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Studio Gang, BIG, Calatrava and SOM Among Teams Competing For Multi-Billion Chicago O’Hare Contract

16:05 - 24 September, 2018
Studio Gang, BIG, Calatrava and SOM Among Teams Competing For Multi-Billion Chicago O’Hare Contract, © Shutterstock
© Shutterstock

Studio Gang, BIG, Calatrava and SOM are among twelve leading architecture teams vying to work on the Chicago O'Hare International Airport expansion. The city’s request for qualifications calls for demolishing O'Hare's Terminal 2 to replace it with a global concourse and terminal for both domestic and international flights from United and American Airlines. The city’s Department of Procurement Services estimates the total costs of the expansion process (from design through construction) will cost an approximate $8.7 billion. Known as O’Hare 21, the project represents O’Hare’s first major overhaul in 25 years.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Image © Creative Commons Chicago O'Hare International Airport Expansion. Image © O'Hare 21 Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Image © Creative Commons Shenzhen Bao'an Int Airport T3 Hall. Image © Christian Gänshirt + 5

SOM Breaks Ground on Block 9 in Downtown Fargo

14:00 - 13 September, 2018
SOM Breaks Ground on Block 9 in Downtown Fargo, Block 9. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Block 9. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

The architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have broken ground on Block 9, an 18-story mixed use tower in the heart of downtown Fargo, North Dakota. Inspired by the the prairies, the development was designed to reflect the scale of the city and surrounding buildings. The project includes an expansive public plaza with retail, office, hotel, and residential programming, and will make use of timber and local stone. Developed by Block 9 Partners, a partnership of Kilbourne Group and R.D. Offutt Company, the mixed-use tower will transform Fargo’s skyline.

Block 9. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Block 9. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Block 9. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Block 9. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill + 6

SOM: Art + Engineering + Architecture

13:35 - 7 August, 2018
SOM: Art + Engineering + Architecture, PhotoPhoto courtesy SOM  © Fotoworks/Benny Chan
PhotoPhoto courtesy SOM © Fotoworks/Benny Chan

The MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, in partnership with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), is hosting a panel discussion on the intersection of art, engineering, and architecture. Set in the beautiful outdoor courtyard of the historic Schindler House in West Hollywood, the event brings together a variety of experts to discuss historical and contemporary positions regarding this theme. 

The SOM Foundation Announces New Research Prize Focusing on "Humanizing High Density"

08:00 - 6 August, 2018
The SOM Foundation Announces New Research Prize Focusing on "Humanizing High Density", One World Trade Center / SOM. Image Courtesy of James Ewing
One World Trade Center / SOM. Image Courtesy of James Ewing

People are moving into urban centers at an unprecedented rate. According to the United Nations, the world's urban population has increased from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. By 2050, an additional 2.5 billion people are expected to reside in urban areas. In response to this rapid urban growth, designers are challenged to create sustainable and resilient spaces that accommodate complex human needs, both necessary and desired.

World-renowned architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) invites educators and students from across the U.S. to engage in the 2018 SOM Foundation Research Prize: "Humanizing High Density." The SOM Foundation Research Prize is awarded to a faculty-led interdisciplinary design research proposal "with the potential to advance the practice of architecture, structures, urban design and related design disciplines."

The Architecture Behind a Brave Racoon's Viral Skyscraper Climb

09:30 - 11 July, 2018
The Architecture Behind a Brave Racoon's Viral Skyscraper Climb, © Evan Frost/<a href='https://www.mprnews.org/'>MPR News</a>
© Evan Frost/MPR News

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "SOM Explains Exactly How a Raccoon Scaled Its St. Paul Skyscraper."

After completing Town Square, a mixed-use, double-tower complex in the heart of St. Paul, Minnesota in 1980, the late architect Donald Smith of SOM told Architectural Record magazine, “We must reorient our attention to the center [of] cities to save them.”

Smith’s words were prophetic, it turns out, but not in the way he may have expected.

