The Partners of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) are pleased to announce the release of SOM Journal 9 (Berlin: Hatje Cantz). The publication is the ninth installment in a continuing series that highlights the conceptual undercurrents being developed at SOM.
SOM Journal 9 presents a selection of recent projects by the firm as chosen by an external, interdisciplinary jury. The process of review by jury and its documentation of criticism—without participation or influence from any member of the firm—is an endeavor unique to SOM. Since the publication of SOM Journal 1 in 2000, the series has evolved to include scholarly essays and commentaries that examine a specific theme. SOM Journal 9 is devoted to the dual issues of design teamwork and leadership.
Peter MacKeith, Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, served as the editor for Journal 9. The jurors for this issue were: Michelle Addington, the Hines Professor of Sustainable Architectural Design at Yale University; Stefan Behnisch, an architect and Partner at Behnisch Architekten in Stuttgart, Germany; and Peter Rowe, the Raymond Garbe Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and the University Distinguished Service Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
The jury selected four finalists that, as a group, capture SOM’s diverse portfolio of projects and relate to the dual themes of SOM Journal 9. The four projects are: Baietan Urban Design Master Plan, a sustainable vision for a flood-prone district along the banks of the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China; Colpatria Calle 84, a low-lying residential development crafted from local materials in Bogota, Colombia; the New United States Courthouse in Los Angles, a bold, cubic structure currently under construction in California; and The Strand, American Conservatory Theater, a transformative restoration project underway in San Francisco, California.
Following the critique of these four projects, SOM Journal 9 examines the issues at hand through the following essays and dialogues: Peter MacKeith: Leadership/Teamwork in Practice, Part 2: An Interview with Helle Søholt and Olafur Eliasson; Peter MacKeith: Agency and Authorship: An Interview with John Harwood; Nicholas Adams: Gordon Bunshaft: What Convinces Is Conviction; Thomas de Monchaux: Clear All Ghosted; and Kenneth Frampton: Maison de Verre. To accompany these essays, New Republic architecture critic Sarah Goldhagen and educator Sarah Whiting, Dean of the Rice University School of Architecture, have each authored short commentaries on the central issues explored in this issue.
The SOM Journal 9 jury convened at the Maison de Verre in Paris, France, in November 2012. It has become a tradition that the jury deliberates in a great work of architecture; previous juries have met at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art and Alvar Aalto’s Maison Louis Carré.
From its inception, the primary function of the SOM Journal has been to generate an objective critique of the firm’s work as a means to initiate an internal conversation about how to elevate the quality of the dialogue and the design throughout the firm. The Journal has helped to reemphasize the culture of excellence that has defined SOM since its founding more than 75 years ago. SOM remains the most honored architectural firm in the world with more than 1,700 major design awards, more than 800 of which have been won since the Journal was started in 2000.
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’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award — in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.