AIA Illinois 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.   View the 2017 Call for Entries Brochure

AIA Illinois will recognize the 2017 Honor Award winners in the spaces and communities where they’ve made such a powerful difference.  Each award recipient will be treated to a public relations ceremony at the honored building, site, their office, or an AIA local activity, that will offer the potential to include clients, partners, elected officials, and neighbors in the event. 


The recognition program will include the award presentation, remarks from the winner and others affected by the design or service along with a reception or tour.  In coordination with the honorees and their schedules, AIA Illinois will facilitate logistics, invitations, and publicity for the recognition events, which are expected to occur primarily in the month of October, 2017. 


A plaque or certificate will be awarded, listing the project site, with additional plaques or certificates available to be purchased from AIA Illinois. Exception is made for the Louis Sullivan Award, the highest state honor, given for a transformational project selected from among all categories, selected directly by the Jury  The Sullivan Award is a unique, hand-crafted prize, designed each year by past Nathan Clifford Ricker Award recipient, Al Rusch. 

Award recipients will be featured in various AIA Illinois print and electronic communications to recognize and promote honorees and the AIA Illinois Awards program overall.



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.

Jurists for 2017 AIA Illinois Design Honor Awards:

Illya Azaroff, AIAfounding principal +LAB architect PLLC and Assoc. Professor at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) serves as a Technical Advisor to ASPR-Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, informing the NDFR-National Disaster Recovery Framework, working with various government agencies on building resilient capacitiesHe served as a subject mater expert with the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities and his studio is engaged in resilient planning and design projects including residential prototypes under construction in Breezy Point, New York with multiple industry partners #Hurricanestrong. In 2014, he received the AIA National Young Architect Award, and is founding co-chair of both the DfRR and the AIA Regional Recovery Working Group, receiving the 2015 component Excellence AwardIllya is currently serving a term on the AIA National Strategic Council 2016-2018. 
Illya received a BA in Geography, and a BSAS in Architecture from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and B.Arch and M.Arch from Pratt Institute. Prior to coming to New York, Illya worked in Berlin, Germany and Milan, Italy.

Maria Cole - Maria Cole, AIA is architect and principal at gkkworks in Denver. She holds a B.Arch from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Global Studies from the University of Denver, Korbel School of International Studies, with an emphasis in studying the role of culture in international development.  Ms. Cole’s professional focus is in all phases of planning, design and construction of cultural and institutional facilities. While at Davis Partnership Architects she was the project architect for Daniel Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum expansion and David Adjaye’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver.
Ms. Cole has received multiple design awards, including from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts, Banff Centre Residency, and the Hobie Wagener Traveling Scholarship. She was named the AIA Western Mountain Region “Young Architect of the Year” in 2003 and AIA Denver’s “Young Architect of the Year” in 2002. 

William Carpenter, FAIA, PhD is principal and founder of the architecture firm Lightroom, in Decatur, GA and served as the South Atlantic Regional Director of the National AIA Board from 2010- 2013. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Design and Construction in Architectural Education, from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design in the UK. He earned a Master of Architecture Degree with honors and was distinguished as Thesis Award recipient and Virginia Prize finalist, at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Dr. Carpenter is a professor in the School of Architecture at Southern Polytechnic University, Marietta, GA. He has also served in academic positions at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Alexandra, VA, Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and Omore College in Franklin, TN.
Dr. Carpenter has had many awards and affiliations, including LEED AP, Breather Conference founder, Co-chair of ACSA National Design Build activities, and serving as director and founder of the Smithsonian Institution Lecture Series “Modernism Reconsidered.”


Jurists for 2017 AIA Illinois Service Honor Awards:

Holly Gerberding, FAIA, LEED AP is distinguished by her leadership in creating clear and rational standards that enhance the built environment and the practice of architecture in both private and public sectors. From serving in Chicago's Department of Buildings, to the Legislature's Unified Building Code task force, to her activism with neighborhood groups, Holly's attention to detail, generosity and expertise made her an exemplary public servant. She was the recipient of AIA Illinois' Nothnagel Award for Public Service in 2016.
Richard C. (Rik) Master, FAIA, LEED AP; a Research Architect with over 40 years’ experience, Sr. Manager, Sustainability - USG. Rik currently serves on the AIA National Strategic Council and spent 18 years in Building Science and 17 years at the USG Research Center, where he developed USG ACTION, a technical software for architects. Prior to USG, he owned an Energy Efficient Architectural firm. Rik has been active in professional organizations for 40 years and designed and built his own home in 1979, which is 70% off-the-grid.
Lisa Clemmons Stott is the Executive Director of Downtown Springfield Inc, a non-profit working to increase the cultural and economic vitality of the capital city's historic downtown neighborhood. She worked alongside many of Springfield's architects as co-chair of the Sustainable Design Assessment Team. Lisa is an advocate for Illinois' firms, having served as AIA Illinois' Communications Director from 2012-2015.