Last month, Town Square—now known as UBS Plaza—captured the attention of the globe as a scraggly, wayward raccoon climbed up its southern tower’s 25 stories.

The rough, exposed aggregate concrete facade allowed the raccoon to scale the building like a tree. Image © Evan Frost/<a href='https://www.mprnews.org/'>MPR News</a> When completed in 1980, SOM's Town Square project in St. Paul (designed by the firm's Denver office) was a prime example of late-'70s mixed use buildings. Image Courtesy of SOM / © Hedrich Blessing The complex, as late architect Donald Smith told Architectural Record at the time, aimed to foster development in urban centers "in terms of people, not the automobile". Image Courtesy of SOM / © Hedrich Blessing Detail of the building's concrete facade system. Image Courtesy of SOM + 7

SOM Receives Planning Permission for Angular Skyscraper in City of London

12:20 - 10 July, 2018
Courtesy of SOM
Courtesy of SOM

This morning, planning permission was awarded for the construction of 100 Leadenhall Street, an SOM-designed skyscraper in the eastern cluster of skyscrapers in the City of London. At 263.4 meters tall, the building will be the third tallest in the cluster, trailing only 1 Undershaft (305 meters), which is approved but yet to begin construction, and 22 Bishopsgate (278 meters), which is currently under construction. The Shard, at 310 meters, is also nearby on the south of the river.

Building a Career in Architecture: A Designer Reflects on Her First Three Years at SOM

09:30 - 29 June, 2018
Building a Career in Architecture: A Designer Reflects on Her First Three Years at SOM, © SOM | Lucas Blair
© SOM | Lucas Blair

Not so long ago, Lulu Li was in a classroom in graduate school, inspired by her education, the buildings around her, and a childhood dream. Since joining SOM as an entry-level architect a little more than three years ago, Lulu has grown in her role. She’s now a leader of the design team for a new science center at Wellesley College. We spoke with Lulu to learn more about her experience: the opportunities she’s found, the challenges she’s faced, and her advice for new graduates ready to begin their careers.

How did you get interested in architecture?

SOM Scale + Form at the 2018 Venice Biennale

10:45 - 26 May, 2018
SOM Scale + Form at the 2018 Venice Biennale, © Tom Harris
© Tom Harris

Today, a new exhibition opened in Venice featuring the work of the global architecture and engineering practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Presented at the European Cultural Centre, "Time Space Existence" is a collateral exhibition of the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The show includes work from leading architects, photographers, sculptors, and universities from around the world.

First Images Released of SOM's Proposed Skyscrapers on Former Chicago Spire Site

12:10 - 16 May, 2018
First Images Released of SOM's Proposed Skyscrapers on Former Chicago Spire Site, © Noe & Associates/Boundary courtesy of Related Midwest
© Noe & Associates/Boundary courtesy of Related Midwest

The Chicago Tribune has released images of an SOM-designed skyscraper scheme for the former Chicago Spire site. The two towers, measuring 1,000 and 850 feet tall (305 and 259 meters), are expected to contain 1.3 million square feet of floor space, including 850 residential units.

The proposal signals a new lease of life for 400 N Lake Shore Drive, where a 75-foot-deep, much-ridiculed foundation hole serves as the only reminder of the once-planned Chicago Spire, a 2000-foot-tall Santiago Calatrava-designed skyscraper.

© Noe & Associates/Boundary courtesy of Related Midwest © Noe & Associates/Boundary courtesy of Related Midwest © Noe & Associates/Boundary courtesy of Related Midwest © Noe & Associates/Boundary courtesy of Related Midwest + 7

SOM to Design 2 Skyscrapers on Former Chicago Spire Site

15:05 - 15 May, 2018
SOM to Design 2 Skyscrapers on Former Chicago Spire Site, The site at 400 N Lake Shore Drive with the hole for the foundations of the Chicago Spire proposal. Image© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/orijinal/8329344372'>Flickre user orijinal</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
The site at 400 N Lake Shore Drive with the hole for the foundations of the Chicago Spire proposal. Image© Flickre user orijinal licensed under CC BY 2.0

