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Honor Awards: DESIGN

The AIA Illinois Honor Awards program is the only awards competition in the nation to focus on projects and people that closely adhere to the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence.

THE CAPITOL AWARD The highest state honor given for a transformational project - one designed for the human experience that works towards cultural transformation
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This project brings the best of the city together and creates a space where the city and citizens are celebrated. It is a transportation project that celebrates its civic responsibilities and resides in the realm of true public architecture. 

The original program was a linear extension of the existing concourse. Instead of creating a long, extruded bar, the design team proposed an alternate to bend the bar into a boomerang shape. This move optimizes airfield space and shortens walking distances in the terminal. By infilling the boomerang, more amenities were introduced that were not originally in the program. A community gathering area at the corner of the L-shaped concourse functions as a town square and commercial space.

The vaulted space welcomes natural light, emphasizes the town square as a destination, complements the vaulted space of the original departures hall, and offers views toward the Chicago skyline.

"This is a striking addition - modest in size and scale, but not lacking in detail and thoughtful execution," said one juror. "This project is a perfect example of Design for Community though its celebration of travel, engagement of stakeholders, and champion of local arts and artists. It fully embraces the energy and excitement of travel and also provides some beautiful counterpoints of rest and contemplation for the weary traveler."

The light-filled, wing-shaped extension and renovation of Terminal 5 at O’Hare International Airport is the terminal’s first major expansion since it opened in 1993. It is the first phase of the O’Hare 21 program, an effort to modernize one of the world’s most-traveled airports.


The project began in 2017 and opened in 2023. Construction will finish in phases through 2023. 

"The terminal brings together both functionality and architectural play of light through the ceiling apertures beautifully," a juror said.

GREATEST IMPACT Project Construction Value $5 Million and Above
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The Joliet Inpatient Treatment Center exemplifies the transformative power of thoughtful architecture in promoting rehabilitation, healing and overall well-being for patient-inmates and staff. As a national model, the Center demonstrates how design excellence can reshape the future of correctional facilities and improve the lives of those affected by them.

At the intersection of healthcare and corrections, the Joliet Inpatient Treatment Center offers an innovative solution to the challenge of providing mental health care for the most violent and mentally ill inmates in the United States.

Housed in a 185,000-sq.-ft. facility, the Center employs over 400 dedicated professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners and licensed psychologists. It features 150 single-cell mental health rooms, 50 medical rooms, a modern administration building and amenities like a kitchen, laundry area, and recreation facilities.

Design began in 2017, and the Center opened in 2022.

"It's worthy of an award because of its approach to occupant health and wellness - demonstrating the contributions of good architecture in a broken system," said a juror. "The daylighting is heroic - easily visible and provides a unique character for a building typology that is typically characterized by its cold hard shell and razor wire."

GREATEST IMPACT Project Construction Value Below $5 Million
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Hall+Merrick Photographers

At the site of an active community garden along Ogden Avenue in the Lawndale community, the vision for Farm on Ogden was born. The innovative facility grew out of a seed planted by two key organizations with a shared vision to provide greater access to fresh produce for a neighborhood in need. Windy City Harvest and Lawndale Christian Health Center forged a relationship to create a space where local residents can learn about and gain direct access to locally sourced food options. Together, they developed programming to revitalize and strengthen a community in need of better food options, robust health services, and year-round job training in the agriculture and food industries.

"Cities are typically places where food is consumed, not grown. This project plays an important role in introducing city dwellers to the art of agriculture," one juror said. "This project's mission hits every part of the framework for design excellence. Innovative use of wastewater in the process of growing food and raising fish."

The facility’s design extends to the corners with an urban garden to the north and a permeably paved courtyard to the south both providing breakout space for adjacent indoor activities and community gathering space for farmer’s markets and fairs. The renovated portion of the project provides entry and includes flexible public spaces with support offices and a working commercial grade kitchen. Earthy tones of brick and wood dominate the interiors and most facades have greenery trained up them to signify history and permanence. Additionally, steel details signify Lawndale’s industrial past and support oversized signage to amplify their message. To grow Farm on Ogden’s vision, a liberal amount of glass was used at the street edge to showcase the aquaponic spaces and draw visitors in. Here the operable skylit greenhouses have been placed front and center along Ogden Avenue to encourage engagement and pique curiosity. At night the greenhouses’ UV light allows for the growth cycle to continue around the clock with an enchanting glow that advertises the building’s primary purpose: supporting Lawndale’s growth and continued transformation.

FOR EXCELLENCE IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION Project Construction Value $5 Million and Above
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The Tribune Tower Conversion is an example of architecture as stewardship. Designed by architects John Howell and Raymond Hood and constructed in 1925, the tower was located adjacent to the Chicago Tribune’s existing printing plant. In 1935, the Radio Building was added, followed by the Television Building in 1950. In 2018, the newspaper vacated its offices, and planning began to convert the complex into luxury condominiums. Throughout the project, completed in 2022, the design team committed to retaining the identity of the historic building that is one of the most recognizable in Chicago.

