Carol Ross Barney awarded the 2023 AIA Gold Medal

December 07, 2022
CRB 2023 Gold Medal Home Page 21

The Board of Direc­tors and the Strate­gic Coun­cil of the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Archi­tects (AIA) are hon­or­ing Car­ol Ross Bar­ney, FAIA, with the 2023 Gold Medal.

The Gold Medal hon­ors an indi­vid­ual whose sig­nif­i­cant body of work has had a last­ing influ­ence on the the­o­ry and prac­tice of architecture.

Carol Ross Barney 3 B

Car­ol Ross Bar­ney, FAIA, Hon. ASLA has been in the van­guard of civic space design since found­ing Ross Bar­ney Archi­tects in 1981. With a career that spans fifty years, Car­ol has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the built envi­ron­ment, the pro­fes­sion, and archi­tec­tur­al edu­ca­tion. From her ear­ly days in the Unit­ed States Peace Corps plan­ning Nation­al Parks in Cos­ta Rica to col­lab­o­ra­tions with pub­lic agen­cies design­ing civic spaces that are sus­tain­able, Car­ol has relent­less­ly advo­cat­ed that excel­lent design is a right, not a priv­i­lege.

Her body of work, being almost exclu­sive­ly in the pub­lic realm, rep­re­sents these aspi­ra­tions and occu­pies an unique place with­in the panora­ma of con­tem­po­rary architecture.

Carol’s projects vary in type and scale, but always uphold a deep com­mit­ment to the qual­i­ty of life. This com­mit­ment man­i­fests into spaces that enrich the met­ro­pol­i­tan expe­ri­ence; build­ings that are envi­ron­men­tal stew­ards, embody­ing and show­cas­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty; and spaces that inspire young, curi­ous minds to learn, invent, and break boundaries.

The work of Car­ol exudes a lack of pre­tense about often for­got­ten build­ings and infra­struc­ture, the lifeblood of our cities, to be unit­ed through design.

To date she has real­ized a remark­able suc­ces­sion of com­pelling projects. Each takes on a honed process of giv­ing voice to all mem­bers of a com­mu­ni­ty. It is the abil­i­ty to lis­ten with inten­tion to the his­to­ry, con­text, and aspi­ra­tions of a com­mu­ni­ty first, and then respond. It is a sto­ry, told through design, about fair­ness, equi­ty, and inspi­ra­tion. 

By cre­at­ing a place for peo­ple and ideas to come togeth­er, archi­tec­ture becomes a medi­um for expe­ri­ences to be shared and mem­o­ries to be made.

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Chicago Public Schools Competition 2001

Edu­ca­tor and Men­tor
Car­ol’s com­mit­ment to edu­ca­tion has embed­ded a gen­er­a­tion of archi­tects with her phi­los­o­phy of design­ing for peo­ple while dri­ving the impor­tance of adapt­ing sus­tain­able systems.

Research top­ics have been inter­re­lat­ed to active explo­rations; water trans­porta­tion, equi­table mixed-used devel­op­ments, mate­r­i­al inno­va­tions such as heavy tim­ber, and float­ing mar­kets. Her pop­u­lar design stu­dio at IIT has gar­nered inter­est from a wide cross sec­tion of stu­dents in Archi­tec­ture, Urban­ism, & Land­scape Architecture.

Select­ed Teach­ing Expe­ri­ence:
Adjunct Pro­fes­sor, IIT, 1993-present
Pel­li Dis­tin­guished Lec­tur­er, UIUC, 2022
Bruce Goff Chair of Cre­ative Archi­tec­ture, OU, 2002
Adjunct Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Archi­tec­ture, UIC, 1976 – 1978

Equi­ty in Prac­tice and Design
At the fore­front for equi­ty in the archi­tec­tur­al pro­fes­sion, Car­ol has long sought to move beyond her gen­der as a con­tribut­ing fac­tor or hin­drance to suc­cess. But it’s not enough just to blaze the trail, Car­ol con­tin­u­al­ly teach­es, men­tors, and empow­ers young archi­tects to con­tribute their ideas and designs to progress the pro­fes­sion. Her focus on social jus­tice and pub­lic good has attract­ed a ded­i­cat­ed group of archi­tects to her studio.

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Carol Ross Barney 8 BW

Envi­ron­men­tal Stew­ard­ship
Car­ol has a deep com­mit­ment to sus­tain­able design, whether or not a project pur­sues indus­try Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. Pair­ing envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship, ener­gy per­for­mance and design excel­lence is the chal­lenge. Her build­ing designs take these con­tra­dic­to­ry ideas and put them in harmony.

Ross Bar­ney Archi­tects has been a leader of sus­tain­able design strate­gies, long before it was fash­ion­able, inte­grat­ing a belief in plan­e­tary stew­ard­ship. We know that mak­ing build­ings sus­tain­able for the envi­ron­ment, the com­mu­ni­ty, our clients, and the world is the sin­gle exis­ten­tial chal­lenge of our time.

