The Real Deal New York

SOM taps former City Planning official to head NYC urban design practice

Firm also promoted 6 new partners and 11 new directors.
By Kathryn Brenzel | October 10, 2018 07:00AM

Keith O’Connor and 14 Wall Street (Credit: LinkedIn and Wikipedia)

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has tapped a former City Planning official to head its City Design Practice in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Keith O’Connor, who served as director of Lower Manhattan and chief planner of special projects in Manhattan during the Bloomberg administration, will oversee the firm’s urban design practice in the two cities. SOM has nine offices with urban design practices, including in Chicago and Los Angeles, which focus on city planning, open space, adaptive reuse and other types of projects.

“One of the things that we’ve been increasingly conscious of is the need to move beyond the single building,” O’Connor said.

The New York practice worked on the masterplan for Brookfield’s Manhattan West development and on the redevelopment of the Moynihan Train Hall.

O’Connor most recently served as a principal at landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations. He was also a senior field director with the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, National Trust for Historical Preservation. While at City planning from 2006 to 2012, he worked on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, the High Line and the Eastern Railyards at Hudson Yards.

In addition to hiring O’Connor, SOM also recently promoted six new partners and 11 new directors.