Top Row: Partners Larry Chien, Chris Cooper, Paul Danna, and Michael Duncan; Directors Marla Gayle and Peter Jackson. Middle Row: Director Yasemin Kologlu; Partner Colin Koop; Directors Peter Lefkovits, Alan Lewis, Emily Mottolese, and Julia Murphy. Bottom Row: Directors Mark Nagis and Sean Ragasa; Partner Adam Semel; Directors Kim Van Holsbeke and Lois Wellwood.
New York — The partners of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) appointed six newly elected partners and 11 directors. As design and management experts, all six new partners are renowned and talented leaders in their respective fields, the company said, with experience that spans every discipline and building typology.
Larry Chien, AIA, Managing Partner, works on complex projects in cities around the world, contributing his broad and creative perspective on urbanism and design to address global and social issues. His approach is rooted in SOM’s core values of interdisciplinary practice, design excellence, innovation, and sustainability. Since 2000, Chien has been instrumental in expanding the firm’s business to markets in China, advancing industry standards for international design services, and developing strong relationships with a diverse clientele.
Chris Cooper, FAIA, LEED® AP, Design Partner, works on a wide variety of high-profile projects, primarily in New York City. His ability to focus on the user experience, even in very large-scale projects, allows him to work across a range of building types for clients in higher education, research, and government. Cooper also brings his design approach to residential developments across the city, embedding in each a distinct sense of place and connecting it within its neighborhood.
Paul Danna, FAIA, Design Partner, leads architecture, interior design, and urban design projects in both the United States and abroad. His work is at the forefront of sustainable design. Most recently, he completed the new LEED® Platinum-certified Los Angeles Federal Courthouse, which won the AIA’s highest awards for design and sustainability.
Michael Duncan, FAIA, Design Partner, designs major civic, academic, residential, commercial and transportation projects at all scales—from small, adaptive reuse projects to supertall towers. His projects pioneer refined, cutting-edge solutions to issues of environmental responsibility and sustainability. With a skillful focus on placemaking, Duncan creates transformative spaces that responsibly reflect and engage their communities.
Colin Koop, AIA, Design Partner, has a broad body of work defined by a strong social conscience, a research-driven and collaborative approach, and purpose-built results. While his expertise spans a variety of building types, he places a special focus on next-generation education projects, civic-scale planning work, and multi-modal transportation hubs. Focused on the challenges facing our planet, Koop seeks to address the disruptive impact of technology, the effects of climate change, shifts in regional and global culture, the importance of preserving the past, and the need to create a more equitable world.
Adam Semel, AIA, Managing Partner, is a leader of the firm’s strategic growth and client engagement. With his experience in the management and delivery of large-scale, complex projects, he is adept at navigating public agency approvals, zoning regulations, and facilitating meaningful conversations with local communities. A native of Chicago, Semel plays a key role in furthering SOM’s commitment to the city.
In addition to the six new Partners, 11 new SOM Directors have also been named.
Marla Gayle, AIA, brings more than two decades of experience dedicated to the programming, planning, and management of large-scale transportation and infrastructure projects, including airports, rail systems, and ferry terminals. A skilled, hands-on project manager, she leads and coordinates large, multi-disciplinary teams for fast-track planning, design, and construction programs. She is also experienced in alternative project delivery methods, including design-build and public-private partnerships. Gayle is passionate about the role and importance of transit architecture in creating sustainable cities.
Peter Jackson, RIBA, is responsible for a wide range of commercial, residential, and large-scale mixed-use projects throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East, and Southeast Asia. His work is representative of SOM’s interdisciplinary approach, with projects that draw together urban design, architecture, structural engineering, and interior design. He is dedicated to achieving sustainability and socially-minded outcomes that can lead the industry forward. As chair of the RIBA’s Large Practice Expert Group, Jackson contributes to industry-wide dialogue.
