Awards, Press Releases

SOM Master Plan Wins 2011 Burnham Award

Photo © SOM

Chicago, IL: The city design practice of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is delighted that its master plan for the Magellan Group’s Lakeshore East development was honored Monday with the Metropolitan Planning Council’s 2011 Burnham Award for Planning Excellence.

Philip Enquist, SOM Partner in Charge of Urban Planning worldwide, congratulated Magellan co-CEO’s James R. Loewenberg and Joel Carlins on receiving the Burnham Award at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) annual luncheon.

“This park-centered residential development in the heart of downtown Chicago represents the urban design excellence that can be achieved when developers, planners and city officials work together creatively to mix appropriate densities with green open spaces to construct an inviting, walkable community — and on such an exceptionally complex site,” Enquist said.

MPC President MarySue Barrett said in the award announcement, “The design challenges alone, including integrating the community into a multi-level road network and transforming the former Illinois Center rail yard, make this a nationally significant site.” It continued, “In every respect, Lakeshore East is an iconic 21st century neighborhood.” The $4-billion, 28-acre development’s master plan captures the essence of Daniel Burnham’s and Edward Bennett’s 1909 Plan of Chicago in its harmonious relationship of nature and city. One block north of Millennium Park — also master planned by SOM — Lakeshore East overlooks Lake Michigan and DuSable Harbor to the east and the Chicago River to the north.

Working with SOM to realize the plan’s public open-space commitment were the Texas-based Office of James Burnett and Chicagoan Ernest Wong’s Site Design Group that provided landscape architecture services for the development’s landmark — a central six-acre park (40 percent of the project area) with fountain basins, seating areas and ornamental gardens.

MPC’s Barrett called it “a community development success story, and a model for reimagining vast, formerly industrial parcels” like the Lakeside development being master planned by SOM for client McCaffery Interests on the former site of the US Steel Southworks Plant — also shown at Monday’s award ceremony.

SOM Managing Partner Richard Tomlinson observed today that “even in extremely difficult economic times, Lakeshore East’s right-place, right-design plan continues to blossom successfully as the largest big-city residential development underway in North America.”

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 1,400 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, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.