Creative Design Projects by Diverse Chicago Firms to be Celebrated at Designight 2023, AIA Chicago’s Signature Design Awards

Red image with Designight 2023

Designight 2023

Jury of national design leaders to select industry winners; Public to vote for People’s Choice “best of” design awards

For Immediate Release
Media contact: Dan O’Connell,, (617) 480 6585
AIA Chicago Digital Media Kit
August 3, 2023, CHICAGOAIA Chicago, the second largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the collective voice of over 4,000 licensed architects, emerging professionals, architecture students, and allied professionals, today announced jurors for Designight 2023 which will honor Chicago architects’ global design achievements represented by an exceptional group of 154 projects from 70 Chicago architectural firms. Designight 2023 will be hosted by architect and humorist Hiba Bhatty at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago’s Millennium Park on Thursday, September 28, 2023
Designight 2023 is a ticketed event where everyone is welcome; all firms, clients, consultants, partners, friends, and family—and all Chicagoans with a penchant for great architectural design. The award program includes the second annual Lerch Bates People’s Choice Awards—presented in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Center and chosen by the public which will be announced live along with the juried awards.
“AIA Chicago is proud that this year’s award submissions from AIA Chicago members are representative of Chicago’s increasingly diverse architectural community,” said AIA Chicago’s Executive Director Jen Masengarb. “Most of the Design Excellence Awards submissions in 2023 are from small firms of 10 or fewer people and firms that self-report being women-owned, women-led or are more than 50% women-staffed.” 
The Design Excellence Awards recognize projects of all scales, from Architecture XS to XL, and Interior Architecture S to L. In addition to the Design Excellence Awards, separate awards, chosen by additional juries/committees, will be given for Lifetime Achievement Award, the Decarbonization Award, and the Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award which is administered by the AIA Chicago Foundation. Designight 2023 will also feature the second annual People’s Choice Awards presented in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Center.
“Winners of AIA Chicago’s Design Excellence Awards and the Decarbonization Award will be selected by a distinguished and diverse group of national design leaders,” said AIA Chicago President Mindy Viamontes, AIA. “Their design expertise ensures the projects receiving the AIA Chicago awards will be innovative projects of exceptional quality.”

The recipients of The Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award, administered by the AIA Chicago Foundation and named for Roberta Feldman, Ph.D, Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois Chicago, School of Architecture, and an architectural activist and researcher, will also be presented at Designight 2023. 

“The Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award honors projects designed by architects and guided by the conviction that access to high quality architecture is not a privilege, it is a human right.” said AIA Chicago Foundation President Chris Annmarie Spencer, AIA. “The Honor Award recipient will receive a $2,500 prize for their efforts.”

2023 Jury Chair (non-voting)

Eleanor Esser Gorski, AIA; CEO & President; Chicago Architecture Center

2023 Jury for Architecture XS and S; Interior Architecture S and M

Julie Eizenberg, FAIA; KoningEizenberg; Santa Monica, CA

Natasha Espada, AIA; Studio Enee; Needham, MA

Rod Kruse, FAIA; BNIM; Des Moines, IA

Tom Kundig, FAIA; Olson Kundig; Seattle, WA

Jean Rehkamp Larson, AIA; Rehkamp Larson Architects; Minneapolis, MN

Molly Blakley, AIA, Jury Alternate; DLR Group; Denver, CO

View juror headshots and award information

2023 Jury for Architecture M, L, and XL; Interior Architecture L

Nicole Becker, AIA; ZGF; Portland, OR

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, FAIA; BIG; New York, NY

Audrey O’Hagan, AIA; Audrey O’Hagan; Cambridge, MA

Thomas Phifer, FAIA; Thomas Phifer and Partners; New York, NY

Rob Whitehead, FAIA; College of Design at Iowa State University; Ames, IA

Ashley Craig, AIA, Jury Alternate; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Los Angeles, CA

View juror headshots and award information

Jury for Decarbonization Award

Stephanie Carlisle; Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington; Seattle, WA

Stacy Smedley, LEED AP BD+C; Building Transparency; Seattle, WA

Gunnar Hubbard, FAIA, LEED Fellow; Thornton Tomasetti; Portland, ME

View juror headshots and award information

Jury for Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award 

Danielle Tillman, AIA, NOMA Jury Chair; bKL Architecture; Chicago, IL

Elliott Dudnik, FAIA; Elliott Dudnik + Associates; Evanston, IL

Pete Landon, FAIA; LBBA; Chicago, IL

Negin Moayer; BNMO Design; Chicago, IL

Katie Swenson, AIA; Mass Design Group; Boston, MA

View juror headshots and award information

The Lifetime Achievement Award is nominated by the AIA Chicago general membership, reviewed by a committee of Fellows and previous Lifetime Achievement Award winners, and selected by the AIA Chicago Board of Directors. Previous recipients include Ralph Johnson, FAIA, LEED AP (2022); Stuart Cohen, FAIA (2021); Phillip C. Johnson, FAIA (2020); John Syversten, FAIA (2019); Peter Landon, FAIA (2018); Carol Ross Barney, FAIA (2017) among many others. The 2023 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced in August.

Designight 2023 emcee Hiba Bhatty, Associate AIA, is not only an award-winning University of Illinois and Yale trained architect at Valerio Dewalt Train with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. She is also a Muslim, Pakistani American stand-up comic and Second City improv performer with her own YouTube channel. 

“I am so excited to be emceeing Designight 2023, Chicago architecture’s very own Oscars!,” said Hiba Bhatty. “I know that architects take our jobs seriously but you would be surprised just how funny architecture can be. Join us on September 28 at the Harris Theater and find out!”

Finalists for the juried awards and the Lerch Bates People’s Choice Awards will be announced in August along with information on how the public can vote for their favorite designs.

Designight 2023
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Millennium Park
205 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Thursday, September 28, 2022
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with After Party to follow

To purchase Award Ceremony tickets beginning August 14 call or visit:
Harris Theater Box Office: (312) 334 7777; 
Harris Theater Website:
Harris Theater Address: 205 East Randolph Drive
Theater rental and services have been underwritten through support of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.

To purchase After Party tickets beginning August 3 visit: or 

About AIA Chicago
The American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago) serves nearly 4,000 architect members in Chicago and is the second largest AIA chapter in the country. AIA Chicago’s mission builds on the city’s architectural legacy by advocating for the profession, sharing knowledge among members, and partnering with communities. It fosters a culture of design excellence for equitable, sustainable places and spaces.

AIA Chicago offers lectures and continuing education courses; specialized, issue-specific Knowledge Communities; advocacy for architects; and help for consumers looking for an architect.
AIA Chicago is the local Chicago chapter of The American Institute of Architects. Based in Washington, D.C., the AIA has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1857. Learn more by visiting


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