Since construction was halted on the Chicago Spire, the Santiago Calatrava-designed skyscraper at 400 N Lake Shore Drive, the hole which was to become the tower's foundation has become something of a local punchline, variously being caricatured as the site of semi-ironic proposals for inner-city adventure playgrounds or the pit into which the city's other failed ventures can be metaphorically dumped. But according to a report by the Chicago Tribune, that narrative might be about to change, as their sources within the city government have confirmed that a proposal is in the works to bring two skyscrapers to the site, designed by David Childs of SOM, the lead architect behind 1 World Trade Center.

Spotlight: Gordon Bunshaft

10:30 - 9 May, 2018
Spotlight: Gordon Bunshaft, AD Classics: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Image © <a href='https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beinecke_Rare_Book_%26_Manuscript_Library#/media/File:Beinecke-Rare-Book-Manuscript-Library-Yale-University-Hewitt-Quadrangle-New-Haven-Connecticut-Apr-2014-a.jpg'>Wikimedia Commons user Gunnar Klack</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/'>CC BY-SA 4.0</a>
AD Classics: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Image © Wikimedia Commons user Gunnar Klack licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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.”

Hajj Terminal at King Abdulaziz Airport, Jeddah. Image © SOM - Jay Langlois | Owens-Corning Beinecke Rare Book Library. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/joevare/5524134719'>Flickr user joevare</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a> Solow Buliding. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Solow_Building_New_York_August_2012.jpg'>Wikimedia user King of Hearts</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> W.R. Grace Building. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:W._R._Grace_Building,_New_York,_NY_10018,_USA_-_Jan_2013.jpg'>Wikimedia user WestportWiki</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> + 9

When it Comes to Building a Better Airport, "It Never Pays to Use Cheap Materials"

09:30 - 11 April, 2018
When it Comes to Building a Better Airport, "It Never Pays to Use Cheap Materials", Washington Dulles Internation Airport - Main Terminal Expansion. Image © Rick Latoff
Washington Dulles Internation Airport - Main Terminal Expansion. Image © Rick Latoff

Airport design is both an art and a science: the best terminals are not only functional, but also beautiful and awe-inspiring spaces. Millions of people pass through these terminals every day, yet few understand their inner workings as well as Roger Duffy and Derek A.R. Moore—design leaders at SOM who have conceptualized some of the most ambitious aviation projects around the world, including Terminal 2 at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. In this interview, Moore, a Director, and Duffy, a Design Partner, reflect on the complicated challenges of airport design, and how these constraints can fuel creative solutions.

Changi International Airport - Terminal 3. Image © Tim Griffith Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Terminal 2. Image Courtesy of SOM / Robert Polidori © Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1. Image © Timothy Hursley Washington Dulles Internation Airport - Automated People Mover Station. Image Courtesy of SOM / © Jeff Goldberg | Esto + 15

SOM Unveils Images of Striking Mixed-Use Tower in Hangzhou, China

12:00 - 9 April, 2018
Courtesy of SOM / Brick Visual
Courtesy of SOM / Brick Visual

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has unveiled images of its proposed 54-story mixed-use tower in Hangzhou, China. Standing at a height of 945 feet (288 meters), the "Hangzhou Wangchao Center" seeks to act as a gateway to the eastern Chinese city’s newly-planned Qianjang Century Town district. With 1.3 million square feet (125,000 square meters) of office, hotel, and retail space, the scheme represents the ambitions of Hangzhou to become a global destination, spurred by its hosting of the Asian Games in 2022.

Courtesy of SOM / ATCHAIN Courtesy of SOM / Brick Visual Courtesy of SOM Courtesy of SOM + 12

SOM Unveils Images of Chicago Office Tower With Five-Story Open-Air Deck

14:05 - 23 March, 2018
Courtesy of SOM
Courtesy of SOM

Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) have unveiled new images of their proposed 18-story office tower in the trendy Fulton Market area of Chicago. “The Porch,” situated on 330 North Green, will feature a five-story open-air deck, and series of luxury amenities to support the new office environment.

