Architect Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith



"Tall buildings allow for a great number of people to be housed very comfortably on a very small footprint of land. And if they are designed well, they can offer many of the amenities that people need for a high quality of life. In many ways, the very tall tower is a key element of the city of the future, in India and elsewhere." - Architect Adrian Smith



World's foremost expert of supertall towers, Architect Adrian Smith, grew up in California, building sandcastles as he wanted to see how high he could make them. Today, this American architect has number of renowned skyscrapers' design to his credit such as the Burj Khalifa, Jin Mao Tower, Trump Tower, Kingdom Tower, and so forth.

Since his childhood, he has always been inspired by the idea of tall buildings. He always enjoyed drawing as a child and in a high school mechanical drawing class, his first drawing was of a 40-storey skyscraper in dramatic perspective. When he came to Chicago during his college years, he was quite impressed by the skyline and the idea that humankind could make its own mountains out of buildings. He wanted to be a part of that and today by the grace of God he is recognized for building tall, taller, and the tallest.

In addition to designing super-tall, sustainable buildings, Adrian is committed to the greening of existing structures and helping the building design industry meet its goal of "zero net energy" buildings by the year 2030. Towards that end, AS+GG developed plans for a "green" retrofit of Chicago's Willis Tower, popularly known as the Sears Tower, that could cut the building's electricity usage by 80%.

Born in August 19, 1944, Adrian's journey to the height of his profession began with four years of architecture study at Texas A&M from 1962-1966, before he was lured to Chicago for a summer internship, where he eventually finished his degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago and landed a job at Skidmore, Owings & Merill. He stayed at SOM for four decades, advancing through the ranks and eventually serving as chief executive officer during 1992 – 95, before leaving in 2006 to start AS + GG.

Adrian has been a practicing architect for more than 40 years. His unique design approach emphasizes sensitivity to the physical environment. He considers each project holistically, taking into consideration site orientation, climate and geography, cultural and social influences to create highly sustainable projects that achieve contextualism within the global environment.

"We use a holistic, integrated design approach that explores symbiotic relationships with the natural environment." - Architect Adrian Smith

Sustainable Architecture
During the early part of his working career with Bruce Graham at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, he learned about the science of architecture and how to build and detail and about the importance of proportion. In the late 1970s, while working on a project in Mexico, he was associated with Ricardo Legorreta, who introduced 21, the concept of contextualism which meant that a building should have a relationship to its surrounding context and draw from the culture and character of the place. The nature of the site, the climate, wind and soil conditions were all to be factored into the design of the project as well. More recently, Adrian has broadened his contextual principles to include the introduction of harvesting the energy sources from the earth, wind and sun by integrating wind turbines and photovoltaic systems into the design of the building projects in an expressive way that adds to the vocabulary of contextual architecture. This results in a kind of global environmental contextualism.

Due to his approach for creating and developing high-performance, energy-efficient, sustainable architecture, he has a number of recognitions and awards to his credit. Recently, Adrian, designer of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and a champion of sustainable design, received an honorary doctor of letters degree from Texas A&M at spring commencement. Widely regarded as the world's leading authority on super-tall buildings, Smith is an outstanding alumnus of the College of Architecture and founding principal of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. His honorary degree was authorized by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents at their Jan. 31, 2013 meeting, following recommendations from the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and University President R. Bowen Loftin.

Throughout his career, Adrian has played an active role in international projects and developments. Projects under his design direction have won over 110 major awards for design excellence, including five international awards, eight National AIA awards, 23 Chicago AIA awards, and two ULI Awards for Excellence. His work has been featured in major museums in the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Imperial Tower, India

Imperial Tower
At 116 stories and 400 meters tall, Imperial Tower was designed to be the tallest building in the city and a prototype for Mumbai, a densely developed but mostly low-rise metropolis whose urban future revolves around tall residential towers.

The softly curvilinear form of this tall, elegantly slender tower is aerodynamically shaped to “confuse the wind,” minimizing the negative effects of wind action on the tower. Wind vortex shedding is also mitigated by the north- and south-facing sky gardens, which break up wind currents around the tower. The sky gardens also provide unprecedented access to light, views and connection with the natural world that are unprecedented in Mumbai.

Imperial Tower will also offer the most spacious and luxurious residences in Mumbai. The 76,272- square-meter tower includes 132 residential units of between 195 and 1,115 square meters, along with serviced apartments of between 72 and 252 square meters. All of the upper-story condominiums offer breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea.

Architecturally, the exterior wall provides a strong visual contrast with the heavy masonry cladding of most surrounding buildings. The exterior wall is highly sustainable, blocking heat gain and diffusing direct sunlight in the hot and humid climate of Mumbai.

The sustainability of Imperial Tower is also evident in its treatment of water, one of the area's most precious resources. Water from mechanical systems is collected and treated as greywater; rainfall is also collected for re-use by the units. Highefficiency mechanical systems, a greenwall podium and the use of native plants in the landscaping and sky gardens also adds to the project's sustainable performance.