2016 Honor Awards

We are the only awards competition in the nation to focus on projects and people that closely adhere to the AIA’s Principles of Livable Communities. We encourage you to submit your projects and nominate yourself or your peers who have bettered Illinois communities through architecture. 


Jury Information

The AIA Illinois President appoints a national design jury of three esteemed architecture colleagues. He also appoints a national service jury, which includes a previous Gold Medal winner, one Past President of the state component and one other esteemed architecture colleague or citizen working in a related field.

The AIA Illinois President serves as an ex-officio member of both. Decisions of the juries are final. Nominations that are unsuccessful this year will be carried forward one year to be reviewed by next year’s jury.

2016 Honor Awards Juries

Design Jury

 susan chin  Susan Chin, FAIA. New York, NY. Former Institute Vice President and  Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space
 padilla  John Padilla, FAIA. Santa Fe, NM. Institute Secretary and owner of John A.    Padilla Architects
   RK Stewart, FAIA. Salt Lake City, UT. Former Institute President and Senior  Fellow at New Buildings Institute.



 Service Jury 

  Carol Ross Barney, FAIA. Chicago, IL. 2015 AIA Illinois Gold Medal winner and Founder and President of Ross Barney Architects. 
   Zurich Esposito, Hon. AIA Chicago. Chicago, IL. Executive Vice President  of AIA Chicago.
   Mike Elliott, AIA. Wheaton, IL. 2015 President of AIA Illinois and Senior  Leader at Kluber Architects + Engineers


View the 2016 Call For Entries Brochure

The 2016 Honor Award recipients:

Robert F. Carr Memorial Chapel - Crombie Taylor Award for Preservation (Citation of Merit)

Helen J. Kessler, FAIA - Buckminster Fuller Award for Social Good

James L. Nagle, FAIA and John F. Hartray, FAIA - Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement

Positioning Pullman - Daniel Burnham Award for Master Planning

AEC Cares - President's Award for An Organization That Lifts Up Architecture and the Profession

University of Chicago Saieh Hall - Frank Lloyd Wright Award for New Design or Renovation

GEMS World Academy School - Mies Van Der Rohe Award for Innovation (Citation of Merit)

TBA - Sullivan Prize, Illinois' Top Design Award

TBA - Crombie Taylor Award for Preservation 

TBA - John Wellborn Root Award for Emerging Professionals

TBA - Mies Van Der Rohe Award for Innovation

TBA - Charles W. Nothnagel Award for Public Service

TBA - Illinois Student Design Award

Robert F. Carr Memorial Chapel


For Preservation

The AIA Illinois 2016 Crombie Taylor Citation of Merit, which recognizes outstanding achievements in building preservation and restoration was presented to the Robert F. Carr Memorial Chapel, September 27th on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. The Carr Chapel, one of the most significant of IIT’s campus buildings, often referred to by students as “the God box,” is the only ecclesiastical design by noted 20th Century architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

From 2001 through 2015, architects Gunny Harboe, FAIA and Douglas Gilbert, AIA undertook the Carr Chapel multi-stage restoration project, which involved careful planning to address lack of accessibility and a host of structural challenges.  New roof edge detail to prevent damage to steel and brick caused by rain-water flowing over the edge of the roof and treatments to stabilize window walls, wood paneling, terrazzo floors and concrete ceilings in the sanctuary were meticulously designed to be compatible with the early modern, minimalist style of the building.  The final phase of interior work, making rooms more functional and accessible to current users while maintaining historic integrity, was completed in the summer of 2015. 

The AIA Illinois jury noted that, “the Carr Memorial project is a well-executed restoration of a small, iconic building on campus. The simplicity and gentleness of the solution is testament to skills of the restoration team to respect the original design intent.” Harboe’s end product is a functional and more accessible space with restored finishes and details that pay tribute to the architectural character of Mies’ original design.

Noting that “God is in the details,” Harboe said his project will be a success “if the building appears to remain so untouched that it looks as if we were never there.”

 Joining Harboe architects as contributors to the project were:      Robert Huston, Lead MEP Engineer and Mario Berrones MEP  Engineer of the Calor Design Group; Thomas Henehan, Project  Manager, of the Illinois Institute of Technology; Blake Mac  Gregor, Project Manager and Jason Ewonaitis, Project  Superintendent of  Skender Construction; Stan Bernaki,  President of Bernaki and Associates; and Kirk McLawhorn,  Project Manager of Lend Lease. 

 Charles Crombie Taylor, FAIA, was an architect and professor  who designed the social center for the Hull House Association in  Chicago and restored many historic buildings himself, and  furthered the promotion of historic preservation through movies,  articles and even a posthumously-published book, titled Crombie  Taylor: Modern Architecture, Building Restoration and the Re-  Discovery of Louis Sullivan.

