SOM Featured Projects

SOM is a collective of architects, designers, engineers and planners working together to build a better future. Their firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), is responsible for some of the world’s most technically and environmentally advanced buildings and significant public spaces. Their approach is highly collaborative, and their interdisciplinary team is international. Working from a network of creative studios across the globe, they are able to apply international expertise at a local level.

SOM believes that design is about more than meeting people’s needs—it is the art of realizing their aspirations and changing the way they experience the world. The best results come from a balance of disciplines: planning, interiors, engineering, and architecture. This total design approach means seamless coordination, from the dynamic initial design stages to the pride in seeing users inspired by the end result.

Company Culture

Urgent environmental and social challenges place a greater emphasis on engineering solutions than ever before. The principle of architects and engineers working together is integral to SOM‘s culture. It allows them to focus their energies and to use resources economically. By understanding what is possible, they can achieve the seemingly impossible. Together, we can shape the future, by applying creativity and emergent technologies to design buildings that anticipate new ways of living, working and learning.
One of the key areas that SOM focuses their resources on is the development of young architects and designers from around the world. The key endeavor that facilitates this goal is the SOM Foundation, which was founded in 1979 with the goal to advance the design profession’s ability to address the key topics of our time by bringing together and supporting groups and individuals, each with the highest possible design aspirations. The Foundation’s award programming was established in 1981 and currently offers five annual awards across the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. The awards support students and faculty of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and engineering to undertake rigorous interdisciplinary research that can help shape our future.

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Architect-US J1 Visa Participants

Eftalia Proios Torras

Eftalia is a wonderful Young Spanish Architect that was able to leverage her experience working at SOM as a J1 Visa Exchange Participant to then apply for the O1 Visa and win it to go back to the same studio she worked at in Washington, DC with SOM. Before that initial experience in 2016, she had been taking on various internships in Barcelona at Ramon Sanabria Arquitectes Associats and Estudi d’Arquitectura Toni Gironès
After returning to Barcelona from her first work experience at SOM, she continued working on her Computer software skills and became a BIM Specialist at Pine Arq for a year. Now she is back in Washington DC as a Senior Architectural Designer. Every step of the way since 2016 we have been there with her, assisting with opening the necessary doors for her to succeed and apply her true potential to a top firm.

Esteban Becerril Pellon

Esteban is another top notch Spanish Architect that was able to join the Architect-US Job +J1 Visa Program and attain an incredible opportunity working with SOM in Washington DC. Before that he had the chance to intern for 3 months at a firm in in New York called APT Architecture. He was also able to win the O1 Visa through our partner sponsors, and extend his American Dream.
Since returning from the USA in 2018, Esteban has started his own studio called Becerril StudioHe has always dreamt of starting his own firm back in Spain, but he is grateful for the opportunities he was able to take advantage of in the USA. According to Esteban, it provided him with the necessary exposure to a variety of styles and techniques of running a firm to be able to be dynamic and adaptable as an entrepreneur.

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As you scroll through the following three projects they have created, consider all of these design techniques and ideas they have implemented.

SOM Selected Projects

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Project Completion: 2019
  • Site Area: 31,000 ft2
  • Project Area: 1,055,000 ft2
  • Number of Stories: 72
  • Building Height: 1,000 ft
  • Market: Commercial + Office, Hospitality, Mixed Use, Residential
  • Service: Architecture, Structural + Civil Engineering, Tall Buildings

Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center. This six-block area on Manhattan’s West Side, comprising 28 acres over active railroad tracks and tunnels, is being redeveloped for residential, commercial, and open public space use.

SOM provided architectural design and structural engineering services for 35 Hudson Yards, a mixed-use tower that is the development’s tallest residential building. The 1.1 million square-foot tower comprises 143 private residences, a luxury hotel, a fitness club and spa, first-class office space, and ground-floor retail. Transitions in program are expressed as a series of setbacks that twist around the tower. Terraces at each setback create outdoor gardens that become smaller and more frequent toward the top of the tower. Clad in limestone and glass, the building’s facade unifies the variety of programmatic elements stacked within. 35 Hudson Yards is designed to achieve LEED© Gold certification.

Images by SOM

Cathedral of Christ the Light

  • Location: Oakland, California
  • Project Completion: 2008
  • Site Area: 2.50 acres
  • Project Area: 250,000 ft2
  • Number of Stories: 1
  • Building Height: 136 ft
  • Market: Cultural
  • Service: Structural + Civil Engineering

The Cathedral of Christ the Light employs state-of-the-art technologies to create lightness and space. The 1,350-seat cathedral incorporates a highly innovative use of materials, including glue-laminated timber, architecturally exposed reinforced concrete, high-strength steel tension rods, aluminum, and glass to provide lightness and luminosity within an efficient structural form. With a building life goal of 300 years, it utilizes a base isolation system along with superstructure materials that allow the structure to resist strength and ductility demands beyond the maximum considered earthquake levels.

From the very beginning, the lightest ecological footprint was a core design objective. Through the use of renewable materials and other sustainable design strategies, the building minimizes the use of energy and natural resources. With the exception of evening activities, the cathedral is entirely lit by daylight to create an extraordinary level of luminosity. The structure’s concrete makes use of industrial waste fly ash, a by-product of coal production that requires less energy to produce than cement. The reuse of this material provides a better adhesive while reducing waste. An advanced version of the ancient Roman technique of thermal inertia maintains the interior climate with mass and radiant heat. Through displacement heating, small ducts beneath the pews cool the building from the floor.

Images by SOM

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Completion: 2020
  • Site Area: 31,560 ft2
  • Project Area: 524,000 ft2
  • Number of Stories: 42
  • Building Height: 440 ft
  • Market: Commercial + Office
  • Residential Service: Architecture, Structural + Civil Engineering, Tall Buildings

San Francisco’s Transit Center District is one of the most important development opportunities in the city’s history, and its transformation presents a bold vision for the South of Market Street neighborhood. Once isolated by residual 20th-century freeway infrastructure, the redesigned district—now a vibrant, fully integrated, mixed-use neighborhood—is a model for high density redevelopment.

The centerpiece of the district is 500 Folsom, a 42-story residential tower strategically sited adjacent the Bay Bridge offramp where it welcomes visitors arriving from the East Bay. Rising in a series of stacking volumes and topped with a unique terracotta crown, the tower is an iconic and distinguishing presence in San Francisco’s multifaceted skyline. The building features 428 market-rate units, 109 below-market-rate units, residential amenities such as a spa and indoor-outdoor recreation areas, and 289 below-grade parking spaces.

The building’s stacked composition echoes the scale of the neighborhood, strengthened by a series of alternating vertical spaces punctuated by red terracotta and residential balconies. Two mid-rise podiums, designed by Fougeron Architecture, anchor the tower and form an outdoor paseo that creates a link from Folsom to Clementina Street and Oscar Park beyond.

Images by SOM

Do not forget that we will be posting more work by SOM in the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for more of their incredible work!! Every Friday we will be posting a new Featured Company, so join us again next week!


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