Back to Events

Third Thursday: Emerging Voices


Unwind after work, connect with old and new colleagues, and learn from each other’s incredible projects.

May’s topic is centered around Emerging Voices in Chicago’s architectural world. Join us for an inspiring evening featuring presentations from talented young architects who are shaping Chicago’s built environment. You’ll be exposed to fresh perspectives, innovative design ideas, and the energy that’s propelling our industry forward. This program is a must-attend for anyone interested in the future of our cities and the creative minds that will design them.

The presentations will collectively address the questions of the influence of place and history and consider if there is such a thing as a shared sensibility or shared concerned such as conservation, sustainability, and energy use which are shaping current work in ways different from houses done in previous decades.

This event takes place immediately following AIA Chicago’s Custom Residential Architects Network Symposium, a full day symposium in which all are invited to attend.


Jeff Klymson, AIA is the Founding Principal of Collective Office, directing all creative and technical aspects of the practice. He’s an AIA Licensed Architect in 20 states. Mr. Klymson holds a Master of Architecture degree from IIT and a Bachelor of Architectural Science from Toronto Metropolitan University.

Jeff Klymson created Collective Office to focus on practice and research. The practice provides a project-specific, detail-oriented process. We employ this process on all of our projects. We aim to challenge convention and push boundaries, asking questions at every stage of our process. The primary focus of Mr. Klymson’s research is the convergence of architecture and the branded world to create personal experiences. He aims to use this idea to create a more intuitive connection for people within their own built environments.

Grant Gibson, AIA is an architect and educator. How contemporary environments and lifestyles are composed motivate his practice, CAMESgibson, Inc. Gibson’s work is frequently exhibited and routinely recognized, especially in his home city of Chicago. The Schiff Foundation named Grant Gibson the 2004 Fellowship as the city’s top architectural graduate. A decade later, The Chicago Architecture Club awarded him the Emerging Vision Prize.

Two projects by CAMESgibson have received Citations of Merit by AIA Chicago and another was one of four projects located in the United States to be nominated for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for Emerging Practices. Gibson is the author of A Performed Memoir, published and exhibited by the Graham Foundation. A clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Gibson has taught design and building technology courses in undergraduate and graduate programs since 2006. 

Joy Meek, AIA, LEED AP joined Wheeler Kearns Architects in 1998 and became a principal in 2006. She received a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Joy has worked on numerous award-winning residential and institutional projects including the original Marwen build-out and subsequent adaptive reuse and expansion project for the Marwen Foundation, a not-for-profit arts organization that provides free visual art classes and college and career counseling to students from under-resourced communities and schools in Chicago. The project has received several awards including a National SEED Award for Excellence in Public Interest Design. Additional projects include the Richard Gray Gallery Warehouse which transformed an old machine shop into a new 5,000 sf exhibit space, and The Night Ministry’s new administrative office and emergency shelter for young adults in Chicago.

Lawton Thies, AIA founded his eponymous firm to pursue his keen interest in residential architecture. Educated at the University of Virginia and a former principal at Chicago firm Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, Lawton’s work is informed by place and his experience with a broad range of project types and styles.

Commissions span the country from the Carolinas to California, with a concentration on Chicago’s North Shore, where his efforts have focused on the revitalization of houses often considered for demolition.

The resulting dialogue between past and present has fueled a passion for introducing new generations to how these iconic residences can be adapted to meet their needs.

Sharon Xu AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a registered architect, educator, and co-founder of Studio Becker Xu, an architecture & design studio based in Chicago in search of moments in the built environment that activate different scales of community and can more meaningfully shape our shared experiences.  The studio engages in design across types & scales, ranging from bespoke residential to civic spaces accessible for all.  Locally, the practice contemplates, speculates, and engages the Chicago community through proposals like a reimagined two-flat for the Come Home: Missing Middle Infill Housing design competition & exhibition and the Lawndale Gathering Tree – a playscape designed for the forthcoming One Lawndale Children’s Discovery Center, a new children’s museum for Chicago’s West Side. 

Prior to establishing Studio Becker Xu with her partner Robert Becker in 2022, Sharon honed her architectural skills at Michael Maltzan Architecture in Los Angeles where she worked on a diverse range of institutional, cultural, and residential projects, including the Hammer Museum at UCLA, MIT Vassar Street Residence Hall, University of Toronto Harbord Residence, and 26 Point 2 Apartments in Long Beach.  Previous work experience at the offices of Reiser + Umemoto in New York as well as NADAAA and Payette in Boston also informs her design thinking today.  Alongside practice, Sharon is active in academia, teaching architecture design studios at Illinois Institute of Technology and serving regularly on design reviews at IIT, UIC, and SAIC.  She holds a Master of Architecture from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Learning Objectives 

  1. Discover the current issues and concerns shaping recent Chicago residential architecture.  
  2. Understand the influence of geographic location on design. 
  3. Identify the influence that inherited history and culture have on a place.  
  4. Inquire on how issues of sustainability may be impacting the work of a new generation of Chicago residential architects. 
  5. Mitigate the current attitudes toward client needs and budgets impact new ideas about residential design.   


Sponsored By

Community-Builder Sponsor

Thornton Tomasetti

Influencer Sponsor


Advocate Sponsors

ESD now Stantec
Sherwin Williams Logo

Third Thursdays Host Committee

Lauren Amt, AIA; Searl Lamaster Howe Architects
Susan Brain, AIA; Perkins&Will
Joe Cliggott, AIA; Stantec

Travis Soberg, AIA; Goettsch Partners

CRAN Symposium Reception Sponsors

PAC-CLAD | Peterson Logo



Thursday | 05.16.2024


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


WorkLife Meetings at THE MART, Second Floor Suite 250
222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL, USA


AIA Member: $15
Non-Member: $25
Student: $5
Group Ticket (5): $60

Learning Unit:

1.0 LU

Share this Event