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Landmark Projects from SOM's International Portfolio to Be Featured at 2014 Architecture Biennale

Photo © Ezra Stoller | Esto

New York, NY – Dozens of landmark projects designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) will be featured at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at the 2014 Venice Biennale. The selections, which encapsulate more than 50 years of the firm’s work abroad, will be a crucial component of the OfficeUS exhibition at the American Pavilion. OfficeUS will explore the last 100 years of United States architectural production abroad and the ways in which the U.S. architecture office has exported architecture around the globe. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is also an OfficeUS Benefactor.

The exhibition will include an onsite archive, known as the “Repository,” which will document 1,000 projects from the last 100 years, designed by 200 U.S. architectural offices working abroad. Like books in a library, each project will be displayed in an individual binder filled with sketches, photographs, diagrams, and publications.

Within the pages of SOM’s binders are some of the most striking architectural achievements of the 20th century: from Banque Lambert, SOM’s first major building outside of the United States for a foreign client, to Jeddah’s majestic, travertine-clad National Commercial Bank, to the Hajj Terminal, the landmark airport in the Arabian Desert. More recent achievements, such as the Pearl River Tower, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2, will also be spotlighted. One binder in the Repository will include a trove of historic SOM office ephemera, including office photos, stationery, business cards, and logos. Collectively, SOM’s office and project materials—which will fill more than 500 pages within the archive—tell the story of the firm’s longstanding commitment to bringing a combination of design, management, and technical expertise to every project around the world.

The rich and comprehensive Repository is open to the public and will also serve as a resource for a group of eight architects, selected from an international open call, who will work on site throughout the Biennale. These architects, along with visiting experts, will use the projects and materials in the archive to construct an agenda for the future production of architecture.

OfficeUS is curated by Eva Franch Gilabert, Director and Chief Curator of New York City’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, along with Ana Miljacki, a theoretician and designer currently at MIT, and Ashley Schafer, Editor of the architecture journal, Praxis. A series of accompanying lectures and workshops have been planned during the exhibition period. Four catalogs will be published by Lars Müller to document the exhibition. OfficeUS is open to the public from June 7-November 23, 2014.

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.