Events, People

SOM Participates in 2019 CTBUH 10th World Congress in Chicago

Image © CTBUH

In October of 2019, SOM will participate in the annual conference of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). In celebration of the organization's 50th anniversary, the theme of this year's event is “50 Forward | 50 Back.” Programs and sessions will address topics that examine this critical juncture in time, reflecting on both the skyscraper typology and urban development as a whole.

SOM's Charles Besjak, Preetam BiswasScott Duncan, Luke Leung, Kenneth Lewis, Turner Solterman, Kim Van HolsbekeDouglas Voigt, and Samuel Wilson will participate in various presentations, workshops, panels, programs, and tours. Each will share a unique perspective on a variety of topics and pressing issues within urban design, architecture, structural engineering, and sustainability. Details are below.

Location of all events, unless otherwise noted:
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel
221 North Columbus Drive
Chicago, Illinois

Composite Skyscraper Structural Systems: A Fundamental Paradigm Shift
Turner Solterman
October 28, 2019
1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Structural engineering techniques that have revolutionized the field over the past half century have had to contend with all the challenges introduced by building at such heights, from breaking up strong wind currents that can cause occupant discomfort, to anticipating and preparing for seismic events with variances in rigidity, strength, and stability. At the Tall Building Structures Workshop, structural engineering assistant Turner Solterman's presentation will focus on how the evolution of composite systems resulted in many interpretations of structural form, the most common being a concrete core wall system surrounded by steel floor framing. As additional environmental and resilience related considerations increase, however, composite building philosophies continue to emerge and evolve to address these new design challenges; the integration of mass timber and the utilization of topology optimization across multiple materials to further reduce consumption are two examples.

Learn more about the Tall Building Structures Workshop here

The Dewitt Chestnut Apartments: The First Tubular Skyscraper
Samuel Wilson
October 28, 2019 
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

The skyscraper was invented in Chicago in the late 19th century. Internal steel or cast-iron frames, technological innovations in foundation systems and vertical transportation, and great demand for commercial space led to the construction of the first wave of tall buildings. The tall buildings of the early 20th century represented incremental improvements on the same idea, through innovation in construction planning, materials science, and geotechnical engineering. The lateral systems of these tall buildings were composed of rows of steel portal frames or interior bracing systems, both of which carry a significant premium for height—the material for a tall building required above and beyond what is required to resist the gravity load alone. 

In the 1960s, Fazlur Khan upended this paradigm with the design of the Dewitt Chestnut Apartments tower. Structural engineer Samuel Wilson will present his poster on Khan's innovation to conceive of and design the skyscraper as a single cantilevered tube rather than a stack of planar, rigid frames, which ushered in a new age of tower design and construction.

Learn more about the Dewitt Chestnut Apartments session here

400 Lake Shore Drive: Designing a New Gateway to Chicago
Scott Duncan
October 29, 2019
11:30 a.m - 1:00 p.m.

As part of the Developments in Chicago session, Design Partner Scott Duncan will present 400 Lake Shore Drive. Chicago has experienced a resurgence in tall buildings since the low point of the 2008 financial crisis. Soon the city will have several new buildings in its top-10 tallest ranks. This time around, the innovations have been as much about new kinds of programming, previously underutilized sites, and integration with the life of the city, as previous waves have highlighted structural and sculptural ingenuity. At 400 Lake Shore Drive, for example, the "Chicago window" is designed to create a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, while the exterior of each tower incorporates expansive outdoor terraces to extend individual residences beyond their walls. Adjacent to the project, an expanded Riverwalk will bridge the gap between downtown and the lakefront by connecting to a reimagined DuSable Park—a new public park in the heart of the city.

Learn more about the Developments in Chicago session here

Bold Plans for the Future: Redefining Chicago as the American City
Douglas Voigt
October 29, 2019
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

The interface between a tall building and its context at street level is a critical design element and key to its ultimate success. Urban Design and Planning Partner Doug Voigt will participate in the Urban Habitat 2.0 session for a conversation on the re-imagination and revitalization of Chicago's long-neglected neighborhoods. 

With reference to major new mixed-use districts across the city, including Lincoln Yards, and The 78; major new investments by institutions, including the Illinois Medical District, the University of Chicago, and the Obama Presidential Center; and the redevelopment of O’Hare International Airport, this presentation will illustrate how Chicago can be a model for the future American city, and how it can continue to adapt and sustain its uniqueness among global cities through principles of livability, resiliency, and respect for local culture.

Learn more about the Urban Habitat 2.0 session here

Smart Cities: Connecting the Dots
Luke Leung
October 30, 2019
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Developing and marketing tall building properties has typically been a conversation about square footage, amenities, and return on capital. For the "Smart Cities: Connecting the Dots" panel discussion, Design Director Luke Leung will share ideas about how longterm development planning must also take account of enabling technologies that may be both within and exterior to the buildings themselves. This demands new alignment and strategic thinking around the confluence of technology and telecom companies, government, transportation and utilities providers, and the private development community.

Learn more about the Smart Cities: Connecting the Dots panel discussion here

NYC Regional City Program: 35 Hudson Yards & One Manhattan West
Kenneth Lewis, Charles Besjak, Kim Van Holsbeke, Preetam Biswas
November 1, 2019
12:00 - 4:30 p.m. 

360 W. 31st Street, 8th Floor
New York, New York

35 Hudson Yards and Manhattan West—two large-scale developments on Manhattan's West Side—will be presented as part of the CTBUH World Congress Regional City Program in New York City. 

Managing Partner Kenneth Lewis and Director of Structural Engineering Charles Besjak will discuss their work on 35 Hudson Yards, a 72-story mixed-use tower in the new Hudson Yards neighborhood. Characterized by its striking design and materiality, 35 Hudson Yards reflects the integration of architecture and engineering, and overcoming challenging site constraints while maintaining non-stop operation of critical infrastructure.

Directors Kim Van Holsbeke and Preetam Biswas will examine Manhattan West, a new seven-million-square-foot development that will complete the transformation of the Far West Side. The project will comprise two office towers, a residential tower, two acres of public open space, and 225,000 square feet of retail and dining amenities. The development was made possible by the construction of a 2.6-acre platform that covers active rail tracks connecting Penn Station to New Jersey and upstate New York.

Learn more about the NYC Regional City Program session here