Betancur for web 2

Juan Betancur

AS+GG Director Juan Betancur, AIA, LEED AP has extensive experience in the design of supertall, high-performance buildings. Through his work he has developed a comprehensive design approach incorporating innovative ways to understand the issues that have plagued this building typology for decades. Juan believes that through smart design like basic principles of orientation, natural ventilation, and building massing, we can reduce the consumption of natural resources.

As a Director at AS+GG, and previously as an Associate at SOM Chicago, Juan’s design focus is on large-scale and supertall projects. He was the Senior Architect on Wuhan Greenland Center, a 606-meter-tall, mixed-use tower now under construction in China that is set to become the world’s fourth tallest building and on FKI Tower in Seoul, Korea, which features a unique photovoltaic facade integrated into the spandrel areas of the southwest and northwest facades. In his previous role at SOM, Juan worked on a number of projects in China including Pearl River Tower, a 303-meter tower designed to harvest wind and solar energy in Guangzhou; Zifeng Tower, a 350,000 square-meter, mixed-use supertall building in Nanjing; and Shanghai Grand, a 40-story, 100,000 square-meter office building in Shanghai.

Juan has been a guest speaker at dozens of conferences including BUILDINGChicago/Greening the Heartland Conference in Chicago, Chicago Facades + Innovation Conference, Zak World of Facades, and the CTBUH World Congress. Juan has lectured  at the Latin American Congress of Construction for the 21st Century, where he presented “Design of Super High-Rise Towers,” and in Bressanone, Italy where he gave a speech called “Energy Forum on Solar Building Skins.”

Juan has also been active in education. He has taught studio classes and been a guest critic and lecturer at both the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Chicago. At AS+GG, he has developed a curated design lecture series that focuses on expanding the design discourse within the office and has also taken a lead role in the mentoring of young designers at the firm.

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)
Ace Mentor Program, Board Member
CTBUH 10th World Congress, Steering Committee
CTBUH Future Leaders Committee


“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


The American Architecture Prize, Architectural Design | Tall Buildings, Winner, FKI Tower, 2017
Re-Thinking the Future, Sustainability Award, First Award, Mixed-Use, Wuhan Greenland Center, 2016
Re-Thinking the Future, Sustainability Award, First Award, Commercial, FKI Tower, 2016
AIA Chicago, Divine Detail Award, FKI Tower BIPV, 2016
The Chicago Athenaeum, International Architecture Award, FKI Tower, 2016
Architectural Review, MIPIM Future Project Award, Tall Buildings, Commendation, Biophilic Tower, 2016
The Chicago Athenaeum, Green Good Design Award, Green Architecture, FKI Tower, 2015
Civic Trust Awards, Civic Trust Award, FKI Tower, 2015
Korean Architecture Award, Excellence Award, FKI Tower, 2014
Korea Presidential Commission on Architecture Policy, Korea Green Building Award, FKI Tower, 2014
Re-Thinking the Future, Sustainability Award, Honorable Mention, FKI Tower, 2014
AIA Chicago, Distinguished Building Award, Citation of Merit, FKI Tower, 2014
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:

Forbes International Tower
New mixed-use office tower in the heart of Cairo’s rising New Administrative Capital was designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The curvilinear design of glass and steel will rise 43 floors and feature two stories of high-end retail spaces. Cairo, Egypt

Freed Hotel and Residences
Mixed-use tower features 100 five-star luxury hotel rooms and 400 luxury condominiums with a world class Skybar and restaurant on the 63rd floor, boutique spa, and a 10,000 sq ft Katsuya Restaurant on the 2nd floor. Toronto, Ontario

Uptown District Tower
190,000 sm 72-story mixed-use tower includes office, residential, and hotel functions. The retail podium includes spaces for vehicle parking, MEP rooms, back of house spaces, a ballroom, and conference rooms, as well as separate entrances for the tower’s functions. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

830 Brickell
Now under construction, 830 Brickell is the first new office tower to launch in Miami in nearly a decade. The soaring 57-story, 724-foot-tall tower introduces a premium commercial to the city’s booming financial district and seeks to reinvent the workplace lifestyle for the highest-caliber of global workforce. Miami, Florida

Golden Leaf Gardens
Highly sustainable mixed-use complex sets a new standard for buildings in Shanghai. The project manages 100% of rainwater on site, supporting a robust approach to resiliency. The buildings are designed to be certified LEED Platinum under the USGBC’s LEED rating scheme for core and shell. Shanghai, China

Una Residences
47-story luxury residential tower, currently under design, to be located directly on Biscayne Bay. The design takes full advantage of this rare waterfront site and will leverage the features that bring people to Miami, namely expansive views, access to sun, and an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The 146-residence luxury building recently launched sales. Miami, Florida

Imperial Tower 5
Pair of 200-meter-tall high-end luxury towers. To take advantage of the unique site geometry, an advanced 3D model and VR simulation with parametric interface was created to maximize the most optimal views of the city. Mumbai, India

Tribune Tower East
Residential mixed-use project includes 200 hotel rooms, 125 condo units, and 439 rental units. Vehicle and pedestrian entries at multiple street levels are organized for specified pickup and drop off areas for tenants, visitors, rideshare services, and commercial vehicles. Chicago, Illinois

Waterfront Tower
356,000 sf office tower adjacent to Vancouver’s transit hub, features semi-private courtyard amenity space and open plaza with unobstructed waterfront views. Amenities include conference facilities and fitness rooms. Vancouver, British Columbia

Burj 2020
Commercial tower complex focuses on sustainability strategies including water use reduced by 51% and overall energy use reduced by 38% against baseline building design. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

FKI Tower
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

Steppenwolf Theater Campus Expansion
Renovations and additions to existing structure for major Chicago theater company. The 50,000-square-foot building expansion will include an education center, a two-story atrium lobby, and a wine bar with a sidewalk lounge that will act as a gathering space where artists and audiences can mingle. Chicago, Illinois

Beijing CBD
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

Tianfu New District Master Plan
Located 30 kilometers south of Chengdu, this new city plan consideres unique features such as existing valleys, ridges and slopes and reinterprets them as parks, plazas, pedestrian streets and retail corridors. Developed guidelines for buildings that range from 5-story buildings, up to signature towers of over 300 meters. Chengdu, China

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

Crown Sydney Hotel
Architectural competition entry for hotel and residential towers designed to reach a 5-Star ranking within the GreenStar performance category. The design’s sustainable strategies include optimized orientation, self-shading balconies and a high-performance facade. Overall, the design has a 60% reduction in emissions compared to similar developments. Sydney, Australia

The Biophilic Tower
Mixed-use, self-sustaining, intelligent 700 meter tall, 118-story tower. Includes office, apartment, hotel, retail, and conference center podium. Suzhou, 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