Courtesy of SOM Courtesy of SOM Courtesy of SOM Courtesy of SOM + 11

Zaha Hadid Architects to Design Navi Mumbai International Airport

12:10 - 14 March, 2018
Zaha Hadid Architects to Design Navi Mumbai International Airport, Previous airport works by Zaha Hadid Architects include the Beijing Daxing International Airport, slated as the world's largest airport terminal. Image Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects
Previous airport works by Zaha Hadid Architects include the Beijing Daxing International Airport, slated as the world's largest airport terminal. Image Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has won an international competition for the design of the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA). A long-awaited infrastructural project for India’s largest city, the scheme addresses capacity issues for the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji International (CSI) Airport, which features a terminal designed by SOM.

ZHA’s brief will encompass the design and execution of new NMIA terminal building, an Air Traffic Control Tower, and associated access. The airport will be situated across Mumbai Harbor, connected to the city by a planned rail link, and access to national rail networks. ZHA's previous work in the airport sector includes the Beijing Daxing International Airport (pictured), which is slated to be the world's largest airport terminal.

SOM Selected to Design Green Masterplan for Eastern Paris

16:42 - 13 March, 2018
SOM Selected to Design Green Masterplan for Eastern Paris, Courtesy of SOM
Courtesy of SOM

Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) have won an international competition for the design of an enhanced urban district in Charenton-Bercy, on the eastern edge of Paris. Working with a team of urbanists, landscape designers and community think tanks, SOM have proposed a highly connected urban landscape incorporating a 180-meter energy efficient tower, and contemporary rotunda serving as a virtual reality hub.

Docomomo Pens Letter In Response to the Planned Demolition of New York's Union Carbide Building

12:20 - 28 February, 2018
Docomomo Pens Letter In Response to the Planned Demolition of New York's Union Carbide Building, The original lobby of the Union Carbide Building. Image © Ezra Stoller | Esto. Courtesy Docomomo
The original lobby of the Union Carbide Building. Image © Ezra Stoller | Esto. Courtesy Docomomo

Following last week’s announcement of JPMorgan Chase’s plans to demolition the historically significant modernist masterwork 270 Park (formerly known as the Union Carbide Building), the US chapter of international non-profit Modernist architecture advocate Docomomo has penned a letter to New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee chair Meenakshi Srinivasan arguing for the structure’s preservation.

In the letter, Docomomo US President Theodore H.M. Prudon and Docomomo US NY/Tri-State President John Arbuckle highlight the structure’s critical acclaim and essential place within Modernist architectural history, urging the Commission to calendar the building for designation as quickly as possible.

Find the letter reprinted in full, below.

SOM's Iconic 270 Park Avenue At Risk of Becoming the Tallest Building Ever to Be Demolished

12:30 - 22 February, 2018
© Flickr <a href='http://https://www.flickr.com/photos/16801915@N06/8191438808/'>user Reading Tom</a>. Licensed under CC BY 2.0t
© Flickr user Reading Tom. Licensed under CC BY 2.0t

Just months after plans were announced for a major transformation of Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building at 550 Madison, another iconic midtown Manhattan skyscraper is at risk – and this time, it would mean the demolition of the entire building.

Designed by Natalie de Blois and Gordon Bunshaft of SOM and completed in 1961, 270 Park Avenue (formerly known as the Union Carbide Building) is considered a key example of the International Style in New York City that extended and even improved upon the precedent set by Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building.

But after new zoning legislation for the neighborhood was passed last year, the building’s current owner, JPMorgan Chase, has announced plans to raze the 707-foot-tall building in favor of a new, hi-tech supertall replacement. If plans go through, it would be the world’s largest and tallest building ever to be intentionally demolished.