Helen J. Kessler, FAIA


For Social Good

In recognition of a more than 40-year career marked by a commitment to advance the energy efficiency and sustainability threshold for projects around the Chicago region, Helen J. Kessler, FAIA, has been named the 2016 recipient of the American Institute of Architects Illinois’ R. Buckminster Fuller Honor Award for Social Good. Kessler was presented with the award on September 21st, at the AIA Chicago headquarters, located at 35 E Upper Wacker Drive in Chicago.

AIA Illinois Executive Vice President, Mike Waldinger said, “as we look around the building where we are gathered, we are reminded that Helen Kessler’s work was vital to achieve LEED Gold status for AIA Chicago’s office design, which is one of more than 3-dozen LEED Gold projects and 9 LEED Platinum projects in which she has been involved.”

For the last twelve years, Kessler taught Sustainability in Construction and Systems Thinking as part of the Master of Project Management program at Northwestern University and has given hundreds of presentations and written extensively on green building, energy efficiency and solar energy, throughout her career.  In the past, Kessler served as Co-Chair for the AIA Chicago Committee on the Environment. She also chaired the City’s first Energy Code Committee.

The AIA Jury found that Kessler was an early and sustaining leader in the world of high performance design, with her dedication to the environment matched by her considerate commitment to the architecture profession.  The Jury wrote of Kessler that “…generously sharing knowledge with her peers and the wider community is a career trademark.”

Helen also served as a Board member of the US Green Building Council, Illinois Chapter, whose Executive Director Brian Imus and Associate Director Katie Kaluzny, wrote in their letter of support of being “struck by Helen’s uncompromising focus for making a difference and getting it right.”

And long time colleague, Penny Hamilton Posedly, AIA, in her letter of support, spoke of Helen as a student at the University of Arizona in the 1970’s as a sustainability leader, before ‘sustainable’ was a word. 

The R. Buckminster Fuller Service Honor Award was established by AIA Illinois to recognize Illinois architects involved in humanitarian, social impact or community endeavors. Fuller was renowned for pioneering solutions that reflected his commitment to improving human lives. The award is one of eight service awards presented by AIA Illinois annually as part of its Honor Awards program, which recognize people and projects epitomizing the contributions of the architecture profession and the transformative power of design.



James L. Nagle, FAIA and John F. Hartray, FAIA


For Lifetime Achievement

In recognition of their outstanding professional and academic accomplishments spanning 

several decades, 

James L. Nagle, FAIA and John F. Hartray, Jr.,FAIA, were presented with the AIA Illinois Gold Medal Award, on September 29th, at their company headquarters, 55 West Wacker, in Chicago.  The Gold Medal
Award is AIA Illinois’ highest honor, recognizing exemplary lifetime contributions
to the discipline and profession of architecture.
Jim Nagle established Booth & Nagle Architects with Larry Booth in 1966. Jack Hartray joined the firm in 1977, to form Booth Nagle Hartray, which later became Nagle Hartray Associates, in 1981. And the rest is history. 

Nagle and Hartray have lent their expertise to many civic and professional organizations, from the Urban Land Institute and the Metropolitan Planning Council, to serving on advisory councils for architecture schools and universities throughout the country, sharing their technical expertise in structural systems and seismic design, knowledge of contemporary education, licensing and practice management.

Many others, like Michelle Sakayan, AIA have pointed to Nagle and Hartray’s invaluable guidance and tutelage, which has shaped careers, teaching the importance of listening, patience and respect.  Sakayan wrote that she was “in awe of Jim Nagle’s vision and design mastery. There was nothing more exciting that to watch him take on a unique challenge and suddenly receive a beautiful napkin sketch, solving the problem with such ease.”The AIA Illinois jury named the two, “lifetime ambassadors of the architecture profession in Chicago, having left an indelible imprint on nearly everyone in the architecture community.” The jury also wrote, “with tremendous talent, wit, candor and generous spirit, they embody the heart and soul at the center of Chicago’s architecture community. Their love of design and the profession of architecture is clear in all they do.”

Ben Weese, FAIA and Cynthia Weese, FAIA who came to meet Jim and Jack in the mid-1960s wrote, “As friends we always enjoy their lack of pretension - and they both have an amazing sense of humor! “

As Design Principal, Jim L. Nagle has received numerous design awards from AIA Chicago as well as from the National AIA and other organizations. Jim has taught, exhibited, and lectured at numerous schools of architecture including as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology.  He was Co-Chair of the Board of Overseers at IIT, and a Board member for Archeworks.

John Hartray, is also highly regarded for his technical expertise, especially in structural systems and seismic design, as well as his thorough knowledge of the contemporary practice of architecture encompassing education, licensing, design and practice management. He has written, taught and lectured extensively on professional practice.

