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Adrian D. Smith
Adrian Smith crop.jpg
Born (1944-08-19) August 19, 1944 (age 79)
Alma mater University of Illinois, Chicago, Texas A&M University, College Station
Occupation Architect
Practice Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Buildings Burj Khalifa
Jin Mao Tower
Pearl River Tower
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Central Park Tower
Projects Jeddah Tower
Azerbaijan Tower

Adrian D. Smith (born August 19, 1944) is an American architect. He designed the world's tallest structure, Burj Khalifa, as well as the building projected to surpass it, the Jeddah Tower. A long-time principal of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, he founded his own architectural partnership firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago in 2006. Among his other projects, he was the senior architect for Central Park Tower in New York City, Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, and Zifeng Tower in Nanjing.

Early life and education

Adrian Smith was born in Chicago in 1944. When he was four years old, his family moved to Southern California, where he grew up. His interest in drawing led his mother to suggest that he study architecture.

Smith attended Texas A&M University, pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture while being involved with the Corps of Cadets. However, he did not graduate and instead started working for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in 1967. He finished his education at the University of Illinois, Chicago College of Architecture and Arts, graduating in 1969. In 2013, Smith was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree from Texas A&M University.


Smith spent many years at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Chicago, beginning in 1967 and was a Design Partner from 1980 to 2003 and a Consulting Design Partner from 2003 to 2006. In 2006, he founded Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), which is dedicated to the design of high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable architecture on an international scale. In 2008, he co-founded the MEP firm of PositivEnergy Practice (PEP), which specializes in the environmental engineering of high-performance, energy-efficient architecture.

Contributions to architecture

The petal shape of Burj Khalifa was a major architectural contribution by Smith. The shape of Burj Khalifa was inspired by Spider Lily flower. The three petal shape re-configures as the building height increases. The change in pattern along the height does not allow flow pattern to organize. This confuses the wind and save the building from the effect of vortex shedding. Smith also credited to introduce the first large-scale commercial passive double-wall structure in the United States located at 601 Congress Street in Boston in 2006.


Projects Smith designed have won over 125 awards including 5 international awards, 9 National American Institute of Architects Awards, 35 State and Chicago AIA Awards, and 3 Urban Land Institute Awards for Excellence. He was the recipient of the CTBUH 2011 Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award. Smith's work at SOM has been featured in museums in the United States, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council.

Selected projects

The following is an abridged list of work Smith was primarily responsible for as a partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: or as Design Partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.


Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai
Building Year City Country Firm
Central Park Tower 2021 New York City United States AS+GG
Expo 2017 2017 Astana Kazakhstan AS+GG
Waldorf Astoria Beijing 2014 Beijing China AS+GG
FKI Tower 2013 Seoul Korea AS+GG
Chicago Central Area Decarbonization Plan 2011 Chicago United States AS+GG
Pearl River Tower 2011 Guangzhou China SOM
Burj Khalifa 2010 Dubai United Arab Emirates SOM
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago) 2009 Chicago United States SOM
Broadgate Tower 2009 London United Kingdom SOM
Chemsunny Plaza 2008 Beijing China SOM
Jubilee Park Pavilion 2004 London United Kingdom SOM
Tower Palace III 2004 Seoul Korea SOM
Canary Wharf, International banking headquarters buildings: HQ1, DS1, DS3, DS4; FC2 1991–2004 London United Kingdom SOM
601 Congress Street, Manulife Financial 2003 Boston United States SOM
General Motors Renaissance Center 2003 Detroit United States SOM
Millennium Park and Millennium Park Master Plan 2002 Chicago United States SOM
Sede do BankBoston 2002 Sao Paulo Brazil SOM
Washington University Arts and Sciences Building 2000 St. Louis United States SOM
Jin Mao Tower 1998 Shanghai China SOM
Washington University Psychology Building 1996 St. Louis United States SOM
Summer of New Hope – Warren Blvd Project 1996 Chicago United States SOM
Aramco Headquarters Office Building 1993 Dhahran Saudi Arabia SOM
10 Ludgate Place 1992 London United Kingdom SOM
AT&T Corporate Center (currently Franklin Center) 1991 Chicago United States SOM
NBC Tower 1989 Chicago United States SOM
Rowes Wharf 1988 Boston United States SOM
Olympia Centre 1986 Chicago United States SOM
United Gulf Bank Building 1986 Manama Bahrain SOM
Banco de Occidente 1980 Guatemala City Guatemala SOM

Currently under construction

Project Type City Country Status Completion Date Firm
Wuhan Greenland Center Supertall Wuhan China Construction 2022 AS+GG
Chengdu Greenland Tower Supertall Chengdu China Construction 2022 AS+GG
Jeddah Tower Megatall Jeddah Saudi Arabia On-Hold TBA AS+GG
830 Brickell Office/ Retail Miami United States Construction 2022 AS+GG

Significant unbuilt projects

Building City Country Firm
Masdar Headquarters Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates AS+GG
1 Dubai Dubai United Arab Emirates AS+GG
7 South Dearborn Chicago United States SOM
King Abdullah City King Abdullah City Saudi Arabia SOM
Mitsui Headquarters Competition Tokyo Japan SOM
Samsung Togok Seoul Korea SOM
Xiamen Posts and Telecommunications Building Xiamen China SOM


  • Smith, Adrian, The Architecture of Adrian Smith, SOM: Toward a Sustainable Future, Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd, ISBN: 1-86470-169-2
  • Smith, Adrian, Pro Architect 24: Adrian D Smith, Archiworld Company Ltd, ISBN: 89-87223-24-8

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Adrian Smith (arquitecto) para niños

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