Yasemin Kologlu, RIBA, LEED, seeks to integrate wellbeing, technology, and environmental design. She is an advocate for equality, diversity, and innovation in the design industry. Since joining SOM in 2004, Kologlu has worked on a wide range of projects, including innovative headquarters, complex adaptive reuse projects, and large-scale commercial, residential, and mixed-use developments. Her work contributes to SOM’s reputation as a leader in sustainable design.
Peter Lefkovits, AIA, is committed to designing innovative projects that are sensitive to regional culture, local environments, and social issues. His work includes mixed-use developments, residential and hospitality projects, commercial office buildings, and airport terminals. Having played a significant role in the development of SOM’s strong niche practice in India, Lefkovits seeks to contribute to the architecture of India in a meaningful way and to forge close professional relationships with clients in the region.
Alan Lewis, AIA, Open Space Practice Leader within SOM’s City Design Practice, brings a unique set of skills fusing architecture and sustainability with urban design and landscape architecture. He seeks to improve the public realm, while addressing integrated flood management, urban resiliency, and the role of open space and landscape systems in response to growing climatic threats. In the design of public environments, Lewis aims to reinforce cultural and social connections between a place and its history, promote pedestrian activity and ecological vitality, and build consensus with clients and community stakeholders.
Emily Mottolese, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, a leader in SOM’s Middle East practice, contributes her management expertise to a wide variety of architecture, interior design, and planning projects. Her work in the region includes complex, large-scale mixed-use projects, as well as hospitality, residential, education, commercial office, cultural, civic, infrastructure, sports, and critical facilities. Her current projects include the United Arab Emirates Mission to the United Nations in New York City, Al Ahmadi Cultural Center in Kuwait, and more than 18 buildings for the new Kuwait University Shadadiya campus, which are currently under construction.
Julia Murphy, AIA, LEED AP, is responsible for managing many of the firm’s most complex projects in New York City. Much of her work involves mitigating risk for clients who must build within New York’s demanding physical and regulatory environments. Her current work in New York includes Manhattan West Development, the largest ongoing mixed-use project in the city, and a repositioning project for the headquarters of a global financial company. Murphy is a member of the WX Women Executives in Real Estate, the Urban Land Institute, and the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, where she is President-Elect.
Mark Nagis, AIA, LEED AP, as a designer and team leader, aims to elevate the intention of the client with a focus on collaboration, sustainability, and clarity. He specializes in commercial, hospitality, residential, and mixed-use projects at all scales. Through every project phase, Nagis works alongside clients and project stakeholders to communicate milestones and achieve project objectives. He shares his passion for design innovation beyond the office, as a guest critic and lecturer for a variety of organizations and institutions.
Sean Ragasa, AIA, LEED BD+C, focuses his design work on the symbiotic relationship between a building and its environment. Working across many project types and in regions around the world, he seeks to create works of architecture that are highly refined, elegant, and of enduring value. His work includes numerous supertall towers, large-scale mixed-use developments, and civic and government projects. In his work for independent schools and universities, he seeks to balance the needs and interests of various stakeholders, while expressing each school’s pedagogic mission. The results are interactive spaces that not only support formal and informal instruction, but also inspire innovation.
Kim Van Holsbeke, AIA, LEED AP, brings a European sensibility to his design work, focusing on the importance of a well-crafted public realm, the user’s experience, and connections to the surrounding city. He takes a holistic approach to complex projects, including mixed-use developments and residential projects in the United States and Mexico. With a deep expertise in the complexity of urban real estate development, Van Holsbeke advances SOM’s multidisciplinary approach to large-scale projects.
Lois Wellwood, IIDA, as a leader of SOM’s interior design practice, is a champion of design excellence. She works to create transformational workplace strategies, innovative retail interiors, and precedent-setting hospitality and residential spaces. Wellwood forges strong partnerships with clients to understand their business priorities, functional requirements, and culture. She leads teams through a sequence of master planning, strategic planning, and design to create concepts that anticipate how people will use and experience a space. With knowledge of a wide range of clients and programs, she brings breadth and nuance to every design challenge.