Projects to Watch in 2024

A preview of the year ahead in architecture, engineering, interiors, and urban design

Ahead of the new year, we are excited to showcase a selection of our work in progress—including several projects unveiled here for the first time. While this work ranges widely in location and scale, it reflects a design approach that is firmly rooted in a sense of place. From a residential tower on Mexico’s Pacific coast to an oceanarium on the Red Sea, each design responds to the local culture and climate. Equally apparent is a commitment to enhancing the public realm; a number of these projects involve transforming waterfront sites into accessible places for people to enjoy.

Across the board, our design teams are delivering on our commitment to reduce the carbon impact of building construction and operations. As scaffolding comes down, these new buildings show what is possible when architects and engineers collaborate to deliver sophisticated technical solutions—from the innovative engineering of a Los Angeles art museum’s dramatic new building, to the sensitive retrofit of a modernist building in Milan that repurposes and reuses existing materials. These are just a few of the highlights; we’re excited for all of the progress that 2024 will bring.

An innovative structure merges architecture and landscape

Sany IROOTECH Headquarters
Guangzhou, China

Sany Guangzhou under construction

For the headquarters of its new cloud technology company, the construction equipment manufacturer Sany engaged SOM to make a bold architectural statement. The two towers of the complex are united by a striking structural design—an external system of five-story steel columns rising in a diamond grid pattern. As beautiful as it is efficient, this design allows the floors to be suspended from the structure, eliminating the need for cumbersome interior columns, while also creating space for outdoor garden terraces. With construction well underway, the new Sany headquarters is slated for completion in late 2024.

The design team gave just as much attention to the space surrounding the towers, located at the center of Guangzhou’s Pazhou business district. Rather than a typical solid podium base, an elevated podium bridges the two buildings, allowing the ground between them to become an inviting public plaza and gardens. Sensitive to Pazhou’s climate, landscape, and context, the design integrates nature in order to create a more inviting and connected workplace.

A major new development reconnects Nashville with its riverfront

Nashville Riverside
Nashville, Tennessee


First announced in 2021, a highly anticipated development in Nashville will soon break ground along the banks of the Cumberland River. Continuing a decades-long effort to reconnect the city with its riverfront, SOM’s master plan for Nashville Riverside interweaves residential and commercial buildings with new parks and recreation areas, including large outdoor spaces to host events and festivals. The project is designed to catalyze further development along the length of the Cumberland, emphasizing access, amenities, and ecological stewardship. The entitlements process with the City of Nashville is now complete, allowing construction to begin early next year.

Landscape design is the key to the new development; it is connected by three new parks spanning more than 25 acres. Along the river’s edge, the native riparian habitat will be restored and enhanced, preventing erosion and improving resilience during major storm events. A series of transportation improvements, including pedestrian and bike pathways, will further improve public access to the riverfront.

An office complex is renewed through an innovative approach to conservation

Corso Italia 23
Milan, Italy


In central Milan, an office complex designed in the 1960s by a team of influential modernist architects is being reimagined through an innovative approach to conservation and adaptive reuse. The transformed Corso Italia 23 sees the introduction of advanced environmental, well-being, and smart building features, while respecting the original architecture by the studio Ponti Fornaroli Rosselli with Piero Portaluppi. The renovation project is slated for completion next year.

To transform a formerly insular headquarters into an open campus, integrated with the city and designed to accommodate the needs of future tenants for years to come, the facade of each of the three buildings within the 46,500-square-meter complex has been carefully redesigned, taking into consideration environmental performance, heritage value, and the surrounding urban context. Portions of an existing red granite facade, severely damaged due to previous building interventions, have been reused to create a crushed aggregate for a new facade made of glass fiber reinforced concrete. By repurposing existing materials, rather than replacing them, the project demonstrates a circular economy approach to reducing the carbon impact of construction.