"A meaningful change of use and deconstruction of the Tribune Building," one juror said. "Hope to see more of this brand of urban renewal in the future."

Using the original construction documents, the design team created a digital model of the entire complex to coordinate the preservation and conversion efforts. Within the 34-story Tribune Tower itself, the original core was

redesigned. Preserving and enhancing the architectural character of the non-landmarked buildings and artifacts that make up the urban composition was also a major priority. The tower's historic facade was preserved and restored, including repairing the limestone building enclosure and replacing all windows. Retaining the original buildings instead of demolishing them for new construction was a sustainable choice that reduced carbon emissions. Additionally, utilizing water from the nearby Chicago River for mechanical cooling eliminates the need for a cooling tower, avoiding added energy use.

FOR EXCELLENCE IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION Project Construction Value Below $5 Million
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Michael Smith

The Midtown Faust building renovation in Rockford is the epitome of labor of love for Brad and Sue Roos. The Roos’ longed to see vibrancy and energy within their Midtown neighborhood. Instead of spending retirement by the pool, this couple chose to devote themselves to this very mission. With the support of neighbors and friends, they have meticulously renovated the historic structure, breathing life into this corner of Midtown. 


While Midtown has seen occasional redevelopment in the last 10 years, the investment pace is slow, and first floor commercial spaces have remained vacant. For Brad and Sue to take on this one-story, 3500 square foot commercial space, they also had to take a different approach. The project required a creative approach to the physical renovation. The couple sought to engage their neighbors and offered employment opportunities. Scrappers came to take away heavy scrap metal, neighbors removed and recycled left over debris and tenants helped lay flooring.

"The story of Midtown Faust is just amazing," said a juror. "Restoration of a historic building that regenerates its urban realm is remarkable."

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Clark Street is at a crossroads. Between Montrose Avenue and Foster Avenue, Clark Street has struggled with its identity. Located between iconic Wrigleyville and historic Andersonville, this 1- mile corridor is home to a diverse population of residents and business owners. Clark Street has many assets, amenities, services, and open spaces. Yet it has never expressed a cohesive vision, and new development has led the community to question the corridor’s identity.

"There is meaningful planning here that brings together key urban design features in to the existing urban context," a juror said.

The Clark Street Crossroads Corridor Study will guide current and future development in the private and public realms to ensure a vibrant, safe, accessible, and thriving Clark Street with its own unique identity.

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The Elgin Math and Science Academy is a public Charter School whose education model focuses on learning rather than teaching. This interior rehabilitation project is a planned strategy to revitalize the former Fox River Country Day School into EMSA’s new campus. Though the facilities were in severe disrepair, this effort looks to continue the legacy of this campus located in a challenging but exceptional site.


This nearly 100-year-old school campus, which is home to a rare wetland complex, is on a 53-acre site designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The campus contains a network of Prairie Style Buildings which the school is committed to preserving. This decision was taken to limit the disruption to the site and to encourage a connection between the users and the surroundings. The Exploratory Learning model at EMSA informed their decision to forgo the typical double-loaded corridor and instead have weaving pathways connecting these sensibly scaled buildings. 

"Sensitive and beautiful adaptive reuse with careful response to site," said one juror. "An intelligent addition to a mature campus that has grown and changed over time," said another juror. "A beautiful learning sanctuary."

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This renovation explores spatial organization and material articulation in a small apartment with striking elevational views of the Chicago Loop. Domestic spaces intersect functions that support working and making, blending the creative environment of the workshop with the traditional living space of the apartment. An underused balcony is reimagined as a courtyard to provide a common and centralizing element for each room. A simple material palette is expressed as smooth or textured, thick or thin, rustic or refined. These variations articulate changes in space and program, creating moments that are distinct yet unified. 


"This is a well designed and smart project, especially as it pertains to occupant use and flexibility as well materiality," a juror said. "Amazingly crafted small project!" said another juror.

The design provides an extensive and customized program within a 1,600 square foot space. Domestic functions are coupled with new uses, such as a digital fabrication workshop, an artificially-lit interior garden, and walls and doors with dual uses that support ideation, creativity and making. The client needed an interior organization that would facilitate continual movement, but also distinction, between domestic, work and leisure activities. This suggested a spatial resolution that was neither a collection of isolated rooms nor an open and unvarying loft. Rather, different functions are articulated through millwork elements and expressed through subtle material variations. Secondary design elements – such as furniture, lighting, hardware and controls – are absorbed into this material language in order to further the architectural proposition. The architectural resolution is simultaneously reductive and expansive – refining the materials and elements within the design, while also multiplying uses and functions within the space. 



