How High Can We Go?

Tue, Mar 9, 2021
Burj Khalifa, 2010 (left), Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Jeddah Tower (right), Courtesy of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

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 eight 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.

In 2006, Smith co-founded the Chicago-based firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Before establishing AS+GG, from 1980 to 2003 he was a Design Partner in the Chicago office of SOM and a Consulting Design Partner from 2003 to 2006. His projects have received more than 145 design awards including five international awards, nine National AlA awards, among dozens of others. He has lectured worldwide and served on numerous professional juries and committees.

An alumnus of Texas A & M University, School of Architecture and the University of Illinois at Chicago, he has also received an honorary doctorate from Texas A & M.

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The video begins with Adrian Smith's lecture, followed by Q&A with Museum Director Carol Willis, whose introduction to the webinar is included after the discussion.