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Phil Enquist Honored by Society of Architectural Historians

Photo © SOM

Chicago, IL: The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) will present its inaugural SAH Award for Excellence in Design, Planning and Sustainability to Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) Urban Design and Planning Partner Philip J. Enquist, FAIA, at their Awards Gala in Chicago on Nov. 10, 2012. The recognition honors Enquists leadership on the Vision for the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River Region, a pro-bono initiative that sets forth a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River watershed. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin is one of 263 watersheds that spans national boundaries and Enquist believes that planning must address the basin comprehensively.

Its humbling that the SAH is honoring us for this future-oriented project, Enquist says. We have a responsibility to be stewards of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin, which represents 20 percent of the planet's fresh surface water. We must design our cities and region to eliminate waste, relying on innovative and sustainable strategies. We can and must ensure fresh water for all future generations."

The Great Lakes currently face pollution threats from coal-fired power plants and nutrient and pesticide runoffs from agriculture that disrupt ecological function. Cities cause further damage to water quality with combined sewer outflows and pharmaceutical wastes. Many Great Lakes cities, both American and Canadian, are depleting groundwater resources. In addition, the region is dependent on fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned. 

Despite these threats, Enquist believes that the strategies in the Vision for the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River Region can create prosperity with environmental stewardship. The project defines strategic principles that support broad-based, bi-national dialogue about how to strengthen the region. It outlines strategies for cities, mobility and clean energy and proposes the first international park to celebrate the vast but vulnerable watershed.

The Vision for the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River Region Century has effectively focused attention on the opportunities and challenges associated with the future of the Great Lakes. SOM has engaged scientists, politicians, environmentalists, businesses, and public policy advocates from over 35 organizations and presented the vision in over 20 speaking engagements. The idea was unanimously approved by the 74 mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

The SAH mission of making man-made structures and landscapes relevant to contemporary cultural life is increasingly important, SAH Executive Director Pauline Saliga says. Our inaugural SAH Awards for Excellence celebrate pivotal contributions to design made in the fields of architecture, media, urban planning, and preservation. We are delighted to honor Phil Enquist for this innovative design work.

About SOMs City Design Practice

Founded in 1936, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP is one of the world's leading architecture, urban design, engineering, and interior architecture firms. SOMs global City Design Practice advances bold ideas for the future of cities, creating sustainable, livable and resilient places on five continents. The City Design Practice the most highly awarded urban planning group has completed some of the largest and most complex urban development projects in the world, such as the Beijing CBD East Expansion and Canary Wharf in London. Major projects in Chicago include the Chicago Central Area Plan, Millennium Park Master Plan, Lakeshore East Master Plan, and Chicago Riverwalk Framework Plan. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.

About The Society of Architectural Historians

SAH is an international organization dedicated to the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, landscapes, and urbanism for the benefit of all. SAH is headquartered in Chicagos historic Charnley-Persky House, one of the few extant Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright residences. The new SAH awards continue the mission of the organization and the house by honoring excellence in design related professions.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP 

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75‐year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm has been honored with more than 1,400 awards for quality, innovation,and management. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Brussels, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.