An architecture critic takes stock of SOM in its 85th year.

Burj Khalifa set the tone for SOM through the 2010s. The dozens of projects that followed are seamless, elegant buildings whose forms, programs, and functions seem simple, even inevitable, although they are anything but. Photo © Nick Merrick | Hedrich Blessing

Our sixth monograph, SOM: Works by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 2009–2019, is now available online and in bookstores. …

After years of hunting on eBay for SOM artifacts, historian Nicholas Adams shares his favorite finds.

SOM partners during a 1954 meeting in San Francisco. Despite the firm’s many thousands of buildings completed since its founding in 1936, there was no comprehensive overview of SOM as a whole before Nicholas Adams began his multi-decade quest to document its history. (© SOM)

The author of two books on SOM, most recently Gordon Bunshaft and SOM: Building Corporate Modernism, Nicholas Adams probably knows the firm’s history better than anyone. He is also keenly aware of the gaps in the historical record. That’s why Adams has spent years hunting for artifacts related to SOM…

As travelers fill the new skylit concourse, we trace the history of the station that’s become an emblem of New York’s recovery.

Photo: Dave Burk © SOM | Empire State Development

With the heat and humidity rising, many New Yorkers are continuing a time-honored summer ritual: getting out of town. At the same time, while tourism is still far its pre-pandemic levels, a trickle of vacationing visitors has begun to reanimate the city. …

Completed decades after her first collaboration with SOM, a Florida tower offer clues to a more experimental side of the famed designer.

For Southeast Financial Center, the interiors team worked so closely with Florence Knoll Bassett that the team referred to her as “The Design Committee.” Photo © Peter Aaron | ESTO

When thinking of Florence Knoll Bassett and SOM, it’s only natural to visualize 1950s Bloomfield, Connecticut, and the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company headquarters. There, the glass and steel architecture of Gordon Bunshaft and SOM hosted the impossibly stylish office interiors done by Knoll Associates. …

A champion for equity and inclusion is making a difference in the design industry.

Ammee on a backpacking trip to the Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming. All photos © Ammee Snyder unless otherwise cited.

San Francisco-based architect Ammee Snyder doesn’t hesitate to tackle complex challenges, whether in her design work at SOM or in advocating for greater equity and representation throughout the industry. For this edition of “Spotlight,” a series on personal and professional journeys, Ammee shares what motivates and inspires her.

In the…

An architect reflects on connection, identity, and community.

Andy in the Catskill Mountains. All images © Andy Rah unless otherwise cited.

For New York-based architect Andy Rah, the pandemic has been a time to refocus. Taking the chance to get long-held ideas off the ground, he worked with his colleagues to launch the Asian Alliance, a group dedicated to uplifting and advocating for Asian communities at SOM worldwide. …

In four years, UC Merced doubled in size and met its net-zero carbon goal ahead of schedule. That’s just the beginning.

Photo: Dave Burk © SOM

If you’ve driven from Los Angeles to San Francisco along Interstate 5 — that perfectly straight highway surrounded by open fields and farmland — then you have a sense for the vast horizons of California’s agrarian heartland, the San Joaquin Valley.

As part of the expansive Central Valley, which stretches…

What if architecture and urban design could function as an “immune system” for where we congregate?

It’s been a full year since the W.H.O. declared COVID-19 a pandemic, upending just about every facet of life around the world since. Thankfully, millions of people every day are now receiving their vaccines, bringing us closer to some semblance of “normal” again. But looking towards the future, we know…

An architect‘s journey, from dance to design.

Hayley with her daughter at the Nishi Hongwanji Obon Festival in Los Angeles, 2019.

She spends her days designing buildings, but Hayley Saita hasn’t hung up her ballet shoes. In this edition of “Spotlight,” a series on personal and professional journeys, Hayley tells us what architecture and choreography have in common.

I never thought about becoming an architect as a kid. I started studying…

Photographer Wayne Thom and author Emily Bills discuss an under-appreciated era in architecture.

Inside the Bank of America data center in San Francisco, featuring a wall sculpture by Claire Kahn. (© Wayne Thom | The Monacelli Press)

When a renewed interest in Late Modernism arrives, there’s a good chance Wayne Thom’s photography will play a role in understanding the buildings that best represent the period.

Thom, now 87, began his prolific career in 1968. His work took him around the world but was mostly rooted in the…


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