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2018 Nickel Award - Lynn Osmond, Hon. AIA
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Each year, AIA Illinois, the state component of the American Institute of Architects, recognizes the best in design and professional service with Honor Awards named after some of Illinois’ most famous influencers of architecture. Richard Nickel was an architectural photographer and historical preservationist who is best remembered for his efforts to preserve and document the buildings of architect Louis Sullivan. The Award named after him recognizes a (non-architect) citizen who lifts up architecture and the profession.

AIA Illinois is pleased to announce that Lynn Osmond, Hon. AIA, President & CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center, is the 2018 Nickel

Award recipient for having paved the way for the growth of “architectural tourism” around the globe for more than twenty years.  The opening of the new Chicago Architecture Center in 2018, in the planning for over a decade, can be considered the crowning achievement of Osmond's career thus far. 


Osmond will be recognized at a ceremony at the Chicago Architecture Center on Wednesday, January 30.
“Lynn is not only a highly respected cultural leader in Chicago, but around the world,” said Kim Kurtenbach, AIA, 2018 President of the AIA Illinois Board of Directors. “Including her work to found the Association of Architecture Organizations, which now includes 160 international members, the impact she has had on public understanding of our profession is staggering.”


Osmond assumed the position of President and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) in 1996 (then the Chicago Architecture Foundation). She built the organization from a smaller one known for boat tours to one of the top ten cultural institutions in Chicago, with annual revenue approaching $25 million. In fact, CAC has realized 400% growth in revenue during her tenure. It serves more than 680,000 people each year. 


Beyond the launch of the new Center on the Chicago River, AIA Illinois points to myriad programs launched under Osmond’s tenure as evidence of her exceptional effectiveness. Open House Chicago is a free public festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to more than 250 buildings, launched in 2011; Schoolyards to Skylines is a resource book for kindergarten teachers with 47 lessons; and the Chicago Model is a scale model of the city that is a teaching tool for docents and for educators who are introducing school children to Chicago’s architecture for the first time.


Adds Kurtenbach, “Lynn has also launched a veritable Who’s Who of alumni who have gone on to leadership positions around the country.” Notable names include Zurich Esposito, the Executive Vice-President of AIA Chicago, Ned Cramer at Architect Magazine, AIA San Diego's CEO Bastiaan Bouma, and Jennifer Masengarb, senior project manager at the Danish Architecture Center.


The AIA Illinois Honor Awards recognize people and projects epitomizing the contributions of the architecture profession, the transformative power of design, and the dedication of individuals to service and excellence. 


AIA Illinois is the state component of the national American Institute of Architects, representing more than four-thousand members. Illinois enacted the first Architecture Practice Act in the nation and the state continues to set the trends for innovation both in the design field and among AIA components.

See the list of all of our distinguished Honor Award recipients