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Meet The Maker: SOM ArchitectsArchitecture | Iconic Architecture

author Sephora Arthur Contributor

If it takes two flints to light a fire, then it took 3 rock-ribbed stellar architects validating the potency of collaborated working to coin SOM-a firm that grew to becoming Chicago's finest and very sought after.

Principal Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

The trilogy sparked off way back in the 1930s with the 10 year alliance between principal architects Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings who eventually joined forces with John O Merrill in 1949.The tie-up was one of the many partnerships that simulated an incessant, expanding network of iconic structures all across the globe. The world lauds them for their repertoire of skyscraping sensations even though their competences are farfetched, taking on pioneering proposals for residences, educational institutions, public delineation, corporate edifices and mixed use developments.

Sky is the limit, but not for this one

The cross section of the record breaker, the Burj Khalifa is a tapered 3 arm analogous module projecting tier by tier diminishing towards perhaps the world's steepest spire. Construction of the predominantly ferroconcrete tower began in 2004 and besides being the tallest; it endows the highest observation deck in the world. As the exterior facade draws inspiration from the great mosque of Samara, SOM architects have drafted out a layout to meet the requisites of plush residences and superabundant hotel rooms. The 27 setbacks create breakout spaces serving as outdoor decks suspended by as much as 4000 tonnes of structural steel. The reflective glass and textured spandrel panels in aluminum and steel together with the tubular fins form a dynamic yet protective skin to counteract the tepid climate of Dubai.

The crystal cantilever creates an open congenial plaza

In close quarters with Geneva based Group 8 architects, SOM were aided in shaping the giant crystal or the JTI headquarters in Switzerland, sharing office spaces to some eminent international organizations. The disseminated panels of glass are bound by a torsional tubular structural system in toughened steel, giving the luxury of columnless floor plates spanning 18 meters and more. The site responsive colossal piece of work has its front end in suspension with elevated north east and southern ends, carving out an open to sky plaza proliferating the coherence with local surrounds. The structure swaggers off an acclaimed closed cavity facade system that shoots down a major chunk of the energy requirements, making it the most sustainable building in Europe.

The sterling entrance foyer

Roger Duffy, a veteran figure at the firm gave the CST International airport, in India's financial capital an extension they'd uphold for generations .Circulation and terminal operations have been re-configured to maneuver from a central core, facilitating a smooth fungibility of domestic and international flights. The design is a summation of inordinately patterned designs that are authentically Indian. Absence of colour is the presence of the unbroken coffered roofing structure. The dispersing of the designed load and the diagrid latticework to the structural columns replicate the selfsame rich white overlay, taking you back to a type of retro-yesteryear.

Cantilevered gardens and double layered louvered skin

Not another one of those terrace apartments, the Manhattan Loft Gardens is the firm's profound take on unconventional residential design. The orthogonal towering mass undergoes a puncture and pullout, at strategic levels to make way for interactive landscaped gardens, in an honest endeavor to initiate social interaction amongst residents. What makes this an ideal place to call home is the breakaway from the archetypal and mundane, rooting out distracting elements from exterior facades that revolutionize the perception of apartments. The lavish smearing of moulded louvers running throughout the body of the cantilevered building also become one with the interior spaces, taking in vistas of the endearing cityscape and the flooding of natural filtered light.

Winning entry: The Beijing bohai innovation city

From a nation that has brought out some astounding raw talent in design, SOM Architects are as diverse as their very projects distinguish them to be. With all praise for their futuristic proposal for China's capital city, the construction in 3 phases channelizes the office spaces, the residences and civic centres all part of their ubiquitous master layout. Additionally satiating the sustainability cravings of the current generation, there have been talks of a central park built around a geothermal exchange system that would lower down the extremities in the erratic climate of Beijing. SOM-the firm, the architects and undoubtedly the architecture and masterstrokes in engineering are of a class of their own true to their structures and like Mies quotes they are a thorough expression of their time.

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