Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Practice information
Key architects Adrian Smith
Gordon Gill
Robert Forest
Location Chicago
Founded November 1, 2006
Buildings Masdar City Headquarters
Projects 1 Dubai
Sears Tower "Greening"
Awards 2008 Environmental Award
2008 Green Project of the Year
2008 Sustainable Design Award
2008 Best Green Development
2008 Best Architecture Award
(see additional awards below)

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), an architecture firm and design firm based in Chicago, is engaged in the design and development of energy-efficient and sustainable architecture. AS+GG designs buildings, cities, masterplans and components of these. It creates designs for an international clientele with projects located throughout the world. The primary uses of these designs are civic, commercial, cultural, hospitality, residential and mixed-use. AS+GG also specializes in supertall skyscrapers, such as the Kingdom Tower, which will overtake the Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building.

Significant projects[edit]

Masdar City Headquarters[edit]

Further information: Masdar City

The Masdar Headquarters, a 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) complex in Abu Dhabi, is part of Masdar City an energy, climate and sustainability development and initiative of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar). In early 2008, AS+GG won the international competition against finalists Foster + Partners, Atkins, Murphy/Jahn, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.[1]

1 Dubai[edit]

Further information: Jumeirah Garden City

1 Dubai, is a three-tower complex in Dubai and part of the Jumeira Garden City by Meraas Development. Each tower of the design is at least 2,000 ft (610 m). In 2008, AS+GG beat out Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Atkins with the massive 13,000,000-square-foot (1,200,000 m2) design of towers and sky bridges. Adrian Smith is quoted as having said that "This is the largest project ever built in the world."[1]

Willis Tower Greening[edit]

Further information: Willis Tower

The Willis Tower, (1973-05-03) 3 May 1973 (age 41), at 110 levels is the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere . The owners of the tower looking to update the building selected AS+GG in 2008. The "greening" project includes ongoing renovations and new additions including the reglazing of the building, updated lighting, new green roofs, rooftop photovoltaic arrays, an overhauled mechanical plant and is said to be exploring the integrations of wind turbines as a viable energy source.[1][2]


AS+GG was founded in Chicago in 2006, by Adrian Smith, Gordon Gill, and Robert Forest when they left the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM).[3] Taking their experience on large, mixed-use projects,[4] Smith, Gill and Forest have decided to focus on design of high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable architecture on an international scale.[5] “We’re now trying to design a building as a vehicle, or a vessel, that uses less energy and also mines the free energy that’s available,” as Smith explained in an interview with architectural historian Judith Dupré, “and that’s creating a new aesthetic for us.” [6]

Adrian Smith's departure from SOM has been widely reported.[3][7][8] And Smith had several projects still under construction that were designed while at SOM including: Burj Khalifa, Dubai, Broadgate Tower, London, England and Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago, and with Gordon Gill and Robert Forest: Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, Nanjing, China. Gordon, while at SOM, designed the award-winning Virginia Beach Convention Center,[9][10] Virginia Beach, Virginia. He also designed the Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China with Robert also working on the project.[11]

Though the start-up of their firm appears to have had some rough moments (Smith had to pay $250,000 of salaries out of his own pocket to cover one rough spot),[12] they have been commissioned for at least one ground-breaking building. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture has been chosen over SOM, Norman Foster, Atkins, and Helmut Jahn[13] to design and build the Headquarters of Masdar City, a zero-energy, zero carbon, zero waste city in the United Arab Emirates.[14]

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has grown substantially since its inception in November 2006 with only 7 employees. At the end of one year, the firm employed 35. As of April 2008 there were over 70 employees at AS+GG.,[15] and in December 2008 the staff totals were reported as 185.[1] The firm peaked around 200 employees in 2009 when they had to lay off forty employees on February 28 and an additional 40 on March 6 of that year. The firm has hired other notable designers[who?] from top Chicago firms but have continued to have layoffs each year beginning in 2008.

The company competes with Atkins, Foster + Partners, Kohn Pedersen Fox and Skidmore Owings & Merrill.


  • 2008 Cityscape Architectural Awards,Environmental Award, Masdar City Headquarters
  • 2008 Middle East Architect Awards, Green Project of the Year, Masdar City Headquarters
  • 2008 Construction Week Awards, Sustainable Design Award, Masdar City Headquarters
  • 2008 Arabian Property Middle East Awards, Best Green Development Award, Verde Residences & Offices
  • 2008 CNBC Arabian Property Awards, Best Architecture Award, Verde Residences

See also[edit]


External links[edit]