People, SOM in the Press

Women Take Charge at SOM

SOM Partners Carrie Byles, Xuan Fu, and Laura Ettelman. Photos © Cody Pickens; Lucas Blair Simpson | SOM

Source: Architectural Record

Back when Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings formed an architectural practice in Chicago in 1936, and then brought engineer John Merrill into its fledgling New York office in 1939, it was men who ran firms (Julia Morgan being a rare exception). Men continued to dominate the leadership at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) over the decades as it grew to today’s approximately 1,250-person firm with nine international offices. [...]

But, as of this fall, three female partners will take charge of SOM’s Executive Commit­tee: Carrie Byles, in the San Francisco office, has been on the committee since 2016; Xuan Fu, from Chicago, joined in 2019; and now the 2020 ascension of Laura Ettelman, in the New York office, to this tier makes SOM highly unusual to be a top-10 U.S. architecture firm entirely run by women.

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