The leader of the consortium is SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRIL LLP (SOM), and another consortium member is  ANDREY CHERNIKHOV ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN STUDIO LTD.


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is an American architectural and engineering firm. It was formed in Chicago in 1936 by Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings. SOM is one of the largest architectural firms in the world. Their primary expertise is in high-end commercial buildings, as it was SOM that led the way to the widespread use of the modern international-style or "glass box" skyscraper. They have built several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the John Hancock Center (1969, second tallest in the world when built), Sears Tower(1973, tallest in the world for over twenty years), and Burj Khalifa (2010, current world's tallest building).

Throughout its history, SOM has been recognized with more than 1400 awards for quality and innovation. In 1996 and 1962, SOM received the Architecture Firm Award[2 from the American Institute of Architects, which recognizes the design work of an entire firm. SOM is the only firm to have received this honor twice.

Burj Khalifa (realized project)

Soaring 830 meters above the metropolis of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. The design for the 162-story tower combines local cultural influences with cutting-edge technology to achieve high performance in an extreme desert climate. 

The centerpiece of a large mixed-use development, the Burj Khalifa contains offices, retail space, residential units, and a Giorgio Armani hotel. A Y-shaped floor plan maximizes views of the Arabian GulfAt ground level, the skyscraper is surrounded by green space, water features, and pedestrian-friendly boulevards.

The tower’s overall design was inspired by the geometries of a regional desert flower and the patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture. Built of reinforced concrete and clad in glass, the building is composed of three elements arranged around a central buttressed core. As it rises from a flat base, setbacks occur at each element in an upward spiraling pattern, reducing the tower’s mass as it reaches skyward. At the pinnacle, the central core emerges and is sculpted to form a spire. 

Beyond its record-breaking height, the Burj Khalifa incorporates new structural and construction efficiencies to reduce material usage and waste. These include a “sky-sourced” ventilation system — whereby cool, less humid air is drawn in through the top of the building — and one of the largest condensate recovery systems in the world. 

© Nick Merrick/Hedrich Blessing

© Nick Merrick/Hedrich Blessing

Chicago Central Area Plan (completed project)

Chicago has a long history of making and implementing plans to guide growth and development far into the future. The Central Area Plan, created by SOM in collaboration with a committee of business and civic leaders, draws on those deep roots and builds on a vision of Chicago as a global city. 

The scheme focuses on increasing density, encouraging mixed-use development, and strengthening transportation connections in the urban core. Specifically, it calls for high-density, mixed-use infill neighborhoods for 50,000 new residents — an approach that could potentially save more than 500-square-miles of regional open space and agricultural land. It also recommends the creation of a new intermodal transit center, linking commuter and inter-city rail with an exclusive bus and subway station. The plan offers solutions for how to improve conditions in the booming downtown area, which has seen tremendous growth in the office, retail, educational, and residential sectors in the past two decades. 




The architectural-design bureau, headed by Andrey Chernikhov, was founded in Moscow in 1990.  The core activities of the company are urban-planning, architecture, city design, interior and furniture design. The workshop undertakes development of architectural and urban-planning projects in Russia and other countries worldwide.  In 2012 the international team headed by Andrey Chernikhov devised a project that was recognized as one of the best design concepts for the competition for the development of the Moscow Metropolitan Area.

Design concept project for development of the Moscow Metropolitan Area

The A. Chernikhov architectural-design workshop (Moscow) posed itself the question of rating the quality of life in Moscow and the image of the city alongside the world’s major cities. What would it take for Moscow to be considered in the top ten, or even twenty metropolises in the world? To address the question, the Chernikhov team initially focused on the problems of management.  In particular, the architects consider it necessary that a single entity of the Russian Federation be formed consisting of Moscow and the Moscow Region; and creation of an agency or state corporation for the development of the Moscow Metropolitan Area.

In the opinion of the architects, Greater Moscow could act as a testing ground for the creation of new social models. Through analysis of the demand of different generations for quality of surroundings and housing format the Chernikhov team came to the conclusion that the generation born in the 1960’s value above all else the presence of suburban surroundings within the city; with access to water. The so-called Generation Y feels the need for a variety of events within a dense urban environment which feature the combination of varied architectural types and styles. Generation Z, the people of the near future, are creating demand for ultra-modern Eco technology and media-rich spaces with compact housing; micro-offices and a variety of means for communication. In order to meet the demand of each of these generations that coexist within the city landscape, the Chernikhov team propose that work begins today on the creation of a fundamentally new form of housing which will meet the requirements of the different user groups such as migrants, old people, unmarried couples, etc. With regard to the transfer of the Federal authorities, the Chernikhov team remains true to itself. As before, priority remains with the ‘Big City’ and in particular, the present day site of the exhibition complex with the parliamentary centre recommended for location to the ZIL plant.  The team also determined a master-plan for an administrative-business cluster in Kommunarka which could be developed as a multi-functional centre even if Federal authorities are moved to ZIL and to the ‘City’.  

©, Project of the government center in Kommunarka

©,  Project of the parliamentary center in Kommunarka