Designers, builders, and government must work toward the same goal — our lives depend on it.

by Kent Jackson

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The University of California, Merced campus is designed to achieve net-zero emissions, energy use, and waste by 2020—well ahead of California’s already ambitious statewide targets. Photo: Dave Burk © SOM

The climate crisis is no longer a distant alarm — it’s already becoming an immediate reality. As wildfires rage on the west coast of the United States, millions of residents are breathing polluted air. The scenes of devastation recall the unprecedented brushfires we witnessed in Australia last year. Floodwaters from a record hurricane season inundate cities and towns in the southeastern U.S., while earlier this month Japan and Korea were battered by two of the earliest and strongest typhoons on record. Here in the U.K., increased flooding now places one in six homes, or 2.4 million people, at risk.

Natural disasters are nothing new, but we are now witnessing climate events of a harrowing scale and intensity—while scientists predict that hurricanes and wildfires will only become more devastating in the coming decades. It’s clear that climate change is no longer a matter of remote concern. For people around the world, the consequences of inaction are already hitting close to home. …

An architect, mentor, and community builder shares her story.

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Photo © Danielle Campbell | SOM

Right out of architecture school, Ingedia Sanchez landed on the design team for the world’s tallest building. Since joining SOM in 2003, her career has been a steady rise. In addition to her work as a technical architect, Ingedia is a mentor and community leader. In July she was elected the president of the nonprofit organization Arquitectos; she is the first licensed woman architect to hold this role.

I’m a technical architect in our Chicago office. My role is to take a project from the later stages of schematic design through construction administration, coordinating with consultants and with the client. …

A Chicago-based designer shares how she got her start.

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Morgynn Wiley in SOM’s Chicago office. Photo © SOM

Chicago native Morgynn Wiley got a head start as a summer intern at SOM, hit the ground running out of architecture school, and hasn’t broken stride since. For the first profile in our Spotlight series, Morgynn takes a break from her design job to tell us about working in her hometown, the opportunities she’s found as an entry-level designer, and why one portfolio does not fit all.

I’ve been working full time at SOM for a little over two years; it’s my first job out of architecture school. …



We are a collective of architects, designers, engineers, and planners building a better future. To learn more, visit www.som.com.

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