Industry News

Architecture Week 2018


Architecture Week is held every April as part of the American Institute of Architect's nationwide celebration of our built environment. While there has been some confusion about the actual 2018 dates, a tweet from AIA confirmed that the week of April 22-28, 2018 has been designated for the national annual observance. AIA chapters all over the country will offer a variety of lectures, tours and activities geared towards architects and the public alike during the week.

AIA Chicago has a very active calendar of events throughout the year, and several activities have been set during Architecture Week:

TUESDAY / APRIL 24, 2018 / 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Heitman Architects, 180 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 001, Chicago

Join the Illinois Green Alliance, IIDA Illinois, and AIA Chicago for a four-part series addressing health and wellness in our buildings and spaces. This third-part will focus on how lighting can improve the health and performance of occupants.

TUESDAY / APRIL 24, 2018 / 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

The Devon&Devon showroom in the Merchandise Mart will play host to a reception celebrating the 2018 Small Project Awards which will be announced on Thursday, May 17 at the annual SPA Exhibit.

WEDNESDAY / APRIL 25, 2018 / 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
906 S. Homan Ave., Chicago, IL

The 2018 Community Interface Committee theme is Neighborhood Diversity. CIC will kick off the year with a tour of the Nichols Tower at Homan Square in Lawndale which was home to the Original Sears Tower since 1906. The 14-story Neo-Classical tower was part of the sprawling Sears, Roebuck & Co complex until they moved downtown in 1973.

THURSDAY / APRIL 26, 2018 / 8:30 AM - 11:45 AM
AIA Chicago, 35 East Wacker Drive #250, Chicago, IL

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an important topic, and AIA Chicago wants to ensure that members have accurate information on this subject. Professional Affiliate member Debra Gervase, Area Vice President for Arthur J. Gallagher, has organized a program that will help architects from firms of all sizes understand the issues that they and their business may face.

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Architecture Week will also be used to raise awareness about the AIA's Blueprint for Better Communities initiative - a program intended to increase architects’ engagement with their communities around pressing issues like climate change, housing, and public health.

Legendary Landmarks

Landmarks Illinois will host its 13th annual Legendary Landmarks Celebration next month. Each year, the event honors civic and cultural leaders who are making an impact on Chicago and Illinois - and this year's honorees are:

  • Berglund Construction
  • Daniel Levin, Founder and Chairman of The Habitat Company
  • Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President

“These exceptional leaders have devoted their careers to investing in the people and places that make Chicago one of the world’s great cities,” said Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO. “Thanks to the ongoing work of our 2018 Legendary Landmarks Honorees, Chicagoans have attractive, safe and authentic places to live and work and distinct places to enjoy together.

Click here to learn more about this event or the important work of the honorees and Landmarks Illinois.

BTLA's Work Recognized By Design Evanston

 BTL Architect principal Delph Gustitus (pictured left) with Northwestern University's Manager of Construction Projects, Dick Painter (pictured right) at Design Evanston's 2017 Awards Ceremony, November 2, 2017.

BTL Architect principal Delph Gustitus (pictured left) with Northwestern University's Manager of Construction Projects, Dick Painter (pictured right) at Design Evanston's 2017 Awards Ceremony, November 2, 2017.

Last week, BTL Architects was recognized by Design Evanston at an awards ceremony for our work to restore 720 University Place at Northwestern University. Design Evanston is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit advocacy organization promoting good design in Evanston, Illinois. Annually they recognize professionals and projects that exemplify good design. Here is an excerpt from the awards program detail:

This project involved the restoration of the building enclosure. The building was built in the 1890’s, originally as a school of music with a performance hall. Years of deferred maintenance and atmospheric soiling had taken its toll on the exterior. The Owner stated a goal of restoring the exterior to its original condition as closely as possible. A detailed examination and assessment of the exterior was performed to determine the scope of repairs. The 12,000 square feet of exterior wall surface includes two brick colors and sizes, cut limestone sills, painted wood windows and trim, a rough-cut structural stone masonry base, clay tile roof, and copper downspouts.


A combination of historic masonry techniques, reclaimed materials, and more modern materials and methods were used to restore the exterior to its original splendor. All masonry was cleaned with products and methods selected during extensive sampling. Old mortars were removed by mechanical wet grinding. Three different new mortars colors were used with an historic beaded joint profile. Deteriorated wood components were replaced with reclaimed old growth lumber fashioned in profiles to match the original components. High performance paint products were used in colors selected to match the historic appearance from historic photos.

More images of this project are included in our portfolio. For a full listing of Design Evanston's 2017 honorees, click here.

World Architecture Day

World Architecture Day, celebrated on the first Monday of every October, was set up in 2005 by the International Union Of Architects (UIA) to show appreciation for the work architects do and to celebrate some of the great global architectural works, network and increase collective responsibility to create better future in our lives.

This year, the UIA representing more than 1 million architects worldwide, selected the theme of the World Architecture Day 2017 as "Climate Change Action!".

The American Institute of Architects asserts that "architects play a vital role in combating climate change. Buildings are major producers of carbon, so climate change poses both major obstacles and opportunities for the profession." Following the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, the UIA has called upon all architects and architecture organizations in the world to mobilize efforts to respond. Learn more here. Happy World Architecture Day.

On the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017

You don't have to look very far to find information about the Chicago Architecture Biennial. News outlets from around the globe are focused on Chicago and what is being billed as the "largest architecture and design exhibition in North America." This year’s Biennial, which opened on September 16th, features over 141 practitioners from more than 20 countries addressing the 2017 theme “Make New History.”

With the public opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, curators Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee discuss the ideas behind the theme, "Make New History."

British architecture critic Rowan Moore wrote in The Guardian:

The Chicago biennial shows nuanced, subtle stuff, and it’s sometimes easier to say what these architects are not than what they are. They are not iconic, futuristic or dogmatic. They don’t claim to save the world – which, one suspects, the next generation of architects will want to do. They don’t go in for manifestos or stylistic labels, for which reason a collective celebration like the Chicago biennial has been slow to happen. Now it has, it’s an important event.

Here are a few quick links to explore what others are saying about the Biennial, including the exhibits that top the list for 'must see' elements of the event:

15 Must-See Installations at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial
Chicago Architecture Biennial: 10 things we loved
Five fundamental problems with the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial
The Chicago Architecture Biennial: Hard to understand but easy to enjoy

Feel free to share your opinion about the Biennial in the comments section below.