/ Awards / Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, to Receive AIA Chicago’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, to Receive AIA Chicago’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Parul Dubey on September 22, 2017 - in Awards, News

CHICAGO–AIA Chicago’s Board of Directors has selected Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, to receive the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. From her earliest projects to her most contemporary work as the founder of her namesake firm, Barney has been elevating architecture in the public realm for over 40 years. Ross Barney will receive the award on October 13 at Designight 2017, the premier awards night celebrating Chicago’s architectural community and the 2017 recipients of the Design Excellence Awards.

“AIA Chicago is tremendously honored to recognize Carol Ross Barney, a visionary trailblazer, generous mentor and vocal community leader,” says Matthew Dumich, FAIA, president of AIA Chicago’s Board of Directors. “Carol is known as ‘the People’s Architect’ because her significant contributions to the built environment have a profound daily impact on the way Chicagoans experience and interact with our city through accessible, engaging civic architecture, infrastructure and public realm design excellence.”

Ross Barney has been in the vanguard of civic space design since founding her firm, Ross Barney Architects in 1981. With a career that spans over 40 years, Carol 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.

Carol’s projects vary in type and scale, but uphold a deep commitment to the role architecture plays in life quality; from transit stations 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.

Carol’s work has been honored with over 100 design awards, including four national AIA Institute Honor Awards, over 40 AIA Chicago Awards, two AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Project Awards, the AIA’s Thomas Jefferson award for Public Architecture and the AIA Illinois Gold Medal.

For nearly two decades, Carol’s studio has been working along Chicago’s rivers. These efforts include the design of the Chicago Riverwalk and studies on all 150 of riverfront across the city. Other Notable projects include the Bloomingdale / 606 Trail Master Plan, CTA Cermak-McCormick Place and Morgan Street Stations, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, James I Swenson Civil Engineering Building, Oklahoma City Federal Building and design of schools for Chicago and communities across the country.

“This is a tremendous and unexpected honor,” states Ross Barney. “I love Chicago and it’s a privilege to create public spaces here.”

Carol joins individuals such as Stanley Tigerman, FAIA, Helmut Jahn, FAIA, Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, FAIA, and Natalie De Blois, FAIA in a roster of architects and architectural advocates awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by AIA Chicago.



Started in 2006, the AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award honors those who have made a lasting impact on the practice, the profession and the built environment in Chicago.



The American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago) is the largest chapter of licensed architects, architectural interns, and allied professionals within AIA Illinois, and the second largest AIA chapter in the country.


AIA Chicago offers lectures and continuing education courses; numerous award programs; specialized, issue-specific Knowledge Communities; advocacy for architects; daily communications online and through its in-house magazine, Chicago Architect; and help for consumers looking for an architect.

As a resource for its members in service to society, AIA Chicago promotes positive change through the power of design.



Ross Barney Architects (www.r-barc.com) is a Chicago-based architecture and urban design studio. Established by Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, the studio occupies a unique place within the panorama of contemporary practice that is characterized by a reputation for work in the public realm.


The studio’s ideas and projects have been recognized, published, and exhibited around the world, receiving more than 100 major awards.

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