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Exhibition Opens in Mexico City Showcasing SOM’s Engineering, Architecture, and Art Collaborations


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition, SOM: Arte + Ingeniería + Arquitectura, which will open March 9th at the historic Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City. Presented in partnership with MEXTRÓPOLI, a global festival of architecture and urbanism hosted by Arquine magazine, the exhibition is an in-depth survey of SOM’s structural engineering practice, its integration with SOM’s architectural design, and the firm’s long tradition of collaboration with visual artists.

For more than eight decades, SOM has explored the poetics of structure through continual examination and experimentation. SOM: Arte + Ingeniería + Arquitectura reveals the concepts and forms that stem from SOM’s integrated practice of engineering, art, and architecture. The exhibition explores the idea that engineers, architects, and artists alike practice a poetry of inquiry, experimentation, and ingenuity. 

A lineup of structural models at 1:500 scale, juxtaposed with the venue’s historic architecture, puts SOM’s groundbreaking projects on display. The installation features some of SOM’s most innovative recent work around the world, such as BBVA Bancomer Operations Center and Bio-Esfera in Mexico, the New United States Courthouse in Los Angeles, and Poly International Plaza in Beijing, alongside influential and pioneering projects designed throughout the firm’s history, including John Hancock Center (currently known as 875 North Michigan Avenue), Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower), and Burj Khalifa. Selected for their continued influence in the realm of structural design, these buildings all responded to periods of rapid urban growth and represented the most advanced building technology of their respective eras.

Through hand-drawn sketches, interactive sculpture, immersive video, and a lineup of more than 30 structural models, the exhibition gives insight into SOM’s practice, past and present, as it seeks to address physical and environmental challenges with concise and honestly expressed solutions. The exhibition surveys SOM’s long tradition of collaboration with visual artists and showcases models, drawings, and ephemera. The exhibition highlights collaborations between SOM and artists such as Pablo Picasso, James Turrell, Jaume Plensa, James Carpenter, Janet Echelman, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle.

With nearly 50 projects in Mexico, SOM has a long-standing presence in the region. The firm has recently completed the Operations and Data Centers for BBVA Bancomer in Mexico City, as well as Bio-Esfera in Guadalajara, and maintains a portfolio of ongoing work that includes structural engineering, urban planning, and architecture projects in cities throughout the country. Currently, the SOM structures group is working on five new large-scale, mixed-use developments in Mexico. 

SOM will also present a program of lectures and panel discussions throughout the duration of the exhibition. During MEXTRÓPOLI, visitors to Mexico City can attend various lectures with SOM Structural Engineering Partners William F. Baker and Mark Sarkisian, learn about architect and structural engineer Felix Candela on a walking tour led by William F. Baker, and attend SOM Urban Design and Planning Partner Douglas Voigt’s keynote lecture. Additional events and lectures will be scheduled during the run of the exhibition.

Lecture: William F. Baker and Mark Sarkisian
March 8, 2019
6:00 p.m. CST

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso

In a lecture titled "The Engineering of Architecture,” William F. Baker and Mark Sarkisian will discuss the design philosophies behind SOM’s work, as well as current projects and emerging ideas within structural engineering. 

Register here.

Exhibition: SOM: Arte + Ingeniería + Arquitectura
March 9 – June 9, 2019
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. CST
Wednesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. CST

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
Justo Sierra 16
Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México

The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, March 9th, and will close on Sunday, June 9th.  

Learn more here.

Walking Tour: Felix Candela in Mexico City
March 10, 2019

Join SOM Structural Engineering Partner William F. Baker, longtime scholar of Spanish-Mexican architect/structural engineer Felix Candela, on a walking tour. 

Register here

MEXTRÓPOLI Keynote: Douglas Voigt, SOM Urban Design and Planning Partner
March 11, 2019
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CST

Teatro Metropólitan
Av Independencia 90, Colonia Centro, Centro
06050, Ciudad de México

SOM’s structural engineering exhibition has been shown in various locations worldwide, including the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, and the Utzon Center in Denmark.

SOM: Arte + Ingeniería + Arquitectura is supported by CEMEX, JLL, Turner, Langan, Comex, and ULI.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. Since its founding more than 80 years ago, SOM has earned a reputation for design excellence with a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries, and has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with nearly 2,000 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, and Mumbai.

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