2021 Virtual Honor Award

On June 17, the National Building Museum will recognize global design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) as the 34th recipient of the Honor Award. This award acknowledges the firm’s extraordinary contributions to the architectural canon and its historic leadership on the critical issues of our industry. At the onset of a decade that may very well determine the future of our planet, SOM is leading the building industry’s response to the climate crisis through action and advocacy. Even as we celebrate the firm, SOM is challenging all of us by calling for immediate action that recognizes the urgency of the crisis and a transformational shift in how we design, build, and do business.

The National Building Museum is offering an open invitation to the industry, museum members, and the public to join the June 17 virtual Honor Award celebration and NBM Climate Action Programming.


Beyond the award presentation, the virtual celebration will offer an evening of entertainment and inspiration. Hosted by Tony Kornheiser of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, the event will be supported by a roster of community and industry luminaries and center around the 2021 honoree, SOM, and their Call for Climate Action.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will serve as keynote speakers for its virtual 2021 Honor Award event on June 17. David M. Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, will interview both about the urgency for climate action in the building industry and beyond, and explore how each is championing accelerated positive change. Attendees can look forward to a robust discussion on how public- and private-sector collaboration and innovation are needed to address the critical issue of global warming, this generation’s most compelling challenge. Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the co-author of the Green New Deal, will also contribute his perspective during the event.

Registration includes access to NBM Climate Action programming, as the Museum and SOM co-host a series of expert-led webinars discussing climate change. See below for more information.

Attendance to the Honor Award and associated programs is free to individual Museum members and to students.

May 19, 6:30–8pm / Getting to Net Zero: Immediate Climate Action in the Building Industry. The bold steps the industry needs to take, the potential for an all-electric future, and the opportunities that lie ahead on the path to net zero.

May 27, 6:30–8pm / Climate Justice and Social Equity. How climate change and economic and social inequity are intertwined, and what actions the industry should take to address this.

June 3, 6:30–8pm / “Green Innovation” as Savior? Rethinking Technology. The complex role of technology in achieving net zero and the importance of looking forward and backward for solutions to the climate crisis.

June 10, 6:30–8pm / Investing in Our Future. The opportunities and challenges of green investing and the necessity of government action to spur the creation of green infrastructure.