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NOCA MODERN Architect Detail


Body of Work:
Crown Zellerbach Building

Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings established an office in Chicago in 1936 and opened a branch in New York in 1937. The practice became Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) in 1939 when John Merrill joined the partnership. From the beginning, the firm stressed the importance of teamwork and individual responsibility among its employees. The firm’s early years were spent creating a multi-disciplinary office which could effectively handle corporate and commercial clients. In 1952, Gordon Bunshaft pushed SOM toward a new level of architectural recognition with his design for the Lever House. This curtain-walled office block built in the International Style, demonstrated SOM’s capabilities and led to a series of similar developments. Due to the large scale of the buildings designed by SOM, structural innovation makes up a large part of the office’s design efforts. Today, Skidmore Owings & Merrill operates as a successful large practice, with offices in many cities, although none of its original principals remain with the firm. Some other notable designers associated with the firm during various periods include Myron Goldsmith, Bruce Graham, and Walter Netsch. 2

2 Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p142-143.

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DOCOMOMO US/Northern California

P.O. Box 29226
San Francisco, CA 94129-0226

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