The 2016 Honor Award recipients:

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

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

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)

Harper Court - Sullivan Prize, Illinois' Top Design Award

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel - Crombie Taylor Award for Preservation 

Marc Teer, AIA - John Wellborn Root Award for Emerging Professionals

Lee Waldrep, Ph.D - Nathan Clifford Ricker Award for Architecture Education

Holly Gerberding, FAIA - Charles W. Nothnagel Award for Public Service

Jeremy Gentile, AIAS - Illinois Student Design Award

CTA Cermak McCormick Place Station - Mies Van Der Rohe Award for Innovation

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




Harper Court


Illinois' Top Design Award for 2016


 The Louis Sullivan Award, AIA Illinois’ highest design honor, was presented for the  design of the Harper Court office, residential and retail development, designed by  Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture.  The presentation was held on October 27, at the  Harper Court public plaza farmers market, in Chicago’s Hyde Park.

 What was once a city-owned parking lot and an outdated 1960’s open-air retail and  commercial center, is now the three-acre site of the new Harper Court  development, east of the University of Chicago, directly across from a commuter  rail, bus lines and a bike station. The development was designed by Hartshorne  Plunkard Architecture to enhance life in Hyde Park by promoting sustained  economic opportunities and offering neighborhood residents greater choices to  procure goods and services locally.

 Construction began in Fall 2011 and the complex opened in Fall 2013. Lined with  outdoor seating, attractive lighting and landscaping, this plaza-like public space  supports outdoor dining and gathering, and can be closed to traffic for community  events, such as farmers markets and street fairs.

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “This partnership is a great example of innovation in  design and development that brings residents closer to jobs while promoting the  growth of the Hyde Park neighborhood. Harper Court will bolster local economic  activity, and with the commitment to sustainable standards, this development will  serve as an important model for Chicago.”

In addition to the Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture team led by Sophie Bidek, AIA, project contributors include: Chris Dillion, LEED AP of Vermillion Development; Bob Soldan of McHugh Construction; Mark Blazis, PE of Henneman Engineering; and Ralph Calistro of CS Associates, Inc.

The Louis Sullivan Honor is the top annual design award presented by AIA Illinois, recognizing the outstanding contributions of people and projects epitomizing the highest achievement in the architecture profession, the power of design, and true dedication to service and excellence. AIA Illinois design awards are juried by a panel of nationally known architects measuring each project’s success in advancing 10 important principles for liveable communities.


Chicago Athletic Association Hotel


For Preservation

The Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture renovation project to transform and modernize the late 19th century Chicago Athletic Association Hotel at

12 S. Michigan Avenue was honored with the AIA Illinois Crombie Taylor Award for Preservation on October 27.

The home of the former Chicago Athletic Association stands as a historic landmark along Chicago’s Michigan Avenue iconic streetwall, boasting commanding views of the Lake and Millennium Park, a short walk from commuter rail, bus lines and bike stations. Designed by Henry Ives Cobb circa 1893 in the Venetian Gothic style, the 11-story building originally housed the City’s most celebrated private athletic and social club, founded by leading figures in the American sport and athletic community.

Throughout its 122-year history, the Chicago Athletic Association building had undergone various additions, resulting in an evolution of architectural styles.  By 2007, the outdated, former athletic club had fallen out of use and was threatened with demolition.  The once glorious building was cited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the nation’s 11 Most Endangered historic places in 2008.

The AIA Illinois Jury noted Hartshorne Plunkard’s strong adaptive reuse solution respects the club’s social history, ensuring that improvements are consistent with the original character of the building, and resulting in a “particularly impressive” and sensitive restoration.

