A collaboration between architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Taubman College is one of thirteen architectural projects from across the United States honored as part of this year’s American Institute of Architects (AIA) Small Projects Awards. The awards represent small firms and sole practitioners across the country, showcasing the breadth and depth of work produced.
SPLAM Timber Pavilion was originally a contribution to the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Wes McGee, associate professor of architecture, and Tsz Yan Ng, associate professor of architecture, collaborated with SOM to design and build an outdoor pavilion utilizing robotic fabrication techniques for Epic Academy in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. SPLAM Timber Pavilion was constructed from sustainably sourced timber and showcases an optimized structural layout using spatial laminated timber to produce a more sustainable and efficient slab to inform design and construction processes. Located at EPIC Academy, SPLAM also functions as an outdoor classroom and an event and performance space for students and teachers.
According to the design team, "The pavilion has improved the existing site parking lot. It is now a vibrant space for learning and connection and regularly hosts community events and gatherings. When it debuted during the Chicago Architectural Biennial, it hosted performances by local artists from Chicago State University’s drumline and Back Alley Jazz, drawing attention to the pavilion’s presence at the school and its innovative features. It is a natural extension of EPIC Academy’s core values, focusing on active and experiential learning."
The jury commented, “This collaborative material exploration into the constructional possibilities of spatial laminated timber beautifully coalesces the spatial consequences of structural logic, module, and assembly."
Autodesk is featuring SPLAM in their McCormick Center booth at the AIA '22 Conference this year. The conference takes place June 22 to June 25, 2022. The McCormick Center booth will be in the South Building, Level 3, 3817 in the Software and Tech Pavilion.