Park’s Cityfront ’99 design (left) compared to One World Trade Center (right). Image via 6sqft

Park’s Cityfront ’99 design (left) compared to One World Trade Center (right). Image via 6sqft

Architect Jeehoon Park has filed a lawsuit against Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), claiming the design of New York City’s One World Trade Center was stolen from a project he developed as a graduate student at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1999.

The lawsuit states that the 104-story One World Trade bears a “striking similarity” to his 122-story “Cityfront ‘99” tower, which also featured a glass facade of inverted triangular planes.


Plans of Park’s Cityfront ’99 design (left), and One World Trade Center (right). Image via 6sqft

Plans of Park’s Cityfront ’99 design (left), and One World Trade Center (right). Image via 6sqft

Park, who is now president of Qube Architecture LLC in Suwanee, Georgia, is seeking unspecified damages including for alleged damage to his firm and to receive official credit for the building’s design. 

According to the architect, SOM could have first seen the graduate thesis after it was put on display in the university’s lobby, or through his former thesis adviser, who now works for the firm. Park also said Cityfront ’99 was featured in a scene from the 2006 movie “The Lake House,” starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, which also included a scene shot in the lobby of a Chicago building where SOM had an office.


One World Trade Center / SOM. Image © James Ewing

One World Trade Center / SOM. Image © James Ewing

Other defendants in the case include participating entities run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, developers on the property, and contractor Tishman Construction Co.

“He just wants to be treated fairly,” said Dan Kent, a lawyer for Park.

“Our client frankly didn’t know what his legal rights were until he came to us,” added Kent. “We believe we are well within any statutes of limitations, and that the wrongful conduct is ongoing.”

News via Reuters, 6sqft.

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