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+ Beyond the Structure


The Architects’ Association of Madrid (COAM) hosted until 20 June the travelling exhibition Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), which gives an overview of the structural engineering practice of this legendary firm and its integration into architectural design, revealing the concepts and forms that emerge as a result of this relationship.

The show includes freehand sketches, conceptual models, visual immersion and a series of structural maquettes on a scale of 1:500, highlighting some of this firm’s revolutionary projects around the world such as the JTI headquarters in Geneva, the Exchange House building in London, the Hotel Arts of Barcelona, Sears Towers (currently known as Willis Tower) and Burj Khalifa.

As an added novelty, the Madrid edition included a timbrel vault structure measuring 5mx5m and 3m in height. Built from brick and superposed mortar, its design incorporates vaulted edges and methods for optimising the shape to create an ultra-light and efficient structure. The piece exemplifies one of the exhibition’s main themes: how the economy of a structure depends on the efficiency of its construction. The vault was made in collaboration with Alcalá University and the Timbrel Vault Workshop.


Hortaleza, 63 
28004 Madrid. Spain

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