Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
  • Scott Duncan

About Scott Duncan

Scott Duncan is a Design Partner at SOM, where he leads the design of large-scale high-rise projects in Chicago and in cities around the world. Duncan is a leader in sustainable design and technological innovation and has championed the firm’s vision for integrated design. The designer of some of SOM’s most influential recent work, Duncan’s design philosophy centers on solutions leading teams of experts in engineering, sustainability, high performance design, urban design, and interior design to realize highly contextual and impactful work designed to improve the lives of people around the world.

Duncan has amassed extensive experience in the design and implementation of complex projects throughout Asia, India, and the Middle East, as well as in the United States—including large-scale mixed-use, transportation, commercial, hospitality, and residential developments. Notable projects…


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About Scott Duncan

Scott Duncan is a Design Partner at SOM, where he leads the design of large-scale high-rise projects in Chicago and in cities around the world. Duncan is a leader in sustainable design and technological innovation and has championed the firm’s vision for integrated design. The designer of some of SOM’s most influential recent work, Duncan’s design philosophy centers on solutions leading teams of experts in engineering, sustainability, high performance design, urban design, and interior design to realize highly contextual and impactful work designed to improve the lives of people around the world.

Duncan has amassed extensive experience in the design and implementation of complex projects throughout Asia, India, and the Middle East, as well as in the United States—including large-scale mixed-use, transportation, commercial, hospitality, and residential developments. Notable projects include a proposed 500-meter supertall tower in Nanjing, China; a 523-meter net-zero energy supertall tower in South Jakarta, Indonesia; a 380-meter World Trade Center tower in Guiyang, China; and One Bangkok, a 16-hectare sustainable development in central Bangkok, comprising several towers including one supertall—the first project in Thailand to target LEED® Platinum certification for Neighborhood Development.

His work has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects and the Municipal Art Society of New York; and has been published in A+U, Architectural Record, Casabella, Forbes, Metropolis, The New York Times, the Phaidon Atlas of World Architecture, and the SOM Journal. His projects have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, the Skyscraper Museum, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. In 2017, Duncan’s work on One Bangkok received a MIPIM Asia Award for Best Futura Project.

Duncan serves as Chair of the Height and Data Committee of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a member of the Board of Directors of the SOM Foundation, and a leader of The Earth Project, SOM’s multidisciplinary research project on planetary health. He has lectured or served as a guest critic at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan. Duncan regularly serves as a jury member for architectural awards programs around the world. Duncan holds degrees from Lehigh University and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

CTBUH Involvement

  • Board of Trustees, Trustee (2020 – Present)
  • Height and Data Committee, Chair (2018 – Present)
  • Live-Streamed Conference, Chicago Steering Committee (Chair 2020 – Present)
  • Past Roles:
  • Advisory Group (2015 – 2018)
  • Annual Conference, Presenter (New York 2015; China 2016; Middle East 2018; Chicago 2019)
  • Annual Conference, Steering Committee (Chicago 2019)

Events/Initiatives Involving Scott Duncan

IIT Final Reviews and Annual Open House

3 May 2019, Event Report – Final reviews were held for the “Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: Towards Net-Zero…

CTBUH Earmarks $85,000 to Support Research & Academic Programs

CTBUH Earmarks $85,000 to Support Research & Academic Programs

6 Nov 2018, CTBUH Research – During the CTBUH 2018 Middle East Conference, awards were conferred in…

Record Numbers Convene at 2018 Leaders Meeting

Record Numbers Convene at 2018 Leaders Meeting

20 Oct 2018, Event Report – CTBUH Leaders convened on Day 1 of the 2018 Middle East Conference for updates on…

Events/Initiatives Involving Scott Duncan

IIT Final Reviews and Annual Open House
3 May 2019, Chicago – Event Report
Final reviews were held for the “Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: Towards Net-Zero Carbon Skyscrapers”, undertaken by the IIT College of Architecture, with assistance from CTBUH and SOM.
CTBUH Earmarks $85,000 to Support Research & Academic Programs
6 Nov 2018, Dubai – CTBUH Research
During the CTBUH 2018 Middle East Conference, awards were conferred in relation to five CTBUH Research and Academic programs that will produce a number of important future outputs.
Record Numbers Convene at 2018 Leaders Meeting
20 Oct 2018, Dubai – Event Report
CTBUH Leaders convened on Day 1 of the 2018 Middle East Conference for updates on the year's developments and to plan for 2019.
Height & Data Committee Meets at 2018 Middle East Conference
20 Oct 2018, Dubai – Event Report
The CTBUH Height and Data Committee met to discuss several key definitions of structural types, as well as some urban-scale considerations.
Height and Data Committee Call for Members and New Chair
9 Aug 2018, Chicago – CTBUH News
CTBUH is reinvigorating its Height and Data Committee, seeking new members to join under the leadership of Scott Duncan, SOM, who has been named the new Chair.

See all initiatives involving Scott Duncan

Scott Duncan Related Resources

Guiyang World Trade Center: An Essay on the Concrete Tube Structure

26 Oct 2015 – CTBUH 2015 New York Conference
Scott Duncan, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

2015 New York Conference - Session 1a - Q&A

26 Oct 2015 – CTBUH 2015 New York Conference
Panel Questions & Answers

Megacities: Design Challenges and Responses

17 Oct 2016 – CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue IV
Scott Duncan & Philip Enquist, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP

SOM and China: Evolving Skyscraper Design Amid Rapid Urban Growth

Oct 2016 – CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue IV
Scott Duncan & Yue Zhu, SOM

Guiyang World Trade Center: An Essay on the Concrete Tube Structure

26 Oct 2015 – Asia & Australasia: A Selection of Written Works on the World's Tall Building Forefront
Scott Duncan, Brant Coletta & Rami Abou-Khalil, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Yuping Luo, Zhongtian Urban Development Group Co., Ltd

Scott Duncan Related Papers/Research

Megacities: Design Challenges and Responses
17 Oct 2016 – CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue IV; Scott Duncan & Philip Enquist, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP
As this issue and the International Conference are focused on the megacity phenomenon, this edition of Talking Tall features two people who have designed tall buildings, large projects, and entire urban areas in some of the world’s largest and most…
SOM and China: Evolving Skyscraper Design Amid Rapid Urban Growth
Oct 2016 – CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue IV; Scott Duncan & Yue Zhu, SOM
China’s rapid urban and economic growth has challenged designers, engineers, and planners to innovate and collaborate to meet the needs of a changing country. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been practicing in China for more than two decades,…
Guiyang World Trade Center: An Essay on the Concrete Tube Structure
26 Oct 2015 – Asia & Australasia: A Selection of Written Works on the World's Tall Building Forefront; Scott Duncan, Brant Coletta & Rami Abou-Khalil, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Yuping Luo, Zhongtian Urban Development Group Co., Ltd
The acute global concern about resource depletion is driving a reconsideration of the tall-building typology. Expectations for energy and material efficiencies are always increasing – particularly for a highly-engineered building type like the…