Carolina Woo retired as a Partner of the international architecture-engineering firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). A native of Shanghai, China, she served as President of SOM International Ltd., with overall responsibility for SOM’s work in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Asia-Pacific region.
A graduate of Columbia University Gradual School of Business and Rhode Island School of Design, Ms. Woo joined SOM in 1969, becoming a Partner in 1984. She began her career working as a staff architect working with Gordon Bunshaft in New York on such famous SOM projects as the Smithsonian’s Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library at the University of Texas in Austin.
After becoming a Project Manager, Ms. Woo was on one of two senior managers responsible for King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A key element of this wholly-new airport was the Haj Terminal which won an Aga Khan Award—the highest honor for a work of architecture in an Islamic country.
Work and projects in the public interest have been a recurring theme of Ms. Woo’s career. She was a Trustee of San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and a member of New York City’s Municipal Art Society. She also directed the implementation of New York City’s Transitional Housing for the Homeless Program. In China, she has overseen the planning of China’s first national center for pediatric acute care treatment and training—Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, sponsored by America’s Project HOPE Foundation and planned in collaboration with the Pediatric Departments of the Medical Centers affiliated with Harvard and three other American universities. Presently, she is a Trustee of Rhode Island School of Design, Providence Rhode Island; A Board of Director of China Housing and Development Co., Ltd.
Ms. Woo has an international reputation as an effective manager of large-scale private and public sector development. In Vietnam, she directed the planning of Saigon South, a new community south of Ho Chi Min City. In London, she directed the planning and first-phase implementation of Canary Wharf—at 6.5m square feet, Europe’s largest privately-sponsored development. She directed the design and construction of the new San Francisco International Terminal Building, the renovation of San Francisco’s historic U.S. Court of Appeals, and also lead the renovation and expansion of the nearby, equally important California Supreme Court Building as a new State Office & Courts Building in San Francisco’s Civic Center. In China, she directed major commercial projects in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities, including the new headquarters of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China in the heart of Beijing near Tiananmen Square, the JinMao Tower and the Master Planning of XinTianDi in Shangahi.
In retirement, Ms. Woo heads up The CW Group, bringing her experience and resources to bear on a world landscape where environmental preservation and sustainability are of paramount importance to the built environment. Her most recent ongoing project is the master planning of the City of Ten Thousand Buddha, with a campus for their new university in California, an advisor and consultant to the Master Planning of the new Central Business District, City of Tianjin, and an adult community in China.