AIA Names 150 Great Places

May 14, 2007

Springfield, IL /PRNewswire/ – The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Illinois Council, recently announced its "150 Illinois Great Places." Located in towns and cities across the state, these places have been identified by leading architects as contributing to their communities' quality of life.

The Great Places commemorate AIA's 150th anniversary, and will showcase the best of the best in Illinois. The recognition program was designed to broadly include the "built environment," which includes civil, landscape and engineering places, as well as architecture. Each place will receive a plaque commemorating its impact on the community experience, and will be featured on the organization's Web site. The site ( will showcase each Great Place as a basis for public education and special events throughout this year.

The list includes schools, churches, offices, court houses, museums, and planned communities. Though half of the places are historically designated, many others were built in the late 20th century. Renowned architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe are recognized, as are urban planners, landscape architects, urban designers and local builders.

Each location holds significance for people in their respective communities and creates an experience for visitors, as was AIA Illinois' intention. "We want to inspire the leaders of today and tomorrow to recognize the best of Illinois," says AIA 150 champion Mike Jackson, FAIA. "The Great Places list spans the entire period of human settlement in Illinois, which gives it a strong historical dimension. It isn't meant to be a 'greatest hits' but rather a way of 'setting the standard' for future developments."

The program also includes a thematic portion, acknowledging a highly-recognizable type of building created by more than one designer. The Chicago Bungalow was among this group, with more than 70,000 built in the city proper. Carnegie Libraries are listed at the state-level as an architectural era known for its classical revival style.

Nominations came from all parts of the state and were open to anyone who wished to submit, including members of the public. A selection committee comprised of architects, working with local officials and other organizations, determined the winners. Nominations were weighed against criteria including the AIA's "10 Principles of Livable Communities." They must be publicly accessible, pedestrian-friendly, designed on a human scale, and provide vibrant, public spaces, among meeting other requirements.

"Illinois holds a unique place in the history of American architecture and has a strong tradition of design innovation that is recognized worldwide," says AIA Illinois president Leonard Koroski. "For 150 years, the work of AIA members has impacted our communities in countless ways. We honor that legacy by celebrating the past while looking forward to designing the future."

AIA Illinois is the state AIA component which represents more than 4,000 architects and architectural interns on issues of statewide importance to the public and profession. AIA Illinois links the six local AIA chapters that serve our members in the communities where they work and live. The organization is the voice of architects and the profession of architecture in state government, advocating for members' and the public's best interests. AIA Illinois is committed to monitoring, influencing and responding to legislation and regulatory policy affecting architects and their clients; this includes licensing laws, building safety requirements, liability and project delivery.

For additional information, contact Lynda Baldwin, (708) 703-8804, or
Mary Beth Berkoff, (312) 595-0670.
Source: AIA Illinois (

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