SOM receives AIA Design Firm of the Year Award

Lulu Tower

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), which has offices in Abu Dhabi and specialises in architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban-planning has earned the 2011 Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Chicago chapter.

The award is the organisation’s highest honour a firm can receive. It recognises outstanding achievements by a company, excellence in the body of work produced and the contribution it makes to the advancement of the architectural profession in the areas of design, research, planning, technology and architectural practice.

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According to AIA judges ‘SOM has a distinct culture that is collaborative and team-oriented with a history of high aspirations for design excellence.’

One of its projects includes Lulu Tower, a mixed-use complex opposite Abu Dhabi Corniche.

Formally, the tower is a traditional skyscraper turned inside-out, and like traditional Middle Eastern courtyard buildings, it turns its outer, protective face to the sun while opening inwardly to a central vertical “garden”.

It is organised into two curving outer zones that contain the building’s private habitable spaces and define a central garden that climbs vertically through its height. The plan is organised on a northwest – southeast alignment.

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