The Crombie Taylor Preservation Award is one of five design awards presented by AIA Illinois as part of its annual Honor Awards program, which recognizes people and projects epitomizing the contributions of the architecture profession, the transformative power of design, and the dedication of individuals to service and excellence.  Charles Crombie Taylor, FAIA, was an architect and professor who designed the social center for the Chicago Hull House Association and whose legacy furthered the promotion of historic preservation through movies, articles and a volume titled Crombie Taylor: Modern Architecture, Building Restoration and the Re-Discovery of Louis Sullivan.

Marc Teer, AIA


For Emerging Professionals

The AIA IL 2016 John Wellborn Root Award for Emerging Professionals was presented to Marc Teer, AIA, CEO of Black Spectacles, on October 20, at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.  Teer is a professional architect and founder of the online learning platform that is helping young architects across the country prepare for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) with new media and innovative design software. 

Teer has served as the chair of the AIA Chicago Young Architects Forum. 

During his tenure, he received a Presidential Citation for conceiving and leading an international design competition for young architects to redesign the AIA Chicago office.  He also worked to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of Chicago’s young architects through a series of workshops titled “Starting Your Own Design Firm,” and developed monthly traveling ARE review sessions aimed at exposing Chicago’s network of young professionals pursuing architectural licensure.

“Marc Teer’s non-traditional career path in architecture has led to  several important outcomes for the broader architecture community.  His creative approach to educating the profession has benefited many,”  wrote the AIA Illinois Jury.

Working as a licensed architect at Gensler and Legat Architecture firms, and as an instructor at Illinois Institute of Technology’s computational design forum, Teer quickly identified a lack of resources for aspiring architects to prepare for the national ARE.  In addition to his many professional design contributions throughout the country, Teer has built a strong reputation for leadership as senior project architect on the AIA Chicago Design Award-Winning, Panduit Corporate Headquarters, where he mentored a team of architects through their first use of the Building Information Model digital format, and oversaw the overall design development and construction processes for a LEED Gold Building.

Illinois architects licensed for 10 years or less are eligible for the AIA Illinois John Wellborn Root Honor Award for Emerging Professionals.  The service recognition is named in honor of Nineteenth Century Illinois architect, who with Daniel Burnham was one of the founders of the Chicago School style. A recipient of the AIA Gold Medal in 1958, Root was the designer of National Historic Landmarks and buildings that have been designated Chicago City landmarks and listed on the National Register of Historic Places


Lee Waldrep, Ph.D


For Dedication to Architecture Education

Lee W. Waldrep, of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was honored with the AIA Illinois 2016 Nathan Clifford Ricker Award, recognizing his dedication and talent as an architecture educator.  The award was presented on October 24th at Temple Hoyne Buell Hall at UIUC.

Dr. Waldrep, who is the Administrator for Undergraduate Student Services at the University of Illinois School of Architecture, has more than 20 years of experience in higher education with an emphasis in academic affairs and career development for architecture students.  Author of Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design, and creator of, a website dedicated to introducing the profession, he also serves as the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Architectural Experience Program Architect Licensing Advisor, for UIUC.

After earning an M.A. in Architecture from Arizona State University, Waldrep served as national vice-president of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) in Washington, DC, later leading the award-winning AIA Search for Shelter program, during the late 1980s.  Turning his attention to graduate student affairs, Waldrep completed his doctorate degree at The American University in counseling and student development, and has since worked in the field of higher education and student affairs for over 20 years.  With his dissertation on the topic of architecture students and career development, Dr. Waldrep has committed his professional career to helping architecture students join the profession. 

Dr. Waldrep has served as associate executive director of the National Architectural Accrediting Board, Associate Dean at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and Assistant Dean at Illinois Institute of Technology, College of Architecture.  Waldrep has been distinguished previously with the 2011 AIA Illinois / AIAS Educator of the Year Award, 2007 AIAS Presidential Citation, two academic advisor recognitions in 2005-2006 and the 2004 Association of Schools of Collegiate Architecture Service of Excellence Award.

This AIA Illinois award is named in honor of Nathan Clifford Ricker, who received his graduation certificate on March 12, 1873, making him the first person to receive a degree in Architecture in the United States.



Holly Gerberding, FAIA


For Public Service


In recognition for her spirit and endless energy to improve the communities where we work, live and play, Holly Gerberding, FAIA, is the 2016 recipient of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois’ Charles W. Nothnagel Honor Award. The presentation will take place on November 16th at the Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch. 


