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International News

Foundation celebrating its 32th Anniversary

Winner of the 2013 SOM Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship

Yao Xiao Image: © SOM

The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) Foundation announced that the $10,000 SOM 2013 Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship has been awarded to Yao Xiao, who in April received her Master of Science Degree in Structural Engineering from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. In addition to her academic course work for which Prof. Gregory Deierlein served as her Advisor, Yao participated with a student team in the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in 2012, and worked with Prof. Calvin Kam as a Research Assistant at the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, evaluating the BIM/VDC performance of various building projects. This research contributed to her knowledge of construction technologies, including pre-fabrication, and inspired her to seek optimization techniques and efficiency in structural design to improve project efficiency and cost. Yao’s Stanford research experience influenced her choice of research topic for her SOM Foundation Fellowship.

Based on her winning essay, "Repetition and Modularity in Structural Design," Xiao will utilize her fellowship to research examples of notable buildings and structures which, "…demonstrate the critical architectural, structural and construction techniques of modular repetition which differentiates the selected structures from the typical.” In seeking to answer the question, "What design choices make the difference in promoting elegance, efficiency and economy?", Yao will travel to project locations in South America, Asia and Europe to conduct a focused study of selected projects which demonstrate the aesthetic influence of repetitive modules toward structure, space and the surrounding environment; the flexibility and innovative functions brought by modular design; and the benefits and issues associated with constructability.

Having grown up in Beijing, China, Yao attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering Degree, Magna Cum Laude, in May 2011. While at IIT, she was an Architectural Summer Intern in 2009 at the China Architecture Design and Research Group where she participated in the Conceptual Design Phase of the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center.

The SOM Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship is awarded annually through a national competition. In January 2013, the SOM Foundation received portfolio submissions from students at US schools having an accredited program in civil and structural engineering. The submissions were judged on the quality of the design portfolios, research proposals and travel itineraries.

Meeting in San Francisco in March 2013 to select the winner, Mark Sarkisian, SOMSF Structural Engineering Director, convened the Jury, comprised of distinguished Bay Area professionals, Glenn Isaacson, Principal, CMA; Kang Kiang AIA, Principal, Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects; Jes Pederson, CEO/President, Webcor Builders; and Maryann Phipps, President, Estructure.

About the SOM Foundation
In this 32th year of Foundation Awards, the Fellowships continue to offer recent graduates the rare opportunity to travel in connection with carrying out in-depth research, collaborate with other professionals and pursue independent study outside the realm of established patterns. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $1,900,000 to architecture, design and engineering students who have gone on to distinguish themselves in professional and academic careers.

The primary mission of the SOM Foundation is to administer and award its Travelling Fellowship Program, which assists young architects, designers and engineers to expand their professional education through the observations of culture, history, building and design that can only be achieved through travel. Since 1971, Foundation Fellows have travelled to every continent, except Antarctica, in carrying out their research.

In addition to the SOM Prize, and the $10,000 Structural Engineering Fellowship, the Foundation also sponsors two $2,500 Travel Fellowships, administered through the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to two students of architecture in the United Kingdom, and funds a $10,000 China Prize, bringing the total value of awards and travel fellowships to a total of $100,000 annually.

The programs of the SOM Foundation are funded through an endowment established by the partners of the architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). The Foundation’s activities are wholly separate from those of the firm.

2014 Competition Details and Deadlines
Details and deadlines for the SOM Prize and Travel Fellowship Awards in Architecture, Design & Urban Design 2014 will be posted in late February 2014.

Further Information:
SOM
www.som.com
SOM Foundation
www.somfoundation.som.com

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