As a corporate entity, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is not easy to understand. Founded by brothers-in-law Louis Skidmore (1897–1962) and Nathaniel A. Owings (1903–84), the firm grew quickly, opening its first office in Chicago in 1936, a second in New York in 1937, and a third in San Francisco in 1947. Offices were opened thereafter in Portland, Oregon (1951; closed in 1990), Washington, D.C. (1967), Boston (1971; closed in 1985), Los Angeles (1974), Houston (1976; closed in 1988), Denver (1977; closed in 1987), and London (1986). Today SOM is also represented in China, India, and the Middle East. Although the Chicago office is conventionally considered the firm's...

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