Gerberding has successfully advanced public policy in a way that demonstrates the architecture profession's commitment to community and the environment. In doing so, she has positively influenced public decision-makers at the local, state and federal levels. In Chicago’s Department of Buildings Holly has been instrumental in the public-private partnership that wrote the first Chicago Permit Applicant’s Handbook, and created the Homebuyer’s Workshop, educating first-time homebuyers to be more savvy consumers, modernizing and streamlining the process to improve outcomes. 


On the state legislature’s Task Force on a Unified Building Code, Gerberding chaired the Life/Fire Safety committee, which provided recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly and served on the ICC’s Sustainable Building Technology Committee, which drafted the first International Green Construction Code. 


Andrea Telli, Chicago’s Assistant Commissioner of Neighborhood Services wrote, “In her role as Coordinating Architect for both new construction and renovations, Holly’s attention to detail, generosity with her time and knowledge, expertise and care in working with our historically significant buildings, and understanding the end user of our projects, made me and everyone she worked with be better public servants, ourselves.” 


The award’s namesake, Charles W. Nothnagel was an architect and state legislator renowned for pioneering solutions that reflected his commitment to improving human lives through public service. He championed passage of the Illinois Architecture Practice Act in 1897, ushering in the first public licensing of architects in the world.  


Jeremy Gentile, AIAS 


For Student Design

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) architecture student, Jeremy Gentile, was awarded the AIA Illinois Student Design Honor Award, at a reception at S. R. Crown Hall, on the IIT campus.  Gentile, from Oak Lawn, Illinois has been active in leadership with the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), nationally and currently serves as the 2016-2017 Midwest Quadrant Director. 

jeremy awardGentile designed IDEAhaus, which is a component of a local network of buildings owned and operated by the City of Chicago, intended to establish a framework for community involvement and engagement.  In concept, each building is defined by the specific needs of its site and context, providing places for the community to meet, make and perform, fostering public programs and potentials that are as diverse as the network of neighborhoods that make up Chicago.

The AIA Jury noted, “IDEAhaus is a design that addresses many concerns of intercity communities. This architectural student design entry demonstrates good training and understanding of clients’ needs by solving their issues through design.”

The entry to the building is indicated by a cantilever and passing planes. Once inside, the occupant is greeted by flexible space comprised of accordion walls that open to the river and street allowing activity to flow out, sliding screens which divide breakout rooms, and a basketball court that ingeniously folds down to become an auditorium. The first floor form and layout was derived from overlaying the offset grids of the Chicago River’s edge and city street grid. The result is an angular geometry that creates a sunken plaza at the front, an angled facade that draws activity into the space, and an exterior space along the river. On the second floor, the form is still derived from the grid, but where the river kinks, the building form moves opposite so as to shape views to the city skyline. The final building form is regulated by a series of structural concrete planes, floor slabs, and a glass enclosure. 


CTA McCormick Place Station


For Innovation in Design


The American Institute of Architects Illinois Mies Van der Rohe Award for innovation has been presented for the Carol Ross Barney designed Cermak-McCormick Place station on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green line. 

Cermak-McCormick Place Station serves the country’s largest convention center and a 2.5 mile stretch of the Green Line, that had been without service since 1978.  The perforated stainless steel and polycarbonate tube, which creates a canopy over the station, provides wind and rain protection on the platform, offering a more comfortable and usable space for riders due to the open, barrier-free layout.  The tube structure that weaves itself around and through the existing tracks is the result of Ross Barney’s ability to find creative solutions, within constraints. 

The AIA awards jury wrote that, “the innovative process of design and fabrication of the station’s canopy and tunnel illustrates excellent use of modeling and integration of design and construction principles.”

Studies were conducted to decide where to place the four different perforated panel types based on views and prevailing winds, so that subtle patterns of varying perforation sizes can be seen from the exterior and interior.  Glass, polycarbonate, and perforated stainless steel are used to maximize visibility, views, and natural light in the station houses and on the platform.  The innovative tube design was assembled off-site and moved into place, to avoid interrupting train line service, a construction sequence involving three heroic lifting events in which the frame soared through the sky to its permanent location.  

The Mies Van Der Rohe Award is given for a project, which demonstrates innovation in overall concept design or detail.  In addition, AIA Illinois presents design honors to projects throughout the state in five other categories each year. 





To view a list of previous winners click here.