Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Practice information
Key architectsAdrian Smith
Gordon Gill
Robert Forest
FoundedNovember 1, 2006
Significant works and honors
BuildingsFKI Tower
Beijing Waldorf Astoria
Jeddah Tower
ProjectsGreat City Chengdu Master Plan
Chicago Central Area Decarbonization Plan

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 Jeddah Tower, which will overtake the Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building when completed in 2020.


AS+GG was founded in Chicago in 2006, by Adrian Smith, Gordon Gill, and Robert Forest after they left the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM).[1] Taking their experience on large, mixed-use projects,[2] AS+GG focuses on the design of high-performance, energy-efficient, and sustainable architecture on an international scale.[3] "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." [4]

Adrian Smith's departure from SOM was widely reported.[1][5][6] At the time of his departure, 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,[7][8] Virginia Beach, Virginia. He also designed the Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China with Robert also working on the project.[9]

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),[10] 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[11] to design and build the Headquarters of Masdar City, a zero-energy, zero carbon, zero waste city in the United Arab Emirates.[12]

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.,[13] and in December 2008 the staff totals were reported as 185.[14] 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.

Significant projects[edit]

Jeddah Tower[edit]

At over 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) tall with a total construction area of 530,000 square meters (5.7 million square-feet), Jeddah Tower will be the centerpiece and first construction phase of the $20 billion Jeddah Economic City development in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, near the Red Sea. In 2011, AS+GG won an international design competition against finalists Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Foster + Partners, and Pickard Chilton[15]

Wuhan Greenland Center[edit]

When completed in 2017 Wuhan Greenland Center, will likely be China's third-tallest building, and the fourth tallest in the world, at 1,988 feet (606 meters) tall. The 120-level tower in Wuhan, China will contain offices, luxury apartments and condominiums, a 45,000 sm five-star hotel, and a 5,000 sm, 27-meter-tall private club with spectacular views at the tower's penthouse level. Wuhan Greenland Center also features a uniquely streamlined form that combines three key shaping concepts—a tapered body, softly rounded corners and a domed top—to reduce wind resistance and vortex action that builds up around supertall towers.[16]

Chicago Central Area Decarbonization Plan[edit]

This award-winning plan seeks to not only to reduce the environmental impact and carbon emissions of downtown Chicago but to improve the overall quality of life of the city's urban environment.[17] The plan is a beginning process for maintaining the economic and cultural vitality of the urban core, from an energy and carbon perspective. The continued viability of cities and urban living is a core principle in the long-term idea that population growth can continue without its negative impact to the environment becoming detrimental to the planet in the form of global warming.

Willis Tower Greening[edit]

Willis Tower, at 110 levels, is the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. In 2008 AS+GG was selected by the owners of the tower to update the building. Had the project been implemented it would have ongoing renovations and new additions including the re glazing of the building, updated lighting, adding green roofs and rooftop photovoltaic arrays, an overhauled mechanical plant, and the integration of wind turbines as a viable energy source.[18]

1 Dubai[edit]

1 Dubai, is a three-tower complex in Dubai and part of the Jumeirah Garden City by Meraas Development. Each tower of the design is at least 1969 feet (600 meters) tall. In 2008, AS+GG beat out Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, and Atkins with the massive 13,000,000-square-foot (1,200,00 sm) design of three towers connected by sky bridges.[19]

EXPO 2017 in Astana[edit]

AS+GG designed a 173-hectare site for EXPO 2017 that was held from June 10 to September 10, 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The main theme of the EXPO was "Future Energy," which was reflected in the concept of AS+GG's futuristic design featuring a glass globe sat atop an undulating glazed podium.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Architect Magazine: Adrian Smith Leaves SOM, Longtime Skidmore partner bucks retirement to start new firm". Archived from the original on 2008-12-27.
  2. ^ Smith, Adrian (2007). The Architecture of Adrian Smith, SOM: Toward a Sustainable Future. Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-86470-169-2.
  3. ^ "Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture: site description".
  4. ^ Judith Dupré. "Interview with Adrian Smith," Skyscrapers (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2008) 9.
  5. ^ "Chicago Magazine: A New Order".
  6. ^ "PR Newswire: Designer of World's Tallest Tower Forms New Architecture Firm". Archived from the original on 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
  7. ^ "AIA Chicago: 2006 Citation of Merit". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
  8. ^ "Architecture Record and Business Week: 2007 Citation for Excellence Award".
  9. ^ Smith, Elizabeth (September 9, 2006 – January 7, 2007). "Sustainable Architecture in Chicago". Pearl River Tower. Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs: Museum of Contemporary Art. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  10. ^ "Chicago Tribune: Sweet new start for architect Adrian Smith". February 24, 2008.
  11. ^ Elder, Robert K (February 22, 2008). "Chicago Tribune: Green light for Chicago design".
  12. ^ "Middle East Business Intelligence, United Arab Emirates: Masdar appoints US firm for headquarters".
  13. ^ "Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture: official website".
  14. ^ "Architect Magazine: The Comeback Kid".
  15. ^ The Wall Street Journal: Saudis Plan World's Tallest Tower
  16. ^ Chicago Tribune: Smith and Gill Win Competition for Supertall Tower in China
  17. ^ AIA Chicago: SustainABILITY Leadership Award Winner Archived 2014-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Architect Magazine: The Comeback Kid
  19. ^ Chicago Tribune: New supertall towers coming from Chicago architect
  20. ^ "Architects unveil energy-themed pavilions at Astana Expo 2017".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°52′51.9″N 87°37′44.8″W / 41.881083°N 87.629111°W / 41.881083; -87.629111