A museum’s metamorphosis is on display

LACMA, David Geffen Galleries
Los Angeles

© Atelier Peter Zumthor | The Boundary

Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s new building for the permanent collection is being unveiled as temporary shoring starts to come down. Designed by Atelier Peter Zumthor in collaboration with SOM, the David Geffen Galleries building transforms the LACMA campus. When it is completed in 2024, the David Geffen Galleries will become one of LA’s defining cultural monuments. The elevated structure spans across Wilshire Boulevard to create a seamless, single-level gallery experience. It features approximately 110,000 square feet of galleries, a new theater, education and event spaces, restaurants, a museum shop, and ancillary facilities. New parks and open spaces complete the reimagined campus.

As collaborative architects and structural engineers, our goal has been to bring sophisticated resource management, structural solutions, and seismic protection for LACMA’s prized art collection. SOM’s team of engineers and architects devised a suite of 56 state-of-the-art seismic base isolators, each weighing up to 40,000 pounds, to protect the building and the art inside from earthquakes—an innovative solution for the largest art museum in the West.

A new university campus combines tradition and modernity

Kuwait University Administration Facilities
Shadadiya, Kuwait

© Kuwait University

Next year will see the first students and faculty moving into the new Administration Facilities at Kuwait University’s Sabah Al-Salem University City, one of the world’s largest educational campuses. Forming a gateway to the new campus, the six interconnected buildings—a library, cultural center, visitor’s center, conference facility, central administration building, and a landmark convocation hall—will serve the varied needs of 40,000 students, faculty, staff, and visitors. 

While each building serves distinct programmatic needs, they share a common architectural identity that draws from Kuwait’s rich architectural heritage while countering its harsh desert climate. These include a unique system of shading screens, designed to be lightweight and elegant, that enwraps each building and casts dramatic light and shadow. Inspired by elements found in traditional Middle Eastern Islamic architecture, the screen system features intricate patterns—born from a collaboration with a Kuwaiti poet and artist—that echo abstracted calligraphy of Kufic scripts and verses from Arabic poetry.

A waterfront destination takes shape in Shanghai

South Bund Financial Center
Shanghai, China


SOM’s design for the South Bund Financial Center envisions a dynamic renewal of one of the last remaining areas along the South Bund that has not yet been redeveloped. In contrast to other projects in Shanghai, our masterplan strikes a careful and intentional balance between historic preservation and new construction. The plan retains and preserves historic buildings, while floating new office buildings above them—creating a dynamic mix of uses that will transform the site into a commercial and cultural destination. In this way, the project offers a compelling model for how to preserve and redevelop historic industrial sites throughout China.

The design adds to the existing promenade with a series of new platform parks. Perched above the seawall, these terraces offer magnificent views above the riverfront. Elevated walkways, reminiscent of maritime gangways once found along the waterfront, connect the terraces to create a network of shaded public spaces. Groundbreaking will take place before the Chinese New Year, in February 2024.

An extroverted campus enhances the public realm along the San Francisco Bay

Genesis Marina
Brisbane, California

Genesis Marina
© Phase 3 Real Estate Partners, Inc.

The world’s largest cluster of biotech companies can be found between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and soon, a new, multi-tenant life sciences campus will open here that is unlike any other in the region. Spanning a nine-acre waterfront site, SOM’s design for Genesis Marina creates a uniquely public-facing campus. The three-building complex is oriented toward the San Francisco Bay, with a series of cascading steps and grassy terraces for visitors to enjoy. 

Notably, Genesis Marina extends and enriches the San Francisco Bay Trail, augmenting the 500-mile waterfront walking and cycling path by a quarter mile. The project demonstrates a commitment to resilience against sea level rise through its design and landscape strategy.

Developed by Phase 3 Real Estate Partners, a firm that specializes in life sciences facilities, Genesis Marina offers world-class laboratory and office spaces. An innovative, modular design allows tenants to tailor their spaces by selecting equipment and components to support their research and discoveries. With amenity spaces including a restaurant and an indoor-outdoor gym—shared by tenants and also welcoming the broader community—Genesis Marina aspires to become a meeting place for the Bay Area’s brightest minds.

A new residential landmark provides vibrant public space

Horizon (Castle Quay Phase II)
Jersey, Channel Islands

© Marc Le Cornu

Located on the largest of the Channel Islands—an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy—SOM’s design for Horizon (Castle Quay Phase II) connects the waterfront of the capital, St. Helier, with its town center and sensitively complements the existing architectural character of the island. Already, the development has begun to welcome its first residents, and new public spaces surrounding the complex are due to open early next year.

