7 World Trade Center
Founded in 1936, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture; urban design; and planning, engineering, and interior architecture firms in the United States. The firm's sophistication in building technology applications and its commitment to design quality has resulted in a portfolio that features some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries.
SOM is responsible for the design and construction of America's tallest building, the 109-story Sears Tower in Chicago. SOM also designed Lever House, an office building in New York City that established a new vocabulary and set standards for office design around the world. Other signature projects include the U.S. Air Force Academy; the 100-story, 2.8-million-square-foot John Hancock Tower in Chicago; and the 1-million-square-foot Bank of America World Headquarters in San Francisco.
SOM, which has its headquarters on Wall Street, is playing a pivotal role in the rebuilding of downtown New York City. The firm is currently designing WTC Tower 1, also known as Freedom Tower, which will be the tallest building in the nation and will give new shape to New York City's skyline when it is complete. The firm designed 7 WTC, which received a gold LEED rating for its sustainable design components. In addition, SOM designed the Skyscraper Museum, which opened in Battery Park City in April 2004. While smaller in scale, it is another important project contributing to the rebirth of Lower Manhattan.
Other current and recent projects include the Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment in New York; the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle; educational projects for Greenwich Academy, Deerfield Academy, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice; healthcare projects including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Kings County Hospital, and North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital; and new gateway terminals at JFK, Logan, Singapore Changi, Ben Gurion, and Lester B. Pearson airports.
Since it was founded, SOM has completed more than 10,000 architecture, interior architecture, and planning projects in more than 50 countries. SOM's work ranges from the architectural design and engineering of individual buildings to the master planning and design of entire communities. Currently, the firm maintains offices in New York; Chicago; Washington, DC; San Francisco; Los Angeles; London; Shanghai; and Hong Kong.
David Childs is consulting design partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill/New York. He designed the new 7 WTC, which opened in May 2006. He also designed the Freedom Tower at the new WTC for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Mr. Childs A graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Art and Architecture, Mr. Childs joined the Washington, DC, office of SOM in 1971 after having served as design director of the Pennsylvania Avenue Commission. Later, he was appointed by President Gerald Ford to serve as chairman of the national Capital Planning Commission from 1975 to 1981.
In 1984, Mr. Childs relocated to SOM's New York office, where his diverse range of completed projects includes Worldwide Plaza on Eighth Avenue; the New York Mercantile Exchange; the JFK International Arrivals Building; the Bear Stearns Headquarters; the Stuyvesant School Bridge in Tribeca; and the renovation and preservation of Lever House. Internationally, Childs has completed or has under construction such projects as the new Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, West Ferry Circus at Canary Wharf in London, the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, and a more than 3-million-square-foot mixed-use development for Mitsui Fudoson in Tokyo.
James Carpenter, a Tribeca based designer/artist, collaborated with the SOM design team to develop the podium enclosure and entry cable wall and canopy for 7 WTC. The primary focus of Mr. Carpenter's work is the exploration of the natural phenomena of light in transmission, reflection, and refraction as they influence architecture and one's experience of place. Exploring the unique opportunities afforded by the transparency, reflectivity, and compressive strength of glass, this work seeks to control light as it affects spatial boundaries, allowing the expression of structure to give form to light. The site of this transformation is explored as a dynamic and functional element of architectural space, crossing the boundaries between architecture, engineering, and fine arts.
Some notable projects by Mr. Carpenter include Columbus Centre Double Cable Net Wall, Heart Ice Falls at Hearst Tower, Pier 5 Soccer Hall: Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Israel Museum Jerusalem. Mr. Carpenter studied architecture and sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1972. He formed the studio James Carpenter Design Associates, Inc. (JCDA) to establish a design studio to work with architects and engineers on glass structures in 1978. Mr. Carpenter has taught at many universities, including the Eliot Noyes Professorship at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Materials Science Department, and the University of Stuttgart, Lightweight Structures Institute. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including the 2002 National Environment Design Award, presented by the Smithsonian Institution; an Institute Honors Award from the American Institute of Architects; and a 2004 MacArthur Fellowship.
Jenny Holzer, a conceptual artist, created an animated-text installation of prose and poetry that scrolls across a glowing 65-foot-wide, 14-foot-high glass wall behind the reception desk of 7 WTC. Ms. Holzer's permanent installations can be found around the world, from the University of Pennsylvania and Boston's Museum of Fine Art to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Wanås Foundation in Sweden. Her work has been shown worldwide in prominent institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Reichstag (Berlin), the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (Venice), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), and the Centre Pompidou (Paris). Ms. Holzer has received many awards and honors for her achievements.
She received a BFA in painting and printmaking from Ohio University and an MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1976, Ms. Holzer moved to New York City and enrolled in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, where she created the first incarnation of her text series Truisms, a collection of one-liners on posters pasted anonymously around the city. In the mid-80s, she began creating site-specific installations with electronic LED displays; and since 1996, she has realized numerous large-scale light projections of text on buildings, monuments, and landscapes throughout the world. Born in Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1950, Ms. Holzer lives and works in New York.
Ken Smith and his colleague Annie Weinmayr of Ken Smith Landscape Architect worked with the SOM team to design the triangular park created between the now-extended Greenwich Street and West Broadway. Ken Smith Landscape Architect, P.C. is a world-renowned landscape design firm based in Tribeca. The firm practices landscape design primarily in the realm of public space. Each site, program, and client is dealt with individually, giving attention to developing solutions specific to the project.
The firm's many projects include the East River Master Plan and 55 Water Street Plaza, both in New York, and the Railyard Park in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ken Smith Landscape Architect also was recently selected as the master designer of the 1,347-acre Orange County Great Park in California.
Mr. Smith made his mark on New York City by turning Queens Plaza dumpsters into planters in 2001 as part of a reinterpretation of the un-built Isamu Noguchi design for the Lever House terrace and by splashing color into the schoolyard of New York's largest elementary school, P.S.19 in Queens, in 2003. He also designed the rooftop garden of New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) and is part of the design team redeveloping the East River Waterfront. The recipient of numerous awards, Mr. Smith has worked on a variety of projects from urban street design to public art commissions. He is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a visiting design critic at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Jeff Koons, the internationally celebrated artist, created Balloon Flower (Red), the sculpture that sits in the center of the fountain in the new park at 7 WTC. Born in 1955, Mr. Koons is one of the world's most widely recognized artists. His work has been the subject of many exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including major retrospectives organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1992) and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1992), and solo exhibitions at the Sonnabend Gallery, New York (1999), and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (1997).
Mr. Koons' work has been exhibited internationally and is in numerous public collections, including New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Guggenheim Museum; the National Gallery and Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC; the Eli Broad Family Foundation in Santa Monica, CA; the Tate Gallery in London; Museum Ludwig in Köln, Germany; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum in Japan. Mr. Koons is also known for his public sculptures, such as Puppy, a floral sculpture shown at Rockefeller Center in the summer of 2000, and Split-Rocker, a floral sculpture exhibited at the Papal Palace in Avignon, France.
Mr. Koons has lectured at many universities and institutions and has received many awards and honors in recognition of his cultural achievements. In 2001, then-President Jacques Chirac of France appointed Mr. Koons to the rank of chevalier of the French Legion of Honor for his ongoing contributions in tightening the cultural links between France and the United States. He has also received the Medal Award of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and been honored with membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mr. Koons graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 1976 and also attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a visiting student program. He lives and works in New York City.