Bruce Graham Architect, SOM Buildings, America, Design, Chicago, Sears Tower, Office

Bruce Graham, Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Contemporary Architecture Practice, New York, USA

post updated Apr 27, 2021

SOM Architects Studio News

Bruce Graham dies at 84

Dates: 1925 -2010

Architect Bruce Graham died at home in Hobe Sound, Martin County, Florida, United States. Although the architect died on Saturday news only emerged today, with a report in the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune state cause of death, according to son George, was complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Bruce Graham Architect, SOM
photo : SOM / Stuart Rodgers Photography

Bruce Graham was famous for many designs – such as the Lever Building – but probably best known as the architect of the Sears Tower in Chicago. Both Bruce Graham and SOM established a repuation for elegant, rectilinear skyscraper designs, mostly in the United States of America but increasingly across the world. He was the most powerful Chicago architect of his generation and influenced by architect Mies van der Rohe. Skidmore Owings Merrill architects remain a global force.

John Hancock Center building design by Bruce Graham Architect Sears Tower Building design by Bruce Graham Architect
Sears Tower / John Hancock Center photos courtesy of Jan Klerks

The architect was born in La Cumbre, Colombia but grew up in Puerto Rico.

Architect Alan Dunlop, of gm+ad architects commented “I’m shocked by this, particularly as I will be speaking about the Inland Steel Building tonight as a significant part of my Teasing the Grid public lecture. Early SOM, when Graham and Netsch were leading had a significant influence on my work and thoughts about architecture. Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch were heroes of mine. Netsch designed Inland Steel but it was completed by Graham, in a time when Skidmore’s were truly among the great American architect practices.”

The architect’s parents were a Canadian-born international banker and Peruvian mother. In the 1940s settled in the USA, first in the navy, then studying architecture. He joined Skidmore Owings Merrill in 1951.

Major Projects designed by Bruce Graham / SOM, chronological

Inland Steel Building, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date built: 1958
John Hancock Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date built: 1970
Sears Tower (renamed Willis Tower), Wacker Drive, Chicago, USA
Date built: 1973
Sears Tower Chicago : classic Bruce Graham building
First Wisconsin Plaza, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Date built: 1974
Arts Hotel, Barcelona, Spain
Date built: 1992

Bruce Graham – Education

This US architect received his architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948.

Bruce Graham – Practice

Bruce worked for Holabird & Roche architects but spent most of his career as an architect – and partner – at SOM. He joined the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1951 as chief of design and became a partner in 1960. He retired from SOM in 1989 and moved to Florida, USA.

Project designed by Bruce Graham / SOM in more detail

Arts Hotel, Port Olimpic, Barcelona, Spain
Date built: 1992
Design: Bruce Graham of Skidmore Owings Merrill Architects (SOM Architects)
Arts Hotel Barcelona
photo © Adrian Welch
This tower (left of the image) is 154m high and uses and expressed, white-painted regular structural frame: Arts Hotel Barcelona

Bruce Graham Chicago Tribute

October 28, 2010 (Chicago) – More than 500 people gathered at the Art Institute of Chicago on October 14 to celebrate the illustrious career of the late, famed Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect, Bruce Graham. This tribute event featured renowned leaders in the architecture, design and construction industries who gathered to pay tribute to Graham’s legacy and extraordinary contributions to the skylines of the city of Chicago and major metropolitan areas around the world.

Honorary Bruce J. Graham Way / John Hancock Center, Chicago:
Bruce Graham Street
image : SOM | Pamela Yasuko Photography

More information re architect Bruce Graham online soon

Location: New York, USA

Major SOM Projects, reverse chronological

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Date built: 2010
Burj Khalifa skyscraper
photograph : Imre Solt
Burj Khalifa : tallest building in world

Al Hamra & Firdous tower – AHF Tower, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Date built: 2007-
Al Hamra & Firdous Tower
image from architects
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – skyscraper

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong
Date built: 1988
Hong Kong Convention Centre
image : SOM
Hong Kong Convention Centre Building

New York Architects Offices

Former SOM designer : Marshall Strabala

SOM architects studios based in the USA and other locations across the globe

SOM partner : Walter Netsch

Gordon Bunschaft (+ Oscar Niemeyer) : Pritzker Prize architects Winners 1988

Chicago Architecture

World Skyscrapers

American Architects

Chicago Architectural Designs

Chicago Building Designs – architectural selection below:

Obama Presidential Center, Jackson Park, Southside
Design: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA) in collaboration with Chicago-based Interactive Design Architects (IDEA)
Obama Presidential Center Building Jackson Park - Chicago architecture news
images courtesy of the Obama Foundation
Obama Presidential Center, Jackson Park: OPC Chicago
The Obama Foundation release new renderings of the Obama Presidential Center planned for a site in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. The drawings show subtle but significant revisions to the design by TWBTA with IDEA.

Apple Michigan Avenue
Architects: Foster + Partners
Apple on Michigan Avenue Chicago architecture news
photography © Nigel Young Foster + Partners
Apple on Michigan Avenue
Inspired by the pulse of Chicago’s artistic energy, Apple has created a new platform for performance in a city charged by music. Located at the intersection of the Chicago River and North Michigan Avenue’s ‘Magnificent Mile’, Apple Michigan Avenue cascades down from Pioneer Court to the river’s edge, creating new connections between the city and the river.

Buildings / photos for the Bruce Graham Architect page welcome

Website: Bruce Graham, SOM