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The Gold Medal is the best honor from the Washington, D.C.-based AIA, “recognizing people whose work has had an enduring affect on the idea and observe of structure,” it says.

In 1981, Barney based Ross Barney Architects, an structure, panorama structure and concrete planning studio. Amongst her best-known works: Chicago’s revamped Riverwalk, together with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza at State Avenue and Wabash Avenue; McDonald’s flagship restaurant at Clark and Ontario streets; the Searle Customer Middle on the Lincoln Park Zoo; and the multimodal terminal at O’Hare Worldwide Airport.

She was the primary lady commissioned to design a federal constructing: the construction in Oklahoma Metropolis that changed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Constructing after it was destroyed in a 1995 home terrorist bombing.

Earlier than the Pritzker Prize for structure, there was the AIA Gold Medal, given most however not yearly by the American Institute of Architects.

Ross Barney isn’t simply the primary Chicagoan to win in six many years, she’s the primary residing lady to obtain the consideration individually. (The AIA awarded the 2014 Medal to the long-deceased Julia Morgan; Denise Scott Brown shared the popularity in 2016 for the physique of labor created with husband Robert Venturi; and Angela Brooks shared the award in 2022 with husband Larry Scarpa.)

Even for those who don’t know her title, you actually know Ross Barney’s native buildings, which embody Little Village Academy (1996), Chicago Riverwalk (2006-16), CTA Morgan Station (2012), CTA Cermak-McCormick Place Station (2015), Searle Customer Middle, Lincoln Park Zoo (2018) and McDonald’s World Flagship Chicago (2018).
 
Many of those initiatives exhibit how structure can form the general public realm at present. Considered one of her first notable designs was the Glendale Heights Put up Workplace (1989), a low-slung constructing whose glazed bricks evoked the American flag.

Her best-known work exterior of the Chicago space is the Oklahoma Metropolis Federal Constructing (2005). Her design redefined how a federal constructing may clearly categorical openness whereas offering the excessive ranges of safety which have turn out to be more and more crucial within the twenty first century. 
 
Breaking glass ceilings isn’t new to Ross Barney; it’s outlined her life and profession. As a scholar at Wilmette’s all-girls Regina Dominican Excessive College, her steerage counselor needed to analysis structure, because the nun had no expertise with the sphere.

Following commencement from the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ross Barney labored in Costa Rica as a member of the Peace Corps earlier than becoming a member of Holabird & Root on her return to Chicago. In 1974, she was one of many eight authentic members of Chicago Ladies in Structure, the place she is at present vice chair and continues to help and mentor ladies within the career.  
 
Whereas the Gold Medal honors a person, Ross Barney has all the time emphasised the collaborative nature of structure. “I’m the oldest of eight, I want consensus,” she says.

Talking with Crain’s moments after receiving information of the award, she instantly turned the dialog to the importance of the award to Chicago slightly than herself. “Sixty-two years is just too lengthy,” she says of the hole between Mies and herself. 
 
And her sense of historical past continues to drive her work. One ongoing undertaking in her workplace is a four-phase reworking of Regina Dominican Excessive College. “I’ve come full circle,” she says. 

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By Samy