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Ryan Gann Headshot (c) Spencer Hawk.jpg

Photo by Spencer Hawk

Membership Spotlight | Meet Ryan Gann, AIA

 

 

Meet Ryan, a recipient of the 2024 AIA Young Architects Award and a candidate for 2026 AIA President.

 

Ryan Gann, AIA, NOMA is an Architect and Design Strategist; helping clients become better versions of themselves through design, culture, and prosperity. This work expands beyond architecture and often sits at the intersection of engagement and facilitation, elevating community-centered voices through the built environment. His professional portfolio ranges in scale from business plans to master plans and vision statements to visionary buildings.

 

At the core of Ryan’s passion is a partnership between design and service. He most recently served as an At-Large Director on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board of Directors and Chair of the AIA’s Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee. Through this work, Ryan has become a leading voice in advancing the profession of architecture toward a more just, inclusive, and resilient future.

 

What inspired you to pursue architecture?

Cardboard boxes and Legos sparked my interest in creation, but I would say MTV Cribs inspired me to pursue architecture. The opening sequence was designed to indoctrinate architecture nerds. The blue backdrop, rotating floor plan, and extruding walls were captivating. As a result I started doodling plans and houses. When my mom told me “that’s what Architects do," it stuck.

 

What inspired you to join the AIA, and what motivates you to serve?

I joined AIA to be part of something bigger than myself. My membership has expanded my network, given me access to ideas and inspiration, and supported me at each juncture in my career. One of my first leadership positions was serving as Student Director on the AIA Illinois Board. That was in 2012. To be at the table helping shape the future of a profession is overwhelming and inspiring.

 

What is an upcoming project you are excited for?

In collaboration with Amanda Williams, we are working on a temporary activation of the George Washington monument in Chicago’s Washington Park. Titled “Other Washingtons," the project explores who should be valued and memorialized. “Washington” is one of the “Blackest names” in the United States according to the U.S. Census data. The project celebrates not only historically significant Black Washingtons, like Booker T., Dinah, Denzel, and Harold, but also everyday heroes from near and far who carry the surname.

 

What is your hope for the profession of architecture?

My hope is that architects begin to more fully embrace their agency. Each day we make decisions for our projects, in our practices, and with our communities that have impact. We can’t change the world alone but we are a key stakeholder.

What book are you currently reading?

I am the type of reader that never reads a single book at any given time. Some books are for leisure and others are for research. My nightstand currently has: “George Washington Carver: A Life” by Christina Vella, “The Messy Middle” by Scott Belsky, and “RIBA Climate Guide” by Mina Hasman. While I am not currently reading it, I would be remiss to not mention “Out in Architecture," a book that amplifies LGBTQIA+ voices in the profession - you might see a familiar face on page 74. 

Learn more about Ryan’s candidacy for AIA President at www.ryangann.com.

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