Juan Betancur


Juan Betancur

Juan Betancur AIA, LEED AP

Director Juan Betancur has extensive experience in the design of supertall, commercial and mixed-use sustainable building projects around the world.

Before joining AS+GG in 2008, Juan was an associate and studio head at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where he concentrated on large-scale projects in China. On two of the projects—the Shanghai Grand and Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, a 280,000-square-meter mixed-use complex featuring a supertall tower—Juan collaborated with Adrian Smith and/or Gordon Gill while they were at SOM.

Juan’s approach to design emphasizes the geographic, environmental and cultural contexts of each project. Rather than imposing a preconceived style, he allows the project to grow organically out of the site and the design process itself, always striving to arrive at a result that wouldn’t fit anywhere else. And he prefers developing designs primarily with models rather than renderings.

Originally from Colombia, Juan grew up in Miami.


Master of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2002
Bachelors of Design in Architecture, University of Florida, 1999


American Institute of Architects (AIA)
LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)


“Off the Grid: Embedded Power Generation/Net Positive,” Facades+ Conference, Chicago, Illinois, July 25, 2014
“Supertall Buildings: Architecture + Structural Design,” BUILDINGChicago/Greening the Heartland, Chicago, Illinois, September 11, 2013
“FKI: Developing Curtain Wall Systems for the 21st Century,” The Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, Chicago, Illinois, March, 2013
“Skyscrapers,” The Encyclopedia Show, Vittum Theater, Chicago, Illinois, October 4, 2013
“Multitasking façade. Federation of Korean Industries as a Prototype,” Facades + Innovation Conference, Chicago, Illinois, October, 2012
“Wuhan Greenland Center Main Tower: Seamlessly Integrating Structure and Architecture,” Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat 9th World Congress, Shanghai China, September, 2012
“Case Study: The Wuhan Greenland Center,”  The Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, Chicago, Illinois, March 2012
“Why Built Tall,” Cornell University Program in Real Estate Distinguished Speakers Series, Ithaca, New York, February 2012
“Multitasking façade:  How to combine BIPV with passive solar mitigation strategies in a high-rise curtain wall system,” 6th ENERGY FORUM on Solar Building Skins, Bressanone, Italy, December 2011
“Design of Super High-Rise Towers,” Latin American Congress of Construction for the 21th Century, Bogota, Colombia, April 2010


CTBUH, Best Tall Building Asia and Australasia, Finalist, Federation of Korean Industries, 2014
Structural Engineers Association of Illinois, Excellence in Structural Engineering Award, Winner, Best Project $150 million and over, Federation of Korean Industries, 2014
Architizer A+ Award, Office Building High Rise, Finalist, Federation of Korean Industries, 2014
Structural Engineers Association of Illinois, Best International Project Over $150 Million, Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, 2012 (While Senior Designer at SOM)

Major projects at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture:

Federation of Korean Industries
50 story, 240 meter tower in downtown Seoul will provide the headquarters for the Federation of Korean Industries. The Class A office building also includes dining facilities, theater and conference center and rooftop garden. Seoul, Korea

Wuhan Greenland Center
119-story, 606-meter tall, 300,000 sm mixed-use tower features 50 office floors, 17 residential floors and 22 hotel floors and four club levels, four sky lobbies, and multiple mechanical floors. Wuhan, China

Confidential Chinese Development
Master planning, architectural and interior design of mixed-use development in Beijing’s Central Business District featuring residential, retail, educational and recreational facilities along with extensive landscaping. Beijing, China

Feinberg School of Medicine Competition
111,483 sm design for competition entry set within the urban context of the Streeterville Northwestern Campus. The layered massing approach builds upon this tradition, where form does follow function, expressing offices, labs, collaborative program elements and a solar spine as a series of differentiated layers or vertical blades of glass that give scale, texture and meaning to this landmark 21st Century high rise laboratory building. Chicago, Illinois

Jinan Pulimen Super High-Rise Commercial Complex
Competition entry for 227 meter-tall mixed-use tower including office, retail and residential components. Design incorporated sustainable elements such as solar hot water tubes, perforated metal shading and high-performance glazing as well as a plan for zero-net water usage. Jinan, China

Za’abeel Energy Master Plan
Master planning and architecture for large-scale mixed-use district, including office, hotel, parks and civic spaces. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Za’abeel Signature Tower
A 600 meter tall, 500,000 sm office and hotel tower that serves as the focal point of a new development. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Za’abeel Commercial Tower
A 400 meter tall, 120,000 sm office and residential tower.


Major projects at SOM, prior to joing Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture:

Shangri-La at the Fort
Design of a 230-meter tall, hotel and residential tower and podium for the well know international luxury deluxe hotel brand having a total area of 166,000 sm. The tower contains 300 luxury residences and 500 guestrooms. Podium contains meeting and conference spaces, restaurant and retail venues and faces an arcade which links into a district wide pedestrian system. Manila, Philippines

Nanjing Greenland Financial Center
Architectural design for 3.5 million sf mixed use supertall building including office, hotel service apartments and commercial functions. Nanjing, China

White Magnolia Plaza
A 400,000 sm mixed-use complex adjacent to the new cruise ship terminal. Shanghai, China

Shanghai Grand
A 40-story, 100,000 sm office building in the Pudong District. Shanghai, China 

Suzhou International Expo Center
A 280,000 sm exposition center for the new Suzhou industrial park. Suzhou, China, 2008

Shanghai World Expo Center 2010
Competition entry for Exposition Center and Government Facility for Shanghai 2010 Expo. 2006, Shanghai, China

King Abdullah Economic City
Master Plan for new city for 2,000,000 inhabitants, on the Red Sea, north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. City will be a modern community comprised of industrial, residential, office & financial, educational, commercial, resort, port facility and governmental agency facilities. 2006, Saudi Arabia

Beijing Central Business District Master Plan
Competition entry for master plan at the core of Beijing business district, featuring residential and commercial parcels, central park, and courtyard spaces.  2004, Beijing, China

Canary Wharf HQ1
Architectural design services for Morgan Stanley European Headquarters. 2004, London, United Kingdom

Juan Betancur on...

It allows the voices in my head to have an outlet.

where he finds inspiration
In each challenge as it is presented to me.

his favorite "moment" in architecture
Riding in the construction elevator in a building I helped design.

his favorite city architecturally

his favorite thing about a collaborative design process
Allowing two different design ideas to occupy the same space.

what he's doing when I'm not designing