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Adrian Smith Claims Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is Trying to Erase His Legacy


There’s some hostility here in Chicago of late, all due to the launch of the Burj Dubai (or, as it was recently renamed, the Burj Khalifa). It’s well known that legendary local architect Adrian Smith was the lead designer behind the world’s tallest building, but he did so back when he was employed at the equally legendary firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, before he left to start his own company with Gordon Gill. And it wasn’t just the Burj, but three more of the world’s tallest buildings, too. Now Smith is speaking out against Skidmore, telling the Sun Times that his previous employer is trying to erase his contributions to some of the world’s most famous buildings. The architect tells the paper that in press releases, conferences, and even an exhibit about the Burj at the Skyscraper Museum, Skidmore has actively tried to write him out of history by leaving his name out entirely. Here’s a bit:

“It’s not illegal. I wouldn’t say it’s unethical. Is it breaching professional courtesy? Yes,” Smith said….”Have they done it before? Yes. It’s somewhat standard procedure for them to have a press release and say it’s SOM’s work and because I’m a major competitor of theirs, now they want to minimize my true role in four of the five ‘world’s tallest buildings’ that they claim credit for.”

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