Society of Architectural Historians Names 2019 Awards for Architectural Excellence Recipients

by SAH News | Jul 02, 2019

Carol Ross Barney, Julie Hacker, Stuart Cohen and Oswaldo Ortega will be honored at the 2019 SAH Awards Gala in Chicago.


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CHICAGO — The Society of Architectural Historians has named architects Carol Ross Barney, Stuart Cohen, Julie Hacker and Oswaldo Ortega as the 2019 recipients of the SAH Awards for Architectural Excellence. The Society will present the awards at its 10th annual Awards Gala at The Standard Club on the evening of Friday, November 8, 2019. Established in 2010, these awards recognize individuals for outstanding achievements in architectural practice and academic study.

Award for Excellence in Design, Leadership and Service
Carol Ross Barney, FAIA
Design Principal, Ross Barney Architects

Award for Excellence in Design, Academics and Scholarship
Stuart Cohen, FAIA, and Julie Hacker, FAIA
Partners, Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects

Pathfinder Award
Oswaldo Ortega, AIA, LEED, AP
Associate, Gensler

The SAH Awards Gala raises funds to support the Society’s educational programs and publications, including the award-winning Buildings of the United States book series and SAH Archipedia, the Society’s open-access online encyclopedia of U.S. architecture and landscapes. Event proceeds also help support the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the National Historic Landmark Charnley-Persky House (1891–92), which was designed by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and serves as the Society’s international headquarters.

Past recipients of the SAH Awards for Architectural Excellence include: Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, founder and senior partner, Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Peter Landon, FAIA, LEED AP, founder and principal, Landon Bone Baker Architects; Sharon Johnston, FAIA, and Mark Lee, founders and principals, Johnston Marklee; Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Ret), president and founder, TAWANI Foundation; Richard H. Driehaus, founder and chairman, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; Gwendolyn Wright, professor, Columbia University; Philip J. Enquist, FAIA, consulting partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Zoë Ryan, Alison Fisher and Karen Kice, Department of Architecture and Design, The Art Institute of Chicago; and Cynthia Weese, FAIA, founding partner, Weese Langley Weese.

The awards ceremony will be accompanied by a silent auction of architectural objects and experiences. Tickets will be available in September. For more information, visit

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, has been in the vanguard of civic space design since founding Ross Barney Architects in 1981. With a career that spans over 40 years, Ross Barney has made significant contributions to the built environment, the profession, and architectural education. As an architect, urbanist, mentor, and educator, she has relentlessly advocated that excellent design is a right, not a privilege. Her body of work occupies a unique place within the panorama of contemporary architecture, being exclusively composed of work in the public realm.

Ross Barney’s projects vary in type and scale, but uphold a deep commitment to the role architecture plays in life quality. This has manifest itself in design of spaces that enrich the metropolitan experience; to buildings that are environmental stewards, showcasing sustainability in an overtly compelling way; to spaces that inspire young children and the brightest minds of tomorrow to learn, invent, and break boundaries.

Ross Barney is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Following graduation, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica planning national parks. She teaches an advanced Design Studio at IIT and serves on their College Board of Overseers.

Ross Barney’s work has been honored with over 100 major design awards, including six national American Institute of Architects Institute Honor Awards, over 40 AIA Chicago Awards, two AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Project Awards, and the AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award, the AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture and the AIA Illinois Gold Medal, all for a distinguished body of work. She was named as a “Gamechanger” by Metropolis magazine in 2018.

For nearly two decades, Ross Barney’s studio has been working along Chicago’s Rivers. These efforts include the design of the Chicago Riverwalk and studies on all one-hundred-and-fifty-miles of riverfront across the city. The goal: reconnect people with the dynamic and changing life of the city’s natural resources.

Other notable projects include the McDonalds’ Chicago Flagship Restaurant, CTA Cermak-McCormick Place and CTA Morgan Street Stations, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue, James I Swenson Civil Engineering Building, Oklahoma City Federal Building, Bloomingdale / 606 Trail Master Plan, MultiModal Terminal at O’Hare International Airport and design of schools for Chicago and communities across the country.

Stuart Cohen, FAIA and Julie Hacker, FAIA

Stuart Cohen, FAIA, and Julie Hacker, FAIA, are a husband and wife team with a practice that specializes in residential design. They have been working together for over thirty years. In the 1990s they were included in Architectural Digest’s AD 100. They are recipients of Residential Architect Magazine’s 2007 Hall of Fame Leadership Award. Their residential work is the subject of a 2009 book, Transforming the Traditional: The Work of Cohen & Hacker Architects from Images Publishing. In 2017 they were the recipients of The Chicago Merchandise Mart’s Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in Architecture. They are the guest editors of the next issue of The Classicist devoted to Chicago’s tradition of classical and traditional architecture. The Classicist is a publication of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.

Cohen and Hacker continue to actively produce architectural programs, lectures and symposia, for different organizations locally and nationally.

Cohen is a graduate of Cornell University and worked in New York for Philip Johnson. He is professor of architecture emeritus at the University of Illinois Chicago and is the author of three books on Chicago’s historic residential architecture. He is the 2018 recipient of an Arthur Ross Award for writing and history from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.

Hacker is a graduate of Wesleyan University and of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is a recipient of a Chicago Women in Architecture Award and worked for the firms of Booth Hansen and Hammond Beeby and Babka.  She is a Preservation Commissioner for the City of Evanston and sits on the Board of the nonprofit “Across the Table.” She was a co-founder of the Chicago Chapter AIA CRAN (Custom Residential Architecture Network), is currently a co-chair of the local chapter and serves on CRAN’s National Steering Committee.

Oswaldo Ortega, AIA, LEED, AP

Oswaldo Ortega, AIA, is an associate in the Chicago office of Gensler, where he has led master planning studies and architectural and interior projects, both locally and globally. In 2019 Ortega received an AIA Young Architects Award for his exceptional leadership in the field and visionary development of programs that foster the next generation of design professionals.

Drawing on values he learned from his parents, who immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic shortly before his birth, Ortega has pursued architecture steadfastly while making time to support the underserved. Beginning in 2003, with his founding of the Society of Multicultural Architects & Designers while a student at Syracuse University, he has continued to develop initiatives that serve communities and diversify the profession.

During his tenure as the president of the Illinois chapter of The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), Ortega expanded and restructured I-NOMA’s Project Pipeline, a program that exposes minority students from underserved communities to the architecture profession beginning at age 10 and supports their development through to their licensure exams. Using the city of Chicago as a classroom, Project Pipeline connects local youth with architects and planners to provides them with hands-on experience through field trips, workshops, speaking engagements, career days, and a four-day Architectural Summer Camp. SAH first became acquainted with Ortega when it sponsored the 2016 Project Pipeline Architectural Summer Camp. At the time, he was revamping the curriculum to introduce students to the extraordinary architecture on Chicago university campuses such as the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago.

Ortega has previously operated as the project architect for four office buildings, one biotech laboratory facility, one office building renovation and several conceptual design packages for international clients. He continued to develop his leadership skill through the Leadership Development Program at Johns Hopkins University and by leading the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Mentoring program at Wheaton High School in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Most recently, Ortega was the project architect for the Johnson controls Asian Regional Headquarters in Shanghai, coordinating the efforts of the Gensler’s Chicago and Shanghai offices. The world-class corporate campus for the leading building technologies and solutions provider minimizes impact on the natural environment while maximizing aesthetics and functionality. Ortega represented the firm during 11 trips to Shanghai, establishing himself as a critical team member and client contact.

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.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
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