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Studio

Designing Transformative Architecture

Profile

Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang in 1997, Studio Gang Architects is a Chicago-based collective of architects, designers, and thinkers whose work engages pressing contemporary issues and their impact on human experience. Honored with the 2013 National Design Award for Architecture from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Studio acts as a laboratory—testing ideas on various scales, from cities and environments to material and physical properties. Cross-field research, collaboration, and iterative experimentation using both digital and analog technologies are integral to the Studio’s process. Each project is designed to resonate with its specific site and culture while addressing global themes such as reuse and sustainability. This innovative approach has resulted in works such as Aqua Tower, whose façade encourages building community in the vertical dimension; Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, where fourteen acres of biodiverse habitat are designed to double as storm water infrastructure and engaging public space; and WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, which creates a new access point along the Chicago River. In addition to creating transformative architecture, Studio Gang is dedicated to employing the tools, methods, and visionary capability of design to catalyze positive change through public engagement and advocacy.


The Studio’s work has been published and exhibited widely, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Building Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Reveal, Studio Gang’s first volume on its work and process, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011. That same year, the Studio self-published Reverse Effect: Renewing Chicago’s Waterways, a collaborative effort with the Natural Resources Defense Council that explores a radically greener future for the Chicago River and the Great Lakes. The Studio’s first solo exhibition, Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects, set record attendance during its run at the Art Institute of Chicago from September 2012 to February 2013, and was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue copublished by Yale University Press and the Art Institute of Chicago.


Process

Studio Gang begins every project with a research-based discovery process. This unique method recognizes the direct relationship between deep understanding and creativity. It also fosters clients’ active participation in our design process, making choices as the project develops.

Our practice is grounded in the belief that this thoughtful and collaborative approach is necessary for all projects, especially those whose impact and complexity is considerable. Rather than waiting until a project’s design is developed to conduct in-depth planning research, Studio Gang obtains this critical knowledge early on: at the beginning of a project’s concept design phase.

By understanding clients’ project goals and strategizing methods to achieve them from the very beginning, the project’s budget and timeline are preserved and respected, and a more compelling building design is conceived to serve as the basis from which the final project grows.

Embedded in our way of working is the search to reduce a project’s energy and material footprint while simultaneously seeking out the exciting synergies made possible by sustainable design. Everyone at Studio Gang offers deep knowledge of green solutions: all team members aim to become LEED Accredited Professionals within one year of joining the firm, and several of our projects are targeting a LEED Platinum rating.


Awards

Professional & Civic

National Design Award, Architecture Design, The Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2013

Great Places Award, Planning, The Environmental Design Research Association, 2013 / Northerly Island Framework Plan

Holcim Awards Acknowledgement Prize North America, Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, 2011 / Ford Calumet Environmental Center

American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum, 2011 / Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

Third Place Finalist, Kaohsiung Maritime Culture & Pop Music Center International Competition, 2011

International Highrise Award Finalist, Deutsches Architekturmuseum, 2010 / Aqua Tower

Innovative Wood Design Award, 2010 / Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond Pavilion

Best Large Structure, Structural Engineers Association of Illinois, 2010 / Aqua Tower

Second Prize, Taipei Pop Music Center International Competition, 2010 / Oculus

Skyscraper of the Year Award, Emporis, 2009 / Aqua Tower

Most Compassionate Architectural Firm, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 2009

American Architecture Award, Chicago Athenaeum, 2008 / Aqua Tower

Shortlist Candidate, World Architecture Festival, 2008 / SOS International Children’s Village

Merit Award Winner, Chicago Building Congress, 2008 / SOS Community Center

Best New Institutional Building, Friends of Downtown, 2005 / Chinese American Service League

Neighborhood Development Award, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, 2005 / Chinese American Service League

International Venice Biennale Exhibitor, 2004 / “Transcending Type”: Baseball in the City

Best Overall Design Award, Metal Architecture & Metal Construction Association, 2004 / Starlight Theatre

Grand Prize, International Prism Stone in Architecture Award, Marble Institute of America, 2004 / Marble Curtain

Design Award of Honor, Society of American Registered Architects, 2004 / Starlight Theatre

Best of Institutional, Midwest Construction Magazine, 2004 / Chinese American Service League

Gold Medal Award & Presidential Award, Association of Licensed Architects, 2003 / Starlight Theatre

AIA

Distinguished Building Honor Award, AIA Chicago, 2011 / Nature Boardwalk, Education Pavilion and South Pond Transformation at Lincoln Park Zoo

Distinguished Building Honor Award, AIA Chicago, 2010 / Aqua Tower

Distinguished Building Citation of Merit Award, AIA Chicago, 2010 / Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center

Mies Van der Rohe Award, AIA Illinois, 2009 / SOS International Children’s Village

Divine Detail Special Recognition Award, AIA Chicago, 2009 / Brick Weave House

Distinguished Building Citation of Merit Award, AIA Chicago, 2009 / Brick Weave House

Distinguished Building Citation of Merit Award, AIA Chicago, 2008 / SOS International Children’s Village

Divine Detail Citation of Merit Award, AIA Chicago, 2008 / SOS International Children’s Village

Interior Architecture Citation of Merit Award, AIA Chicago, 2008 / Workspace 1212

Unbuilt Honor Award, AIA Chicago, 2008 / Zhong Bang Village

Unbuilt Citation of Merit Award, AIA Chicago, 2008 / Architecture for Humanity Biloxi Pinecone House

Emerging Visions Award, AIA Chicago, 2006

Distinguished Building Honor Award, AIA Illinois, 2004 / Starlight Theatre

Distinguished Building Citation of Merit Award, AIA Illinois, 2004 / Chinese American Service League

Distinguished Building Citation of Merit Award, AIA Chicago, 2004 / Chinese American Service League

Special Recognition, AIA Illinois, 2004 / Marble Curtain

150 Great Places in Illinois, AIA Illinois, 2004 / Starlight Theatre

Emerging Visions Award, AIA Chicago, 2000


Testimonials

“For all its visual power, Aqua is mostly free of conceit. In an age in which so much architectural form—even, sometimes, the best architectural form—has no real rationale beyond the fact that it is what the architect felt like doing, there is something admirable about the tower’s lack of arbitrariness. It reclaims the notion that thrilling and beautiful form can still emerge out of the realm of the practical.”
—Critic Paul Goldberger on Aqua Tower in The New Yorker, February 1, 2010

“Jeanne Gang represents the continuation of Chicago’s modernist tradition of structural rationalism. She does this in a way that is at once deeply personal, socially progressive and incomparably innovative.”
—Architect Richard Meier in his jury comments for Jeanne Gang’s Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters

“Gang has given the school far more than it asked for, at a much higher quality (with a LEED Gold rating), with more serious thinking about how form can accommodate programming, and for less money than it would cost to produce a greatly inferior building, than almost any other architect I can imagine.”
—Critic Stephen Zacks on the Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center in Blueprint, June 2010

“Studio Gang is on to something here: a creative fusion of nature, found materials, inventive engineering, structural economy, and a matter-of-fact environmental awareness. And, of course, style... Gang’s architecture promises to soar in the coming years, whether built close to the ground and down to a budget, or 82 storeys up into the skies above Chicago.”
—Critic Jonathan Glancey in The Guardian, October 20, 2009


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