SAH News

Society of Architectural Historians to Present Architecture Awards in Chicago

by SAH News | Sep 05, 2017

The Society of Architectural Historians will present the SAH Awards for Architectural Excellence at its 8th Annual Awards Gala on November 17, at The Racquet Club of Chicago. SAH will honor retired Lt. Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker, founder and president of the TAWANI Foundation; architect Ralph Johnson, FAIA, Global Design Director at Perkins + Will; and architects Sharon Johnston, FAIA, and Mark Lee, founders and principals of architecture firm Johnston Marklee. TAWANI Foundation is also the presenting sponsor of the annual awards gala.

Co-chairing this year’s SAH Awards Gala are Aric Lasher, FAIA, director of design, HBRA Architects and Julie Michiels, AIA, associate principal and senior project designer, Perkins + Will. A cocktail reception and silent auction will precede the awards ceremony. Prior to the ceremony, attendees may take a self-guided tour of The Racquet Club of Chicago, a private club housed in a classical revival building designed by Andrew Rebori (1923). Tickets for the gala are $175 and are available online at

About the Awards

The SAH Awards for Architectural Excellence began in 2010 and represent a unique coming together of architectural practice and academic study. The SAH Awards Gala is the Society’s largest annual fundraising event with proceeds supporting SAH’s educational programs and publications and the continued restoration of its landmark headquarters in Chicago, Charnley-Persky House (1891–1892), designed by Adler & Sullivan with then-draftsman Frank Lloyd Wright. 

About the Honorees

Award for Excellence in Design, Planning and Sustainability

JohnsonRalph Johnson began his career at Stanley Tigerman’s office and then joined Perkins+Will in 1976, where he currently serves as its Global Design Director, and is a member of its board of directors. His projects have been honored with more than 150 design awards, including eight national Honor Awards, more than 50 regional Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and a Progressive Architecture Design Award. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1995. Johnson’s work has been published in journals such as Architecture, Architectural Record, Domus, and Architecture and Urbanism, L’Architecture D’Aujourd’hui, and in monographs published by Rizzoli (1995), L’Arca (1998) and Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers (2013). His work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Paris Biennale, the Architecture League of New York, the National Building Museum, and the Sao Paolo Biennale during his career at Perkins+Will. He has lectured at numerous universities and was a visiting critic at the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Board of Overseers at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture, a member of the Committee on Architecture of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was honored in 2015 as a newly elected member of the National Academy—one of the highest honors in American art and architecture. Johnson is currently leading one of the largest and most significant Chicago development projects in a generation, Riverline, a master plan and residential community design along the South Branch of the Chicago River. He has been a member of the Society of Architectural Historians since 1997.

Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with the Built Environment

JML-Portrait_0137-2-©-Eric-Staudenmaier-280x373Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee are the founding partners of the architecture firm Johnston Marklee. Established in 1998 in Los Angeles, Johnston Marklee has been recognized nationally and internationally with over 30 major awards and numerous publications. Johnston and Lee have taught at major universities including the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Technical University of Berlin, and ETH Zurich. They have held the Cullinan Chair at Rice University and the Frank Gehry Chair at the University of Toronto. Projects undertaken by Johnston Marklee are diverse in scale and type, spanning seven countries throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Recent projects include the Menil Drawing Institute, a building for the exhibition, study and conservation of drawings on the Menil Collection campus in Houston, Texas, and the renovation of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, redesigned for social interaction and collaboration to include new public areas, education spaces and a street-level restaurant. Johnston Marklee’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Menil Collection, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Architecture Museum of TU Munich. They are the artistic directors of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, which will showcase the work of over 140 participants, gathered together around the invitation to “Make New History” and examine the value of history in architecture to inform the present and future.

Award for Excellence in Architectural Stewardship

PritzkerRetired Lt. Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker is the president and CEO of TAWANI Enterprises, Inc.; president and founder of TAWANI Foundation and the Pritzker Military Foundation; and the founder and chairwoman of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. Retired Lt. Col. Pritzker is a celebrated philanthropist with a passion for preserving and protecting architectural and cultural heritage. The TAWANI Foundation has supported community-based restoration projects, including several in the Rogers Park area, such as the Lang House (1919), which now functions as a bed and breakfast, the Morse Theater (1912), originally a vaudeville and movie house that now operates as the performance venue Mayne Stage, and the Emil Bach House (1921) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which functions as a vacation rental and event space. The TAWANI Foundation recently made a $1 million gift and $1 million challenge grant to support the $25 million comprehensive restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple (1906­–1908) in Oak Park, Illinois. Investment activities include real estate, development, and property management and include ownership of the Monroe Building (1912), designed by Martin Roche of Holabird and Roche and currently housing the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, and two 19th-century Tudor style mansions in Evanston, Illinois—Stone Porch by the Lake and Stone Terrace— that Pritzker meticulously rehabilitated and restored into luxury bed and breakfasts. Pritzker also purchased a Victorian home, which was restored and developed into the Lincoln Way Inn, a modern, yet rustically elegant bed and breakfast in the heart of the Midwest. Among the awards Pritzker has received for her preservation work include being named a 2016 Legendary Landmark by Landmarks Illinois and the 2016 Margery B. Perkins Award by the City of Evanston for rehabilitation and restoration of the Stone Terrace Bed and Breakfast, an honor she shared with Paul Janicki Architects, Berglund Construction, and others who worked on the project.

Event Details
SAH 8th Annual Awards Gala
Friday, November 17, 2017, 6–9 p.m.
The Racquet Club of Chicago, 1365 N Dearborn St
Tickets $175 (available online at

Event Schedule
6 p.m.: cocktail reception and silent auction
7 p.m.: awards ceremony
8:15 p.m.: auction closes
8:30 p.m.: auction checkout 

Event Sponsors
(as of September 21, 2017)
TAWANI Foundation (Presenting Sponsor)
Perkins + Will
HBRA Architects
Sylvester Construction Services
University of Notre Dame School of Architecture
AIA Chicago

About the Society of Architectural Historians
Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs. Learn more at

About the TAWANI Foundation
Founded in 2002, TAWANI Enterprises’ philanthropic organization, the TAWANI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that contributed more than $12.3 million (fiscal year 2016) in grants to provide support in the areas of military awareness and heritage, arts and culture, historical preservation, health and wellness, LGBT and human rights, education and environmental initiatives. For more information about the TAWANI Foundation or to learn more about its impact, awards and focus, visit


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610