In 1966 Mr. Nagle was one of several civic-minded architects who saved the Glessner House and formed what is now the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  He was a member of the Chicago Seven architects that held a series of exhibitions and symposia in the 1960s and 70s and also revived the Chicago Architectural Club. He has been Chairman of the National AIA Committee on Design and Chicago AIA Housing Committee as well an AIA Chicago Director; President of the Chicago School of Architecture Foundation (later CAF), the Chicago Architectural Club; Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Graham Foundation, and Design Juror and chair for many state and national programs.

 Mr. Hartray has lent his expertise to many civic and professional  organizations, including the Urban Land Institute and the  Resource Board for the Metropolitan Planning Council. He has  served on the Boards of both AIA Chicago and the National AIA  and has served as juror and chair at state and national levels. In  1990, he was the Kemper Medal recipient for services to the  profession, and in 2003 received a lifetime achievement award  from Friends of Downtown. Jack is a former Acting Dean at the  College of Architecture at IIT and Adjunct Professor as well as  advisory councils for the architecture schools of Princeton and  Cornell Universities. 




Positioning Pullman


For Master Planning

Positioning Pullman was named the recipient of the AIA Illinois 2016 Daniel Burnham Award for Master Planning, which recognizes the achievements of a project that enhances the natural and built environment of a community.  The award was presented on September 22nd, at the Pullman National Monument Visitor Center - 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave in Chicago.

The Pullman landmark site was recently designated as a National Historic Monument, by the Secretary of the Interior, National Park Service.  The site currently includes a Chicago neighborhood, on the site of the early town established by the Pullman Car Company, which was the setting for the evolution of industrial manufacturing and railroad transportation, the advancement of town planning, architecture and landscape architecture, and played a role in the foundation of  U.S. labor law, and of African American civil liberty. 

Positioning Pullman was a community-based design initiative, organized to identify opportunities for enhancing the visitor experience, while leveraging the national monument status, with the aim of advancing important community development goals to improve quality of life for residents. A collaborative vision which considers historic significance of the newly established living monument in an effort to encourage mixed use redevelopment, the plan works to create neighborhood identity, conserve landscapes and streetscapes, and provide vibrant public spaces celebrating urbanism.

According to the AIA Illinois selection jury, the project presented a “strong solution that communicates the historic significance of this ground breaking community to current and future generations.”  They noted that plans calling for restoring life to the community through sensitive restoration and adaptive re-purposing of the historic structures are particularly encouraging. “ThePositioning Pullman effort would not have been possible without the time and commitment of so many design professionals from across Illinois and members of the Pullman community,” said Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture City Design Director, Richard Wilson, Associate AIA.

“Pullman National Monument is one of our nation’s iconic historic places and we are grateful to Richard Wilson and the Positioning Pullman design team for providing Chicago’s first national park a great launching platform,” said Lynn McClure, Senior Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association.

This strategic plan for Pullman National Monument was initiated by AIA Chicago, the National Parks Conservation Association the generous support of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and Alphawood Foundation.

The effort was enabled through the generous support of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and Alphawood Foundation.  A volunteer team of some 40 design professionals contributed to the project including: Altus Works, Bauer Latoza Studio, Brush Architects, Christopher Burke Engineering, Farr Associates, Griskelis Young Harrell, Jacobs Market & Feasibility Advisors, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, McGuire Igleski Associates, Muse Community + Design, Ross Barney Architects, Sam Schwartz Engineering, Site Design Group, SmithGroup JJR, Studio Gang, and TYLin International.

The AIA Illinois Daniel Burnham Award is presented for the achievements of a project that, through master planning, design or implementation of a master plan enhances the natural and built environment of a community. 



AEC Cares


For an Organization that Lifts Up Architecture and the Profession












University of Chicago Saieh Hall


For New Design or Renovation

The Ann Beha Architects’ design for Saieh Hall, on the University of Chicago campus has been recognized with the AIA Illinois’ 2016 Frank Lloyd Wright Award for achievements in enhancing the natural and built environment through new design and renovation. The award was presented on October 5th at Saieh Hall, Center for Economics, on the UC campus, 1160 E. 58th Street in Chicago.

Ann M. Beha, FAIA, and Philip B. Chen, AIA LEED AP, along with their team undertook the careful planning needed to create a new collaborative academic center with pedestrian-friendly open space, redesigning the 1920’s seminary complex in a way that knit existing structures together at neighborhood scale.  Completed in 2015, the project has transformed the chapel and former dormitory into office and classrooms, redefined library and attic space and opened areas below a planted terrace for ingenious adaptive uses.

The AIA Illinois jury noted that the Saieh Hall design facilitates strong community engagement providing a connection to other campus buildings, that is notable for a new university structure, many of which seem to stand alone.  “This shows new thinking and breathes new life into the community, showing that the architects thought holistically beyond the building, determining how to connect it to the campus neighborhood,” wrote the AIA Illinois jury.