Design­ing Democracy

Car­ol believes that excel­lent design is a human right.

Archi­tec­ture must be wel­com­ing and inclu­sive; invit­ing all com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to come together.

Good design is demo­c­ra­t­ic, pro­tect­ing and cre­at­ing healthy and sus­tain­able envi­ron­ments for the earth’s people.

Chicago Riverwalk 21

Chicago Riverwalk Chicago, Illinois

Oklahoma City Federal Building 20

Oklahoma City Federal Building Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Infra­struc­ture of Hope

Typ­i­cal­ly, design­ing infra­struc­ture is not even con­sid­ered architecture.

Infra­struc­ture plays a vital role in the con­nec­tiv­i­ty and effi­cien­cy of our cities. And its design con­tributes to the qual­i­ty of urban life.

With a grow­ing port­fo­lio of projects sit­u­at­ed on these fringes of archi­tec­ture”, Car­ol has con­tin­ued to tack­le increas­ing­ly com­plex cul­tur­al, social, and spa­tial chal­lenges; trans­form­ing every­day moments into design opportunities.

Railyard Park 32

Railyard Park Rogers, Arkansas

Morgan Station CTA 5

CTA Morgan Street Station Chicago, Illinois

Repair­ing the World

Carol’s embrace of sus­tain­abil­i­ty is inspired by her ser­vice with the U.S. Peace Corps for the Nation­al Parks of Cos­ta Rica where she worked on the restora­tion of nat­ur­al ecologies.

With a remark­able suc­ces­sion of projects at all scales and uses, and whether or not it received a LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, each project embeds sus­tain­able prin­ci­ples. It is this eth­i­cal belief that a project should improve the world and teach the com­mu­ni­ty about envi­ron­men­tal stewardship.

About the Gold Medal:
The Gold Medal hon­ors an indi­vid­ual whose sig­nif­i­cant body of work has had a last­ing influ­ence on the the­o­ry and prac­tice of architecture.

Nathaniel Hud­son, AIA, Chair, For­m­Grey Stu­dio, Reno, Nev.
Joseph Ben­jamin, AIA, Lake | Fla­to, San Anto­nio
Arathi P. Gow­da, AIA, ZGF Archi­tects, Wash­ing­ton, D.C.
Anne Hicks Har­ney, FAIA, Long Green Specs, Man­asquan, N.J.
Jaime Tor­res Car­mona, AIA, Canopy/​architecture + design, Chica­go
Andrew Tyley, RIAI, RSHP for­mer­ly Rogers Stirk Har­bour + Part­ners, Lon­don, Unit­ed King­dom
Melodie Yashar, ICON, Austin, Texas

From the Press:
Arch­Dai­ly: An Unri­valed Archi­tect for the Peo­ple”, Car­ol Ross Bar­ney Receives the 2023 AIA Gold Medal
Archi­tect Mag­a­zine: Car­ol Ross Bar­ney Wins 2023 AIA Gold Medal
The Archi­tec­t’s News­pa­per: AIA awards 2023 Gold Medal to Car­ol Ross Bar­ney
Archi­tec­tur­al Record: Car­ol Ross Bar­ney Wins the 2023 AIA Gold Medal
Archi­tec­tur­al Record DESIGN:ED Pod­cast: Con­ver­sa­tions with Lead­ing Pro­fes­sion­als — Car­ol Ross Bar­ney
Chica­go Sun-Times: River­walk design­er brings home the gold, wins architecture’s high­est award
City­Lab: Con­struc­tion Paper: Car­ol Ross Bar­ney Wins US Architecture’s High­est Hon­or
Dai­ly Her­ald: An unri­valed archi­tect for the peo­ple’: For­mer North Shore res­i­dent wins AIA’s high­est hon­or
Dezeen: Unri­valed archi­tect for the peo­ple” Car­ol Ross Bar­ney wins 2023 AIA Gold Medal
ENR Mid­west: Five Min­utes with Car­ol Ross Bar­ney
IIT COA News: Fac­ul­ty Mem­ber Car­ol Ross Bar­ney wins Pres­ti­gious AIA Gold Medal
Office Insight: AIA Gold Medal to Car­ol Ross Bar­ney for archi­tec­ture that bet­ters dai­ly life“
The Plan: AIA Gold Medal 2023 to Car­ol Ross Bar­ney
WTTW: Chica­go Archi­tect Behind River­walk, CTA Sta­tions and Eye-Catch­ing McDon­alds Designs Award­ed Pres­ti­gious Medal (Video Interview)

For addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion about Ross Bar­ney Archi­tects, please con­tact:
Lau­ra Saviano, Mar­ket­ing Prin­ci­pal

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