Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, to receive AIA Illinois Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Architecture

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The Lead Design Architect of the Chicago Riverwalk and the Oklahoma City Federal Building is being recognized for a forty-plus-year architecture career that has made lasting and meaningful improvements to our collective quality of life, as well as women’s role in the profession.

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA

Carol has raised the profile of Illinois architects as major players on the world stage, and at home in Chicago, there is likely no one whose daily urban life hasn’t been impacted in some way by her work.

Throughout her career, Carol Ross Barney has stood by the belief that architecture should capture a contemporary vision of today’s society, emphasizing that design excellence is a right, not a privilege. Her work has focused on the creation and impact of public and civic spaces.

“Carol’s multifaceted contributions to the profession as designer, teacher and citizen certainly set a high bar for anyone who would wish to follow in her footsteps,” said Michael Elliott, AIA, 2015 AIA Illinois President. “Carol has raised the profile of Illinois architects as major players on the world stage, and at home in Chicago, there is likely no one whose daily urban life hasn’t been impacted in some way by her work.”

An early series of projects by her firm, Ross Barney Architects, for the Chicago Public schools was characterized by the challenges on which the firm’s growing reputation was based: tough urban sites, communities trying to solve social and cultural problems, and tight, inflexible government budgets.

Ross Barney Architects was chosen as the lead designer for the new Oklahoma City Federal Building. Carol’s design was both a philosophical and practical response to tragedy, with the main design objective to create a space that was secure but open, to reflect our democracy. Likewise, the design of the Chicago Riverwalk offers symbolic links to the City’s past, while creating state-of-the-art facilities for citizens, visitors and fans of the River as it flows through the city.

Carol was a founding member and first president of Chicago Women in Architecture, an organization celebrating its 40th anniversary that has supported the development of women in the design profession. Since 1976, she has combined teaching with practice, with many of her students receiving prestigious recognition themselves. In 2005, Carol was awarded AIA’s Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.

AIA Illinois is hosting a reception and presentation for Carol at Ross Barney Architects, 10 W Hubbard Street in Chicago, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4. The presentation of the Gold Medal will take place at 7 pm. The architecture community is invited to attend.

AIA Illinois is the state component of the American Institute of Architects, representing more than 4,000 architects and architectural interns on issues of statewide importance to the public and the profession.

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