The now transformed campus collaborative research institute brings together staff, faculty, and students from five different academic programs - Economics, Public Policy, Business, Social Sciences, and Law, which were formerly dispersed across the University. 

The first phase of the project has been awarded LEED Gold Certification, with the second phase recently attaining LEED Silver.  According to Lars Peter Hansen, Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor, the clever design mix of old and new supports the need for work and lecture space while it nurtures important spontaneous interactions between faculty, students and leading scholars who visit the University of Chicago campus from around the world.

With a design that works to provide students a great place to gather, conserving natural landscape and open greenspace, the project is one of many distinguished accomplishments of Ann Beha, whose list of awards and accolades for her expansive portfolio of civic, arts and campus buildings stretches across this continent and beyond.  In that light, Saieh Hall is an ingenious rethinking that pays tribute to the architectural character of University of Chicago’s deep historic legacy, while it  echoes Beha’s ethos of  ‘projects that prove that history and contemporary expression are a dynamic coalition.’  

Firms and individuals contributing to the project Include the following:
Ann Beha Architects: Philip Chen, AIA, LEED AP, Kathleen Gerner AIA, LEED AP; Edward Rice, AIA, LEED AP: Joshua Lacasse, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Nealia Giarratani, LEED AP BD+C; Ian Miller, AIA; in addition to: University of Chicago: Larry Blouin; Gensler: David Broz, AIA, LEED AP; Turner Construction: Nicholas Canellis; Thornton Tomasetti : William Bast, P.E., S.E., SECB; dbHMS: Sachin Anand, P.E., LEED AP BD+C,; OLIN: Dennis McGlade, RLA, FASLA; Terra Engineering: Danielle Kowalewski; Schuler Shook: Jim Baney, IALD, IES, LC, LEED AP; Kirkegaard Associates: Anthony Shou,; Shen Milsom & Wilke: Randy Tritz; Burnham/The Code Group: Christopher Chwedyk; Building Conservation Associates: Dorothy Krotzer; CCS International: Marvin Fitzwater; OTTO: Melissa LeBoeuf; Tom Rossiter Photography: Tom Rossiter, FAIA; Leslie Schwartz Photography: Leslie Schwartz.  

The Frank Lloyd Wright Honor Award is one of five design awards presented by AIA Illinois as part of its annual Honor Awards program.  



Gems World Academy School 


For Innovation


The innovative bKL Architecture LLC design of GEMS World Academy Lower School was recognized with the AIA Illinois’ Mies van der Rohe Honor Award on October 6th, at the GEMS school auditorium, 350 E. South Water Street in Chicago.

Located in a downtown neighborhood, characterized by offices, hotels and high-rise office buildings, the school is the first of a two-building campus that supports the Lakeshore East urban center. The 83,000 SF GEMS World Academy Lower School design accomplishes the amazing task of stacking 10 floors of warm, inviting state-of-the-art learning spaces into an efficient footprint of 9,500 square feet. 

The AIA Illinois jury wrote of this admirable project, “the design showed real creativity by inserting a complex educational facility in a dense urban context that required a vertical rather than the typical horizontal solution.  The façade brings a playful expression of its internal education program to the community’s attention.”

Features of the project that earned AIA notice include the principle of ‘design on a human scale’ seen in areas like the cafeteria and adjacent terrace, which provide a vibrant indoor/outdoor hub aligning with the neighborhood’s pedestrian plaza, maximizing exposure to natural light and lakefront vistas.

The GEMS school design, by bKL Architecture team lead by Thomas Kerwin, FAIA, Principal in Charge; Lynne Sorkin, AIA, Project Director; Michael Karlovitz, AIA, Design Director; and Carl Moskus, AIA, Technical Director succeeds in both complimenting and reinforcing the educational mission with purpose-built spaces that enhance learning.  

AIA Illinois’ Mies van der Rohe Certificate of Merit recognition is for innovation in overall concept design or detail.  It is one of five design awards presented by AIA Illinois as part of its annual Honor Awards program.

In addition to bKL Architecture, individuals and firms that also contributed to the project include the following: 

GEMS Americas, Inc.: Fritz Morris; 

Arcadis: John Lupinos ;

Halvorson and Partners: Gregory Lakota; 

WMA Consulting Engineers: Deirdre McDaniel; 

Mackie Consultants: David Shindoll; 

Wolff Landscape Architecture: Ted Wolff; 

Shen Milsom & Wilke: Randy Tritz; 

Arciluce International Inc.: Richard Kosheluk; Power Construction Company: Bob Van Deven

wer Construction Company: Bob Van Deven





Illinois' Top Design Award for 2016







For Emerging Professionals






For Innovation





For Public Service







2016 Honor Awards