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Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: The Latest Architecture and News

Spotlight: Gordon Bunshaft

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-CorningBeinecke 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

SOM Collaborates with the European Space Agency to Research Habitation on the Moon

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) in order to further develop their existing research for Moon Village. Signed in Paris, by Colin Koop, Design Partner at SOM, and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of ESA, the announcement was made earlier this month.

© SOM | Slashcube GmbH© SOM | Slashcube GmbH© SOM | Slashcube GmbH© SOM | Slashcube GmbH+ 13

SOM Reveals Design for Walt Disney's New Headquarters in New York

4 Hudson Square is Walt Disney’s new headquarters in the Big Apple, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). Located in the Lower Manhattan district, in the neighborhood of Hudson Square, the project will create a space for the company’s New York operations.

SOM+ May Architecture Design Facilities for Cancer Care in Atlanta

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) with local architecture partner May Architecture, the new Winship at Midtown facility for cancer care is an addition to the Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM) campus and the existing Winship Cancer Institute.

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Design Adaptive Reuse Project in Milan

© SOM
© SOM

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s first venture in Milan is an adaptive reuse of an early 60’s building, originally designed by architects Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and Antonio Fornaroli. The firm imagined a scheme that renovates the former Allianz Milanese headquarters while transforming the Corso Italia Complex into a modern office space.

23 Buildings You Shouldn’t Miss in Chicago

On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago had roughly 200 inhabitants. Four years later, in 1837, it was upgraded to The City of Chicago – an interesting fact given that there are still 19 incorporated towns in Illinois. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 killed 300 people, destroyed about 3.3 square miles (9 km2), and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. However, by that time Chicago had become the world’s fastest-growing city and its population had risen over 300,000 inhabitants. The fire meant these ambitious citizens had to start again.

© BallPark via Wikimedia Commons© Virginia Duran© Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons© Will Taubert via Wikimedia Commons+ 25

With admirable strength, the city was reborn from the ashes and some of Chicago’s best architecture was constructed immediately after. Structures like the Rookery Building (1888, Frank Lloyd Wright), the Auditorium Building (1889, Louis Sullivan) and the Monadnock Building (1893, Burnham & Root, Holabird & Roche) are a few examples of the high standards the city was aiming for.

Since then, Chicago has only continued adding value to its urban grid and new buildings have been progressively enhancing the city’s beautiful skyline. This year Chicago celebrates the 2019-2020 Biennial and the city has plenty to offer. But, where to start?

If you love architecture, here is a list of buildings – old and new – that will help you understand, internalize and love Chicago’s built environment.

Shall we begin?

SOM Designs Stereoform Slab Pavilion for 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

Architecture practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) have designed a concrete pavilion for the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Today, the practice is unveiling the work of its interdisciplinary practice with Stereoform Slab, a to-scale prototype of a future building system made using advanced robotic fabrication techniques. The project is simultaneously an activation and an exhibition that illustrates a design method that reduces the carbon footprint of concrete construction.

Courtesy of Dave Burk | SOMCourtesy of Dave Burk | SOMCourtesy of Dave Burk | SOMCourtesy of Dave Burk | SOM+ 8

Capturing the John Hancock Center on its 50th Anniversary

Ste Murray has recently visited Chicago and photographed the famous John Hancock Center on its 50th Anniversary. Completed in 1969, and conceived by architect Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan of Skidmore Owings and Merrill, the building was once the tallest structure in the world outside of New York.

© Ste Murray© Ste Murray© Ste Murray© Ste Murray+ 25

SOM and Architectus Complete Sydney Exoskeleton Tower

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), Architectus, and Dexus Property Group have celebrated the completion and opening of 100 Mount Street, a 35-story mixed-use tower in North Sydney’s Central Business District. Inspired by the city’s rich architectural landscape, and shaped by SOM’s legacy of innovation in architecture and engineering, the scheme features a cross-braced exoskeleton structure surrounding a glass-enclosed interior.

© Brett Boardman© Brett Boardman© Brett Boardman© Brett Boardman+ 9

SOM Unveils Vision for First Human Settlement on the Moon

Skidmore Owings and Merrill have unveiled their vision for the "Moon Village", the first permanent human settlement on the Lunar surface. Developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the multidisciplinary project will be masterplanned, designed, and engineered by SOM.

SOM Designs Garden Terminal for India's Kempegowda International Airport

Skidmore Owings and Merrill have unveiled their design for the Kempegowda International Airport Terminal 2 in Bengaluru, India. The new air travel hub for the region, the SOM terminal reimagines the airport as a landscaped, serene transportation experience, conceived by the airport commission as a “terminal within a garden.” The project’s first phase of construction is scheduled to be completed in March 2021, when it will serve 25 million annual passengers.

The Top 10 New Skyscrapers of 2018

1: Lotte World Tower / Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates with Baum Architects. Image © Tim Griffith
1: Lotte World Tower / Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates with Baum Architects. Image © Tim Griffith

Emporis has announced the results of its annual Emporis Skyscraper Award, recognizing the best new supertall buildings completed in the previous year. This year, the top prize was given to the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and Baum Architects. The tapered tower, South Korea’s tallest, also houses the world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck, for architects who can handle the 1820-foot (555-meter) drop.

Skyscrapers of 2018: Soaring Beyond the Archetypal Crystal Tower

© Viktor Sukharukov
© Viktor Sukharukov

Either as singular outcroppings or as part of a bustling center, skyscrapers are neck-craning icons across major city centers in the world. A modern trope of extreme success and wealth, the skyscraper has become an architectural symbol for vibrant urban hubs and commercial powerhouses dominating cities like New York, Dubai, and Singapore.

While skyscrapers are omnipresent, 2018 introduced new approaches, technologies, and locations to the high-rise typology. From variations in materiality to form, designs for towers have started to address aspects beyond simply efficiency and height, proposing new ways for the repetitive form to bring unique qualities to city skylines. Below, a few examples of proposals and trends from 2018 that showcase the innovative ideas at work: 

Courtesy of Plompmozes© Rafael de la-Hoz Arquitectos© Virgile Simon BertrandCourtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects+ 13

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

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

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 / ATCHAINCourtesy of SOM / Brick VisualCourtesy of SOMCourtesy of SOM+ 12

SOM Selected to Design Green Masterplan for Eastern Paris

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.