Awards, Press Releases

Three SOM Projects Honored by AIA International Region

Today, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) received three Design Awards from the AIA International Region. The awards program, which is in its inaugural year, recognizes outstanding architectural design and honor the architects, clients and consultants who work together to achieve design excellence. In the Architecture category, the Burj Khalifa received an Honor Award, and The Park Hyderabad received a Merit Award. The Baietan Urban Design Master Plan received a Merit Award in the Urban Design category. Winners were recognized at an awards presentation and dinner in Hong Kong.

The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building, soaring 828 meters above Dubai. The 162-story tower contains offices, retail space, residential units, and a Giorgio Armani hotel. The overall design of the building was inspired by the geometries of a regional desert flower and the patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture. Built of reinforced concrete and clad in glass, the building is composed of three elements arranged around a concrete core. High performance concrete walls are used for three wings that buttress one another via the building's hexagonal, central hub. These elements support the core against the wind. As it rises from a flat base, setbacks occur at each element in an upward spiraling pattern, reducing the tower’s mass as it reaches skyward. At the pinnacle, the central core emerges and is sculpted to form a spire.

The Park Hyderabad, a 531,550-square-foot hotel located in southern India, combines sustainable design strategies with local craft traditions. The building's form maximizes views and daylighting while minimizing solar heat gain. Its distinctive facade, made of perforated and embossed metal screens that shield a high-performance glazing system, provides privacy for guests of the 270-room hotel, but also allows light to enter the interior spaces. Although it affects an extraordinary sense of lightness, the facade also functions as effective acoustic insulation from trains passing nearby. The building’s three sides wrap a central, elevated courtyard with swimming and dining areas. Interiors utilize jewel tones throughout the lobby, retail, and lounge spaces in reference to the region’s reputation as a center of gemstone and textile production. The building achieved the first LEED® Gold certification for a hotel in India.

The Baietan Urban Design Master Plan demonstrates that density is fundamental to successful urban revitalization, ecological renewal, and sustainable growth. Approved by the city government of Guangzhou in 2010, the scheme transforms a former industrial zone along the banks of the Pearl River in China into a new city that will accommodate more than 740,000 residents and 660,000 employees. For the development, the design team created a distinct, diverse, and sustainable neighborhood identity that respects its waterfront location and the intrinsic qualities of local Lingnan culture. The plan adds 5,600 new buildings and repurposes old ones, calls for new traffic flows to minimize congestion, and aims to mitigate the effects of frequent flooding by means of canals and a riparian waterfront zone. Population-dense neighborhoods will be located near transit hubs, and residents will have ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, thanks to more than 1,300 hectares of green space.

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.