Research + Innovation

SOM is a laboratory that is constantly exploring new ways of practicing design.

We never stop pursuing new ideas

Every year, design and research teams at SOM generate new ideas that challenge how we will collaborate and build in the future. These ideas have a proven history of becoming industry standard practices worldwide.

AMIE 1.0
Fabrication of the AMIE 1.0 prototype. © Oak Ridge National Laboratory

SOM has invested in research that has transformed the architecture, engineering, and construction industry—from developing some of the earliest collaborative CAD platforms to devising the engineering solution for the world’s tallest building.

Whether working with university research teams to explore the next frontier in robotic fabrication, collaborating with space agencies to envision life beyond Earth, teaming up with real estate and industry partners to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete construction, or advancing our projects independently, we seize the opportunity to pursue new ideas and applications for the sustainable buildings, cities, and communities of the future. 

Spotlight: Algae-based construction material

As part of an ongoing partnership to turn the built environment into a climate solution, SOM and Prometheus Materials have developed an an algae-based construction material that absorbs carbon.. For the 2023 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the partnership installed Bio-Block™ Spiral: a public gathering space created using the material, assembled using conventional masonry techniques to underscore its viability.