SOM's Bill Baker to Receive Highest Honor from The Institution of Structural Engineers Print
Sunday, 28 February 2010 10:04

William F. Baker P.E., S.E., FIStructE, Structural Engineering Partner at Skidmore, Owings  & Merrill LLP (SOM) will be recognized with the Gold Medal from The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) for his work as an internationally acclaimed structural engineer.  Founded in 1908 and headquartered in the United Kingdom, IStructE is the world’s largest membership organization dedicated to the art and science of structural engineering.

In response to receiving the news, Baker commented, “I am quite overwhelmed by the honor of receiving the Gold Medal.  I am humbled to be recognized by my peers and to be in the company of some of the greatest structural engineers of the modern age.”

The Gold Medal is the Institution’s highest individual award for ‘exceptional and outstanding contributions to the advancement of structural engineering.’  The award was first presented in 1922 to Professor Henry Adams.  Previous winners of the Gold Medal include Felix Candela (1960), Luigi Nervi (1967), Ove Arup (1973), Fritz Leonhardt (1975), Jorg Schlaich (1990), Edmund Happold (1991), Anthony Hunt (1994), Michel Virlogeux (1996), Ian Liddell (1999), Leslie Robertson (2004) and David Nethercot (2009).

Throughout his distinguished career, Baker has dedicated himself to structural innovation – most notably in the design of tall buildings.  His most recent contribution has been to develop the “buttressed core” structural system for the Burj Khalifa, a system which, in conjunction with sophisticated wind engineering, makes it possible to construct skyscrapers of extreme elevation.  The Burj Khalifa is currently the world’s tallest manmade structure.

According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), three of the five tallest buildings to top out in 2009 are credited to SOM where Baker led the structural engineering: Burj Khalifa (Dubai), Nanjing Greenland Financial Center (Nanjing), and Trump International Hotel & Tower (Chicago).

Other notable projects include the Broadgate Exchange House (London), Korean Air Lines Operations Center (Seoul) Infinity Tower (Dubai), General Motors Renaissance Center – North Lobby (Detroit) and Raspberry Island – Schubert Club Band Shell (St. Paul).

In 2008, Baker received the Fazlur Rahman Khan Medal for lifetime achievement from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.  In 2009, he was the first American to receive the Fritz Leonhardt Prize (Germany) in recognition of his engineering accomplishments. 

Baker will give his Gold Medal Address at the Institution of Structural Engineers/IABSE Lecture on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at the Institute of Directors, London.