The Chicago-area chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Chicago) honored outstanding architectural works of the year at Designight 2015—the chapter’s 60th annual Design Excellence Awards ceremony and celebration.  The annual presentation of Designight took place at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom on Friday, October 23, 2015, with over 1,000 attendees.

Thirty-six awards were presented for architectural projects spanning a range of design and locales, in four categories:  Distinguished Building, Interior Architecture, Divine Detail, and the 10-YearAward, an award added this year to recognize a ten-year-old building for its performance and lasting impact.  Four juries comprised of renowned architects from across the country selected the winners from a field of 285 entries.

“The honorees traverse the globe and transcend every building type and scale, from very large to the smallest detail,” said Anthony LoBello, president of the AIA Chicago board.  “It is an amazing and impressive snapshot of the design leadership and collective coolness of the region’s architectural talent.”  20 of this year’s winning projects can be found in Chicago.

The night’s program included the presentation of the 2015 AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award to philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, 73, founder of Chicago-based Driehaus Capital Management.

Most often associated with preservation and championing classical principles in planning and architecture, Driehaus has also supported contemporary awards programs and work from firms as varied as UrbanWorks, Landon Bone Baker Architects, John Ronan Architects among others.  Through his sponsorship and philanthropy, Driehaus has shown a dedication to work that betters the public realm in many disciplines.

AIA Chicago also awarded the first-ever 10-Year Award this year, recognizing architectural design of enduring significance and presented to a project that has stood the test of time for 10 to 15 years.  In its inaugural year, the Honor Award was presented to The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, located in Millennium Park.

During the awards presentation, AIA Chicago presented ten Honor Awards—the program’s highest distinction—to projects around the world.  Honor Awards went to diverse projects that ranged from The Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center in Chicago byGensler to the Shanghai Natural History Museum by Perkins+Will; exp’s Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Terminal 1 Renovation in St. Louis to the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership by Studio Gang Architects.

Other Honor Award winners were CannonDesign, JGMA, Epstein | Metter Studio and HBRA Architects, Inc., each with one Honor Award.  Perkins+Will received three total Honor Awards.

Additionally, AIA Chicago conferred 23 Citation of Merit awards in each category, and one Special Recognition for Design Excellence.

Founded in 1869, AIA Chicago represents nearly 3,000 licensed architects, architectural interns, and allied professionals in northeastern Illinois.  AIA Chicago is the second largest AIA chapter in the nation. A complete listing of all Design Excellence Awards winners will be available at after the ceremony.

To view a complete list of submissions and winners, visit