written by:
June 23, 2015
One of our favorite Instagram accounts belongs to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Established in 1936, the firm undertakes architecture, urban planning, and engineering projects, many of which are documented here, like the King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill in Riyadh

"The King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center is designed as an extension of the angular desert landscape of Riyadh. Now under construction, the building’s organic profile and faceted skin integrates the structure into its adjacent terrain. A distinctive steel mega-roof, consisting of 165 triangles and 98 nodes, covers program spaces, minimizes solar gain, and harbors indigenous plant life."

Courtesy of 
@skidmoreowingsmerrill
1 / 7
National Commercial Bank (completed 1983) by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

"The desire to take advantage of the spectacular views of Jeddah and the Red Sea led to the design of the distinctive National Commercial Bank, completed in 1983. Set in a 1.2-hectare plaza on the edge of the sea, the 27-story triangular building is flanked by a helical parking garage. In developing its form, SOM incorporated two important features found in traditional Islamic architecture: natural ventilation and inward orientation. Instead of individual windows in the tower's travertine enclosure, colossal openings allow light into the interior across three landscaped courtyards. A central wall that extends from the skylight of the first floor up through the roof allows accumulated heat to rise out of the building."

Courtesy of 
@skidmoreowingsmerrill
2 / 7
Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters (1971) by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill in Federal Way, Washington

"Completed in 1971, the Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters building in Federal Way, Washington — often called a "skyscraper on its side" — is composed of gently sloping landscaped terraces that step upward. At each level, deeply recessed windows run continuously along each side of the building, uninterrupted by wall surfaces or metal dividers. With lush vegetation spilling over the terrace walls, the building appears to merge with the surrounding environment. Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters was the fourth SOM project to win The American Institute of Architects’s 25-Year Award when it was recognized in 2001."

Courtesy of 
@skidmoreowingsmerrill
3 / 7
Nozul hotel model by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill in Doha, Qatar

"The etched copper of this model resembles the mashrabiya of traditional Arabian architecture for good reason: The model represents an early stage of the Nozul hotel that will overlook the Persian Gulf in Doha. The design responds to local climate as well as cultural history, as evidenced by the underlying, assemblage-like form. By eroding this mass, SOM created deep terraces that shade occupants and interiors from the beating sun. This strategy also maximized the height of the tower on a low-floor-area-ratio site. Here the core structure was made by 3D printing, and currently the real-life 55,000-square-meter building is in design development."

Courtesy of 
@skidmoreowingsmerrill
4 / 7
Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge (1978) by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill in California

"In 1978, SOM architect Myron Goldsmith and engineer T.Y. Lin created a remarkable structure to span the challenging middle fork of California’s American River. Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge elegantly solves the problem of building a stable, economical structure across a wide, steep gorge by entirely rethinking the principles of bridge building. A “hanging arc,” the bridge was to be suspended by 80 high-strength cables and balanced by tensile forces. Though unbuilt, Ruck-A-Chucky Bridge stands as a masterwork of innovative design and structural economy to this day."

Courtesy of 
@skidmoreowingsmerrill
5 / 7
Cayan Tower by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill in Dubai

"A studio head in our Chicago office snapped this photo of Cayan Tower piercing the clouds above Dubai. Designed by SOM, the supertall, twisting skyscraper is a pure expression of the relationship between the building’s form and the structural framework that supports it. Measuring 307 meters from base to top, the skyscraper is the tallest twisting tower in the world. It is also the only building to twist along its length, thanks to an innovative structural design that results in a full 90-degree rotation from its first to last floorplate."

Courtesy of 
@skidmoreowingsmerrill
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Active Modular Phytoremediation Wall System by Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, SOM and Rensselaer

"This is a prototype module of the Active Modular Phytoremediation Wall System, or AMPS, created by the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology. CASE combines the forces of SOM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to align buildings more closely with nature, and to that end, AMPS capitalizes on plants' ability to clean the air that circulates inside them. By channeling stale air across plants’ best air-purification mechanisms, AMPS reduces buildings’ need to pump in fresh air from outdoors. This invention grows out of NASA research concerning the health of astronaut, and will touch down in the SOM-designed Public Safety Answering Center II call facility in the Bronx later this year."

Courtesy of 
@skidmoreowingsmerrill
7 / 7
King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center by Skidmore, Owings, Merrill in Riyadh

"The King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center is designed as an extension of the angular desert landscape of Riyadh. Now under construction, the building’s organic profile and faceted skin integrates the structure into its adjacent terrain. A distinctive steel mega-roof, consisting of 165 triangles and 98 nodes, covers program spaces, minimizes solar gain, and harbors indigenous plant life."

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