Kuala Lumpur:
Merdeka 118

RSVP Tue, Mar 2, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Karl Fender, OAM; Founding Partner, Fender Katsalidis

Melbourne-based architect Karl Fender is the designer of the two tallest buildings in his skyscraper-friendly native city, the 297-meter Eureka Tower, completed in 2006, and Australia 108, completed in 2020 at the height of 317 meters. He is also the architect of the 118-story Merdeka 118, now under construction in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which at 644 meters/2,113 ft. to the tip of its spire will become the world’s second tallest building after Burj Khalifa.

Karl is a cofounder of the firm Fender Katsalidis, based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and now with additional studios in Sydney and Brisbane. He is also Co-Director of the London Studio and Group Chairman of Arney Fender Katsalidis, founded in 2013 as a sister studio of Fender Katsalidis. Karl began his career as a design assistant for Robin Boyd – an important Melbourne modernist, then worked as an architect in London and Rome, before returning to school to take a Masters degree at Harvard’s GSD. Thereafter he worked extensively throughout Southeast Asia.

How High Can We Go?

RSVP Tue, Mar 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Adrian Smith, FAIA; Founder and Partner, AS+GG

Adrian Smith is the architect of more than 4,500 meters ­­– nearly 2.8 vertical miles – of skyscrapers. He has been the designer for seven structures in SUPERTALL! 2020: including Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the current world’s tallest man-made structure at 828 meters, and Jeddah Tower, under construction in Saudi Arabia, which when completed will reach at least 1,000 meters.

In his talk, “Supertall / Megatall: How Tall Can We Go?” Smith will explore how the skyscraper captured the imagination of the public while becoming widely popular to the architectural profession. He will focus on the stories behind his designs, including projects completed while Design Partner at SOM Chicago, including Jin Mao, Nanjing Greenland, and Burj Khalifa, and AS+GG projects Jeddah Tower, Chengdu Greenland Tower, 1 Dubai, and Biophilic Tower. He will discuss how each design was conceived for their specific sites and the successes and unique challenges of each project.

The Invention of Public Space:
Designing for Inclusion in Lindsay’s New York

RSVP Wed, Mar 10, 2021 at 6:00 PM
In The Invention of Public Space: Designing for Inclusion in Lindsay’s New York, Mariana Mogilevich details a watershed moment when designers, government administrators, and residents sought to remake New York City in the image of a diverse, free, and democratic society. Bringing together psychology, politics, and design, her new book considers a broad array of projects in open spaces to affirm the value of city life in a moment of “urban crisis,” and reveals the emergence of a concept of public space that remains today a powerful, if unrealized, aspiration.

Mariana Mogilevich is a historian of architecture and urbanism. She is editor-in-chief of Urban Omnibus, the online publication of The Architectural League of New York, and has taught at New York University, Princeton University, Pratt Institute and Cornell University.

Burj Khalifa:
What We Learned

RSVP Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Bill Baker, PE, SE, FASCE, FIStructE, NAE, FREng; Consulting Partner, SOM

Bill Baker is now a structural engineering consulting partner at SOM, where he led the firm’s practice for over twenty years. Since joining SOM in 1981, he has dedicated himself to extending the profession of structural engineering through design, research, teaching, and professional activities.

Baker is best known for the development of the “buttressed core” structural system for the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest manmade structure. Completed in 2010, the 828-meter Burj surpassed the then-tallest Taipei 101 by more than 300 meters. This unprecedented vertical leap was accomplished by iterative responses to wind-tunnel testing and other creative solutions to constructability. In his talk, Bill will discuss both the precedents that allowed their team to invent a new structural approach, as well as the legacy of “Lessons Learned” a decade after the completion of the skyscraper that still remains the tallest in the world.

Core Value

RSVP Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Peter Weismantle,FAIA

Director of Supertall Building Technology, AS+GG

Peter Weismantle spent 31 years in the Chicago office of SOM before moving in 2008 to AS+GG as Director of Supertall Building Technology where he has been responsible for overseeing the firm’s development of supertall projects from onset to completion. Working with the project team, Weismantle develops the design of such technical elements as the building envelope, vertical transportation and life safety systems, and compliance with applicable building codes and standards.

