The glassy corporate HQ is a timeworn trope of architectural expression. Ever since Mies van der Rohe proposed a speculative glass skyscraper for the skyline of 1920s Berlin, the idea of a solid block carved from translucency has intrigued architects and their clients, testing structural engineers and, in recent decades, environmental engineers to make this material perform to modern requirements.
SOM are a practice that straddles great swathes of Modernist history. Founded as Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in 1936, the firm is one of the original progenitors of corporate Modernism, creating vast campuses, sleek city HQs and towering offices around the globe. The JTI Headquarters brings the latest manifestation of modernist glass to the shores of Lake Geneva.