Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

2008 Fazlur Khan Medal Winner
William F. Baker

William F. Baker
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

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William F. Baker is the Structural and Civil Engineering Partner for the Chicago and London offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). Since joining the firm in 1981, Bill’s scope of engineering projects has extended from designing structural systems for supertall buildings, to smaller, specialized structures.  He became an SOM partner in 1996.

Throughout his distinguished career, he has dedicated himself to structural innovation—most notably in the design of tall buildings within the urban landscape.  In 1999, his next-generation, stayed-mast structural system for the proposed 7 South Dearborn, a 610-meter (2,000-foot) tall, 118- story tower built on only one acre, incorporated structural engineering advances that demonstrated how modern wind engineering and materials can be used to achieve slender towers of unprecedented height.  He would later continue such innovation by developing the ‘buttressed core’  structural system  for the Burj  Dubai, a system which, in conjunction with sophisticated wind engineering, makes it possible to construct skyscrapers of extreme elevation.  Set for completion in 2009, the Burj Dubai will be the tallest building in the world in all four categories recognized by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) including architectural height, the highest occupied floor, roof height and pinnacle height.  Baker continues to push the boundaries of form and science with its neighbor, the twisting, 73-story Infinity Tower.  It exemplifies Baker’s belief that the exterior form of a high rise should be a direct expression of its structural framework; where, in the best instances, great structural and architectural collaboration results in situations where one cannot describe the structure without the architecture, and the architecture without its structure.  Additionally, his contributions to the 66-story Nanjing Greenland Financial Center and the developing Lotte Super Tower secure his international reputation as a structural innovator. 

Trump Tower Burj Dubai Infinity Tower
Trump Tower
Chicago, IL, 2009
Burj Dubai
Dubai, UAE, 2010

Infinity Tower
Dubai, UAE, expected completion 2010

For more information on William F. Baker and his work please visit his company website.