The new residential complex overlooks the historic Elizabeth Castle, named after Queen Elizabeth I by Sir Walter Raleigh, Governor of Jersey between 1600 and 1603. The complex—comprising three geometric blocks—provides residents with stunning views overlooking the castle and surrounding area with each of the total 280 one, two and three-bedroom apartments designed to maximize natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Strengthening public routes and connections between the town center and waterfront, over 50 percent of the site is dedicated to public space with specially commissioned art, including a monumental 7-meter-tall sculpture resembling a ship’s sail by internationally-acclaimed Chinese artist, Zheng Lu.

A new home for research to advance the conservation of the Red Sea’s coral reefs

Oceanarium and Coral Farm
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Next year, construction is set to begin on an oceanarium and coral farm in Jeddah that will showcase, cultivate and conserve marine life in the Red Sea. Once complete, the research laboratory and visitor attraction will house approximately 500 marine species and set a new benchmark for marine conservation, including the preservation of coral reefs—an integral part of marine ecosystems that help to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere and mitigate the effects of climate change. 

Tuned to the local climate, the design includes interpretations of traditional architectural elements including rawasheen, a style of bay window that maximizes natural light and airflow to provide a cooling effect in Jeddah’s climate. Floating roshan timber screens serve as canopies and partitions throughout. Calibrated to balance passive solar shading and daylighting to promote coral growth in the Coral Farm, the screens reduce temperatures inside the space and maximize energy savings.

Embracing local materials in Mexico

Alisia Residential Tower
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


At the edge of a marina known as Iguana Island, Alisia, a new residential tower in Puerto Vallarta, is set to break ground later this year. Our design for the 27-floor tower celebrates locally crafted materials and finishes that reflect Mexico’s rich architectural heritage. To create the tower’s distinctive presence, we collaborated with a local cement manufacturer to create a custom low-carbon concrete cast with a soft, reddish sandstone pigment native to the region.

Set back from the edges of the marina and fishermen’s wharf, the tower is surrounded by a terraced landscape carefully blended with the natural habitat to preserve existing wildlife and local fishing practices. The tower’s deep cantilevered balconies evoke natural coral formations eroded over time, perforated with large, round openings which enable natural cross-ventilation to mitigate humidity and reduce sun exposure. The structural system is designed with the high-seismic and high-wind conditions of Puerto Vallarta in mind.

A 1970s SOM classic gets a contemporary update

9 West 57th Street
New York City

Lucas Blair Simpson © SOM
Lucas Blair Simpson © SOM

In 1971, the Solow Development Corporation tasked SOM with designing an office tower that defied all conventions of a skyscraper. The building had to maximize interior capacity, attract pedestrian attention, and satisfy New York City zoning rules, which mandated that sufficient space remain between buildings to allow sunlight to reach the street. The result—9 West 57th Street—is still today one of the most prominent and distinctive office buildings along the threshold of Central Park. The 49-story tower is distinguished by north and south elevations that, rather than recess with setbacks, gradually slope inward and narrow as they rise.

SOM is now leading a comprehensive interior renovation of the Solow Building. In the original travertine lobby, artwork and new lighting is introduced to brighten the previously dark space, while a new vestibule leads to the lower level. Underground, a former storage space is being transformed into a fitness center, the core of which will be visible from the street through a new skylight installed within the tower’s glass-enclosed rotunda.

The fitness center will open in April of next year, and in January, the new 27th-floor amenity level will begin serving all tower tenants. Meeting rooms will be situated along the northern side of the building, set against expansive views of Central Park’s tree canopies. A central lounge, with abundant seating, tables, greenery, and coffee bars clad in blue marble, will provide a relaxing setting to convene. These private spaces in the sky will be complemented by an outdoor public gathering place at street level, set within a revamped western plaza with new trees and cafe-style seating—all of which will renew 9 West 57th Street as a fresh yet familiar landmark.