Archivisit Day 2 started with at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. SOM is one of the largest and most influential architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. Founded in 1936, they have completed more than 10,000 projects in over 50 countries.
Our host, Karl Micallef, a structural engineer and associate at SOM, spoke about the company’s vast portfolio and the SOM philosophy in resolving challenging structural issues and at the same time creating beautiful buildings. Karl gave examples of buildings where the architectural expression of the building is explicitly through the structure itself. The Exchange House, right across the office we were standing in, with over 80m unsupported span as well as the Broadgate Tower, housing the SOM offices, were named amongst other examples. Stuart Marsh, structural engineer and Associate Director at SOM also addressed the students. The presentations were followed by a tour of Canary Wharf regeneration project, whose masterplan was designed by SOM.
In the afternoon, the group headed to Robert Bird Group offices in Harling House. Marianna Micallef, a structural engineer at RBG together with her colleagues, Victoria Torrijos, Francesco Grieco, Yuebi Yang, Kush Makadia and Alessandro Martini, gave insightful case study presentations to the studuents. Of particular interest was the top down construction approach which allows the superstructure and the substructure to be carried out simultaneously following the installation of piles. A construction site visit at Battersea Phase 3A followed, whereby the group was site induced for H&S and then taken on site to review post tensioning slabs being currently undertaken.