A Lifetime of Achievement for the “People’s Architect”

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA to receive AIA Chicago’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

AIA Chicago’s Board of Directors has selected Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, to receive the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. From her earliest projects to her most contemporary work as the founder of her namesake firm, Barney has been elevating architecture in the public realm for over 40 years.

“AIA Chicago is tremendously honored to recognize Carol Ross Barney, a visionary trailblazer, generous mentor and vocal community leader,” says Matthew Dumich, FAIA, president of AIA Chicago’s Board of Directors. “Carol is known as ‘the People’s Architect’ because her significant contributions to the built environment have a profound daily impact on the way Chicagoans experience and interact with our city through accessible, engaging civic architecture, infrastructure and public realm design excellence.”

Ross Barney has been in the vanguard of civic space design since founding her firm, Ross Barney Architects in 1981. With a career that spans over 40 years, Carol has made significant contributions to the built environment, the profession, and architectural education. As an architect, urbanist, mentor, and educator, she has relentlessly advocated that excellent design is a right, not a privilege. Her body of work occupies a unique place within the panorama of contemporary practice, being exclusively composed of work in the public realm.

Carol’s projects vary in type and scale, but uphold a deep commitment to the role architecture plays in life quality; from transit stations that enrich the metropolitan experience; to buildings that are environmental stewards, showcasing sustainability in an overtly compelling way; to spaces that inspire young children and the brightest minds of tomorrow to learn, invent, and break boundaries.

Ross Barney is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Following graduation, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica planning national parks.

Carol’s work has been honored with over 100 design awards, including four national AIA Institute Honor Awards, over 40 AIA Chicago Awards, two AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Project Awards, the AIA’s Thomas Jefferson award for Public Architecture and the AIA Illinois Gold Medal.

For nearly two decades, Carol’s studio has been working along Chicago’s rivers. These efforts include the design of the Chicago Riverwalk and studies on all 150 of riverfront across the city. Other Notable projects include the Bloomingdale / 606 Trail Master Plan, CTA Cermak-McCormick Place and Morgan Street Stations, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, James I Swenson Civil Engineering Building, Oklahoma City Federal Building and design of schools for Chicago and communities across the country.

“This is a tremendous and unexpected honor,” states Ross Barney. “I love Chicago and it’s a privilege to create public spaces here.”

Carol joins individuals such as Stanley Tigerman, FAIA, Helmut Jahn, FAIA, Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, FAIA, and Natalie De Blois, FAIA in a roster of architects and architectural advocates awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by AIA Chicago.

Ross Barney will receive the award on October 13 at Designight 2017, the premier awards night celebrating Chicago’s architectural community and the 2017 recipients of the Design Excellence Awards.