On Wednesday, March 16th, SOM's Chicago office and Metropolis Magazine hosted a "think tank" event, moderated by Susan S. Szenasy, the magazine's Publisher and Editor in Chief. Themed "Innovation in Action," the evening featured a panel discussion on three pioneering projects, each driven by unique research partnerships: the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) project, the Timber Tower research project, and UI LABS. The panel featured members of each of the three teams: Roderick Jackson, Group Leader of Buildings Envelope Systems Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Benton Johnson, Structural Engineering Associate at SOM, and Steve Fifita, Executive Director City Digital at UI LABS.
Speaking on SOM's ongoing partnership with ORNL for the AMIE project, Roderick Jackson said, "We looked at how we could leverage this as a tool to advance science, design, engineering, and architecture to do things that we couldn't do before because we were limited by materials we had been using for centuries."
On advancements in 3D-printing and sustainable design realized for AMIE, Benton Johnson added, "SOM has always worked to optimize and innovate in energy usage, but now that sustainability is a central issue, it's all the more critical."
Steve Fifita emphasized the need for collaborations in a digital era. "At the core of UI LABS' focus is collaborative innovation, and the belief that in order to tackle large states of change and transformation at the industry level, you need to bring in diverse groups for collaboration," he said.
Watch this video to find out more about SOM's recent research partnerships.