At SOM, Peter served as Senior Technical Architect on path-breaking supertalls, including Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower and Burj Khalifa. More recent projects at AS+GG include Wuhan Greenland Center, Chengdu Greenland Tower, at 468 meters, the tallest building in southwestern China and the fourth-tallest in the nation. Peter led the design team for the building technology aspects of Jeddah Tower, a 167 story, 1000+ meter, mixed-use building in Saudi Arabia which, if completed as planned, will surpass Burj Khalifa as the tallest building in the world.

Educated at Lehigh University for his B.A. and the University of Pennsylvania for his Master of Architecture, Peter has published widely and presented many lectures on issues of tall building engineering, sustainability, and life safety systems. He has been a leader on professional committees, including several of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

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Pure Bearing Wall

RSVP Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Robert Sinn, PE, SE, FACI, FASCE, FIABSE; Principal, Thornton Tomasetti

Structural engineer Robert Sinn is a Principal in the Chicago office of Thornton Tomasetti. Before joining TT in 2007, Bob spent more than two decades at SOM, where he was responsible for such award-winning projects as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, which when completed was the tallest all-concrete building in North America. Recent project credits include the 245-meter Federation of Korean Industries headquarters (2014) in Seoul, South Korea, the Al Wasl Plaza for Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE, topped by a translucent dome that spans 130 meters.

Sinn led the structural design team for Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower, which if completed as planned will be the first man-made structure to reach a height of one kilometer. As he has explained in lectures on the megatower, the three-legged buttressed core is developed as a pure bearing wall system where all gravity loads are carried entirely by reinforced concrete walls. According to Bob, the structure of the first structure designed to exceed 3,200 feet is “simplicity itself.”

Book cover of Wright and New York: The Making of America's Architect by Anthony Alofsin. Copyright Yale University Press.

Wright and New York:
The Making of America’s Architect

RSVP Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Wright and New York turns upside down the conventional notion that Frank Lloyd Wright hated the city, and the city was antagonistic to him. In this illustrated lecture based on his new book, Anthony Alofsin outlines the developments in Wright’s life and work that demonstrate how New York turned around his career in the late 1920s and early 1930s to position him for the glory—and branding—of his final decades. The talk focuses on Wright’s visionary design for an immense Modern Cathedral to serve all religions and for the skyscraper, he designed for the church of St. Marks-in-the-Bouwerie in New York’s East Village.

Anthony Alofsin, FAIA, is the Roland Roessner Centennial Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. A practicing architect and art historian, he is known internationally as a leading expert on Frank Lloyd Wright. The author of a dozen books ranging on subjects from the architecture of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire to the history of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, he has also written review essays for the Times Literary Supplement, The Atlantic, and The Burlington Magazine.

Pivot to China:
How Jin Mao Portended Future Supertalls

RSVP Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Mark Sarkisian, PE, SE, LEED®AP, Structural and Seismic Engineering Partner, SOM

Mark Sarkisian is the structural and seismic engineering partner in SOM’s San Francisco office. He holds fourteen U.S. and international patents for high-performance seismic structural mechanisms and environmentally responsible structural systems. Mark has designed more than 100 major building projects around the world, including the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the NBC Tower in Chicago, and two supertalls, Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, and Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait.

Mark will discuss the structural design of SOM’s Jin Mao Tower. Its multiple functions, with offices on the lower floors and a luxury hotel and observation deck above, established the mixed-use typology that would characterize many Chinese supertalls in the next two decades. Mark will explain the innovative foundations and seismic design of Jin Mao and the concrete core and mega-column structural system that accommodated the dramatic central atrium that rises through the hotel stories.

Chengdu Greenland:
A Non-Coplanar Exoskeleton

RSVP Tue, Apr 20, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Dennis C.K. Poon, PE, Vice Chairman, Thornton Tomasetti

Dennis’s talk will focus on the innovative structural system of the Chengdu Greenland Tower. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), the 468-meter tower has a distinctive façade treatment of faceted glass meant to symbolize the nearby snowy mountains. The slender shaft employs a concrete core with sloping walls, surrounded by 16 columns that zig-zag along the full height of the tower, creating diamond shapes that reflect different lights and produce contrasting planes of light and shadow.