2022   UIUC Campus Instructional Facility

2021    Tierra Linda


For Projects 5,000 SF & Over

2022    UIUC Campus Instructional Facility

2021    Rolling Knolls


For Projects Under 5,000 SF

2022    Yannell PHIUS+ Residence

2021    Carroll Center Renovation Addition


Project Construction Value $5 Million and Above

2022    Navy Pier Flyover

2021    CTA Garfield Gateway Station



Project Construction Value Below $5 Million 

2022    North Lawndale Employment Network

2021    Whitney M. Young, Jr. Branch Library


Project Construction Value Below $5 Million

2021    Fire Restoration of 1890's Orland P. Bassett House


Project Construction Value $5 Million and Above

2022    Chicago Cultural Center Grand Army of the Republic Rooms Restoration

2022    CTA Quincy Station Restoration + Renovation

2021    Cook County Hospital


2022     Illinois Capitol 2050 Master Plan

2021    Twin Embraces: An Integrated and Community-Focused

             Approach for the Obama Presidential Center


For Projects 5,000 SF and Above

2022    Steppenwolf Theatre Campus Expansion

2021    The Night Ministry


For Projects Under 5,000 SF

2021    Ardmore House


2020    University of Chicago Keller Center

2019    Unity Temple Restoration

2017    Chicago Public Library Chinatown Branch

2016    Harper Court by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
2015    Northerly Island Framework Plan by SmithGroupJJR
2014    Great Lakes Vision Plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
2013    Randolph Tower by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
2012    Lambert - St. Louis International Airport Main Terminal Vault Renovation &

            Restoration by exp. 
2010    Contemporaine by Perkins + Will
2009    Yannell Net Zero Energy Residence by Farr Associates
2008    Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies by Krueck & Sexton Architects
2007    Springfield Union Station Rehabilitation by White & Borgognoni Architects, P.C.
2006    Hardrock Hotel Chicago by White & Borgognoni Architects, P.C.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AWARD For Connection to Environment

2020    Carter Woodson Regional Chicago Public Library Restoration

2019    Chicago Public Library, West Loop Branch

2017    Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center by TBDArchitects

2016    University of Chicago Saieh Hall by Ann Beha Architects
2015    Intrinsic School by Wheeler Kearns Architects
2014    City of Aurora, John C. Dunham Pavillion at RiverEdge Park by Muller & Muller, Ltd.
2013    Dallas City Performance Hall by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
2012    Hidden Oaks Nature Center by Wight & Company
2010    Hyde Park Bank Investment Real Estate Loan Processing Center by Florian Architects
2009    Champaign Public Library by Ross Barney Architects
2008    Grayslake North High School by FGM Architects
2007    Levy Senior Center by Ross Barney Architects
2006    Millenium Park Bicycle Station by Muller & Muller, Ltd. 


2020    95th / Dan Ryan CTA Station

2019    Washington / Wabash CTA Station

2017    DeKalb's Haish Memorial Public Library

2016    CTA Cermak McCormick Place Station by Carol Ross Barney
2015    William Jones College Preparatory High School by Perkins+Will
2014    The Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church

            by Gensler Chicago
2013    Chicago Law Firm by 4240 Architecture, Inc.
2012    North Central College, Wentz Concert Hall & Fine Arts Center

            by Loebl Schlossman & Hackl
2010    College of DuPage Technology Education Center by DeStefano Partners
2009    SOS Children's Village Community Center by Studio Gang Architects
2008    Museum of Science and Industry Conservation and Relocation of the U-505

            Submarine by Goettsch Partners
2007    Evelyn Pease Tyner Interpretive Center by Wight & Company
2006    Heart Hospital at Swedish American by PERKINS + WILL


2020    Chicago Union Station Hall Restoration

2019    The Newberry Library

2017    Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative

2016    Chicago Athletic Association renovation by Hartshorne Plunkard Architects
2015    Grove Apartments by Weese Langley Weese
2014    Harvest Commons Apartments by Landon Bone Baker Architects

2013    Hairpin Lofts and The Arts Center - Logan Square, Avondale

            by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture

2012    Sullivan Center by Harboe Architects
2010    The Palmer House Restoration by Loebl Schlossman & Hackl

2009    Chicago Cultural Center Preston Bradley Hall Restoration by Holabird & Root LLC

2008    Krause Music Store and Studio V by Wheeler Kearns Architects
2007    The Illinois State Capitol: Renovation of the House & Senate Chambers

            by Vinci | Hamp Architects, Inc.

2006    Metropolitan Capital Bank by OWP/P


2020    Chicago Park District, South Lakefront Framework Plan

2019    Planned Agricultural District (PAD): A Vision for West Garfield

2017    Master Plan for Woodlawn Park

2016    Positioning Pullman by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
2015    Bloomingdale Trail Framework Plan by Ross Barney Architects    
2014    Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda by Shaw Environmental Design

            Solutions of Illinois, LLC
2013    Chicago Central Area DeCarbonization Plan by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

2012    Navy Pier Centennial Plan by Gensler Chicago
2010    Lakeshore East by Loewenberg Architects / SOM
2009    Holy Family Ministries Center by FGM Architects
2008    Mexicantown Master Plan, Mercado, Plaza + Retail/Office Block

            by Teng & Associates, Inc.
2007    Wabash Memorial Plaza by Ross Barney Architects
2006    The University Villiage at UIC by Wight & Company

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