th Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets when it opens for the Fall 2013 semester. More about the addition after the break.

SOM wins 2010 "Good Design is Good Business" China Award

The San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has received a 2010 “Good Design is Good Business” China Award for the new U.S. Embassy Complex in Beijing, China. Architectural Record and McGraw-Hill Construction recognized 17 projects with their third bi-annual program. The awards celebrate projects that demonstrate the power of design in the advancement of business and civic objectives.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing, which opened for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, received its award in the Best Public Project category. Working with the U.S. Department of State, SOM responded to the building’s diplomatic role by creating a space that is welcoming, secure, and respectful of local traditions. As a sovereign U.S. presence on Chinese soil, the Embassy reflects American cultural, social and political values while paying respect to the host country’s ancient and extraordinarily vibrant culture.

More images and information after the break.

From the top of the Burj Dubai

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An amazing view of Dubai from the top of the tallest building in the world, which opens this Monday.

Digital Media City / SOM

© Giroud Pichot
© Giroud Pichot

SOM recently unveiled the design for the Digital Media City Landmark Tower in Seoul, Korea. The 2,100 foot (640m) tall tower will be the tallest tower in East Asia when completed in 2014. The iconic building is located in the north of the Han River, which crosses the city, and will dominate the skyline becoming a important icon for Seoul… which is what you will expect if you commission a tower this tall.

A view from the top of Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world

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The ninjas at AMNP just featured this short video shot from the top of the Burj Dubai, designed by SOM, the tallest building in the world.

In Progress: John Jay College / SOM

Image by Christopher Hoxie & Brandon Hicks
Image by Christopher Hoxie & Brandon Hicks

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, an active college in the City University of New York, currently occupies a former Public School building, Haaren Hall, on 10th Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets. With ownership of the entire Manhattan block, the college has ambitions to grow over two phases into the full Zoning capacity of the block. The charge of this project is to occupy the entire site with an integrated campus while providing a base for future growth.

Beijing Central Business District / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

© SOM
© SOM

The Chicago and Shanghai offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) won the international design competition to expand the Beijing Central Business District (CBD). This project was also awarded an AIA Honor Award. Basically, their plan proposes the creation of 3 new districts anchored by parks and green boulevards as you can see on the renderings. But the an important aspects of this project is on the small scale, a network of walkable blocks to offer pedestrian (and bike) friendly scale for development. Because sustainable doesn´t have to mean just “green”, but also to offer an environment on which people can actually establish social relations on a neighborhood scale. The plan also proposes an express commuter rail service between the Beijing Capital International Airport, the CBD, and high speed rail service at Beijing South Station. A new streetcar system is proposed to conveniently link all areas of the CBD. Sometimes, a good transportation system and focusing on the pedestrian scale sound obvious, but they are the foundations to establish neighborhoods that can bring life to parts of the city 24/7, instead of business districts that die at night with dormitory cities with a lack of services. More images after the break.

The lobby for the Burj Dubai / SOM

Burj Dubai, © Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, Rendering by Crystal CG
Burj Dubai, © Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, Rendering by Crystal CG

Curious about how the lobby for the world´s tallest building will look like? SOM shared with us some renderings of their design. The building was designed by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, who also designed the interiors for all the lobbies, public and common spaces for the tower. The design team is lead by Ms. Nada Andric (Associate Director with SOM) and reinterprets the region’s heritage in a contemporary way. The materials used include glass, stainless steel, polished dark stones, Silver Travertine flooring, Venetian stucco walls, handmade rugs, and stone flooring. Commissioned local and international fine art pieces will be used to decorate these spaces. I can´t wait to see actual images of this building completed, and see how both the structure and these interiors are materialized. The Burj Dubai is expected to be completed by December, 2009. You can see some photos during the construction on our previous article. More images after the break:

AD Interviews: Craig Hartman / SOM

Anyone who has taken an Architecture History class already knows SOM: Skidmore & Owings & Merrill. This practice played a key role during the so-called “International Style”, in a time where the modernism was being consolidated around the world. The practice, which opened in 1936, is behind the centers of the most important cities of the USA and now the rest of the world. One day I was walking by San Francisco´s Downtown with a friend, and he was pointing buildings: “SOM, SOM, SOM, SOM… and that one I think is also by SOM”.

SOM included in "The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies"

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been included in Fast Company’s annual list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies”. SOM was ranked #32 (the only AEC company on the ranking), on a list that also features renowned companies such as Google and Apple, with The Obama Team at the top of the list.