Lakhta Center

RSVP Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Ahmad Abdelrazaq, Executive Vice President, Samsung C&T Corp

Design for constructability and delivery of high performance of supertalls has been a prime concern of Ahmad Abdelrazaq. Having begun his career in the Chicago office of SOM in 1987, where his project portfolio included the Jin Mao Tower and the Hotel De Artes in Barcelona, Ahmad joined Samsung in 2004 and went to work as the Chief Technical Director of the Burj Dubai Project, collaborating with the architects and engineers at SOM on the evolving design for the world’s tallest building, later renamed Burj Khalifa. For that project he developed an award-winning real-time structural health monitoring program, embedding more than 2,000 instruments and survey programs to correlate and verify design assumptions with actual tower behavior.

Based in Seoul, Abdelrazaq is Senior Executive Vice President at Samsung C & T Corporation where he heads the Highrise Building and Structural Engineering Divisions.

Book cover of "Building Brands: Corporations and Modern Architecture" by Grace Ong Yan

Building Brands:
Corporations and Modern Architecture

RSVP Tue, May 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM
As the first in-depth book to explore the role of branding in the design of corporate modernism, Building Brands re-tells the stories of four corporate headquarters in the context of both business and architectural histories: the PSFS Building by Howe and Lescaze, the Johnson Wax Building by Frank Lloyd Wright, Lever House by SOM, and The Röhm & Haas Building by Pietro Belluschi and George M. Ewing Co. In this illustrated talk on her new book, Grace Ong Yan describes how clients and architects together crafted buildings to reflect the company’s brand, focusing on carefully considering consumers’ perception and their emotions towards the architecture and the messages they communicated.

Grace Ong Yan is Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture and the Built Environment at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. As an architectural historian, educator, and architect, her scholarship explores alternate theories of modernism, intersections of media and environment, and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Cover book of Antiquity in Gotham: The Ancient Architecture of New York City" by Elizabeth Macalauy-Lewis. Copyright Fordham University Press

Antiquity in Gotham:
The Ancient Architecture of New York City

RSVP Tue, Jun 1, 2021 at 6:00 PM

In her new book, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis applies an archeological lens to the study of the New York buildings. Antiquity in Gotham explores how the language of ancient architecture communicated the political ideals of the young Republic through the adaptation of Greek and Roman architecture; how Egyptian temples conveyed the city’s new technological achievements; and how the ancient Near East served many artistic masters, decorating the interiors of glitzy Gilded Age restaurants and the tops of skyscrapers. Rather than emphasizing a battle of styles, the Neo-Antique framework considers the similarities and differences—intellectually, conceptually, and chronologically—amongst the reception of these architectural traditions.

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis is Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, and the Executive Officer of the M.A Program in Liberal Studies at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York. She is the editor or author of six books, including Classical New York: Discovering Greece and Rome in Gotham and Housing the New Romans: Architectural Reception and Classical Style in the Modern World.

The Floating Pool Lady:
A Quest to Bring a Public Pool to New York City’s Waterfront

RSVP Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Historian and waterfront planner and activist Ann L. Buttenwieser is The Floating Pool Lady. As parks protector Adrian Benepe writes in the description of Buttenwieser’s new book, “Never mind Molly Brown of RMS Titanic fame—meet the unsinkable Ann L. Buttenwieser! In  The Floating Pool Lady , Buttenwieser recounts, with the energy of a suspense novel, her visionary quest to bring to New York City the first floating swimming pool in more than seventy-five years.”

Ann L. Buttenwieser is an urban planner and urban historian. She has taught at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and at the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York. She is the author of  Governors Island and Manhattan Water-Bound. 

Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin's Capital Princeton University Press, 2020

Moscow Monumental:
Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital

RSVP Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Historian Katherine Zubovich will discuss her new book Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital, an in-depth history of the Stalinist skyscraper. In the early years of the Cold War, the skyline of Moscow was forever transformed by a citywide skyscraper building project. As the steel girders of the monumental towers went up, the centuries-old metropolis was reinvented to embody the greatness of Stalinist society. In Moscow Monumental Zubovich explores how the quintessential architectural works of the late Stalin era fundamentally reshaped daily life in the Soviet capital. 

Katherine Zubovich

Katherine Zubovich is assistant professor of history at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Her research focuses on the former Soviet Union. Her interests include the history of cities and urban planning; the history of architecture and visual culture; and modern transnational history.