Press Releases

SOM Launches Los Angeles Design Studio

Image © SOM/Fotoworks

San Francisco, CA: The Partners of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) announced today that they are launching a new design studio as part of their West Coast practice. Leading the new studio are three former SOM architects: Michael Mann, FAIA; Paul Danna, AIA; and Jose Luis Palacios, AIA.

“Michael, Paul and Jose have the SOM DNA,” said Gene Schnair, FAIA, Managing Partner in SOM’s San Francisco office. “They are such an important part of the LA design community and we are delighted that they are rejoining our firm.” Craig Hartman, FAIA, the Design Partner in SOM’s San Francisco office, wholeheartedly agrees. “We want to be part of the dialogue in LA — a tremendously important cultural and talent hub and a diverse design-centric city. With Michael, Paul and Jose leading our studio,” Hartman continued, “we will be part of the conversation and be able to collaborate meaningfully with colleagues and institutions that we’ve known for years.” The firm will join forces with some of the world’s greatest academic institutions, peers and experts on research and project initiatives to be led by Mann, Danna and Palacios.

Michael Mann’s career began at SOM and he has worked on significant Los Angeles-based projects including SOM’s Gas Company Tower. He has directed and managed major domestic and international projects throughout his 30-year career and he will serve as LA Practice Leader/Management for SOM’s Los Angeles design studio. Michael is on the Board of the newly formed Los Angeles Center for Architecture and Urban Design.

Paul Danna’s connection to SOM began when he won the SOM Foundation Traveling Fellowship upon graduation from Harvard’s GSD program. His two-decade career includes diverse, highly recognized and award-winning projects including numerous LEED® Gold-certified buildings. He is a leader in the Los Angeles design community and has served as President of AIA|LA and he is on the Board of the Architectural Guild of the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture. Paul currently serves on the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Design Advisory Panel. He will serve as LA Practice Leader/Design for SOM’s Los Angeles studio.

Like Michael Mann, Jose Luis Palacios’ career began at SOM. His work entails a broad range of building types including the design of civic, government and public safety complexes. His work includes the recently completed LAPD Headquarters and he has designed stations for the California High Speed Rail project. Jose has most recently taught at the University of Southern California School of Architecture. He will work as LA Practice Leader/Design for SOM’s Los Angeles studio. SOM’s presence in Southern California — until recently driven by the firm’s San Francisco office — includes significant new commissions such as UCLA’s new Medical Education Building which will become a new front door for the campus and the Medical School; a new mixed-use project at UC Santa Barbara and a new courthouse for the Superior Court of California in San Diego which will be the State’s largest. These projects are directly in line with the firm’s commitment to urban, environmental and social sustainability.

“We’ve been aggressively pursuing work in Southern California with great results,” said Schnair. “We couldn’t be more pleased about the new commissions, the new studio and our new leaders.” In fact, the firm’s San Francisco office has grown significantly in the past 12 months, bolstered by new work throughout the Pacific Rim and specifically, California — the result of which has lead to nearly 15% staff growth in that office.

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 1,500 awards for quality, innovation and management. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award – in 1962 and again in 1996. SOM’s San Francisco office received the 2011 Firm Award from the AIA’s California Council and the firm’s Chicago office was named the 2011 Firm of the Year by AIA Chicago. SOM maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.