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William Baker
Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
“Supertalls: The Next-Generation”

With the completion of the Burj Dubai, one is left to question: how much higher can we go? Undoubtably, the lessons learned during the design and construction of Burj Dubai will inform the development of the next generation of supertalls. Equally important is an examination of the many potential supertalls that never came to fruition. From this basis, we can hypothesize that the next generation will be contingent upon successfully addressing several fundamental issues. This talk will examine how these parameters can produce ideas that lead to the development of the next generation of supertalls.

William F. Baker is the Structural and Civil Engineering Partner for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Throughout his distinguished career, Bill has dedicated himself to structural innovation-- most notably in the design of tall
buildings within the urban landscape. His most recent contribution has been to develop 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. The Burj Dubai is the world’s tallest manmade structure. Closer to home, he has spearheaded the structural design of Chicago’s AT&T Corporate Center and the 92-story Trump International Hotel and Tower. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), two of the four tallest buildings to top out in 2009 are credited to Baker: Burj Dubai and Trump International Hotel and Tower.

In addition to working at SOM, Bill’s expertise is frequently solicited by institutions of higher learning, as well as numerous professional organizations. Bill is the 2008 recipient of the Fazlur Rahman Khan medal from CTBUH and the 2009 recipient and first American to receive the Fritz Leonhardt Prize. He is a Fellow of both the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE). Bill is on the Specifications Committee of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and also frequently lectures on a variety of structural engineering topics within the U.S. and abroad.

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