Chicago Architectural Firm Sued For One World Trade Center Design

June 19, 2017

A former grad student of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Jeehoon Park, filed suit against Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) last week for allegedly copying his master's thesis project design and using it as the basis for the new One World Trade Center building in New York.

The suit claims employees of SOM saw his project and copied it for the New York building without crediting Park.

The student project in question was Park's Cityfront '99 that features an inverted triangular glass facade similar to the design of One World Trade Center. Park says his master's thesis adviser, Ahmad Abdelrazaq, is employed by SOM and had access to the Cityfront '99 design. Illinois Institute of Technology is one of 21 institutions that comprise the Association of Independent Technological Universities in the Chicago area.

Park's thesis project was also displayed in the lobby of IIT in downtown Chicago and also was filmed as part of the 2006 movie "The Lake House."

Park is currently president of Qube Architecture, a homebuilder in Suwanee, Ga. He is seeking unspecified damages, including for alleged harm to his architectural practice which is listed as generating less than $100,000 last year, plus credit for the design he said inspired One World Trade Center.