Better cities| Jeanne Gang’s architectural practice builds sustainable futures

Her award-winning multidisciplinary practice, Studio Gang, is driven by an ethos of ‘actionable idealism’ and is concerned with how to make cities more livable,

Jeanne Gang is one of the most important architects of her generation. She was named one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 by TIME magazine and 2016 Woman Architect of the Year by Architectural Review, and has been awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for her work.

Her award-winning multidisciplinary practice, Studio Gang, is driven by an ethos of ‘actionable idealism’ and is concerned with how to make cities more livable, with an emphasis on sustainability.

Excited to push the boundaries of what architecture can achieve, Gang likes to improve upon the built environment in ways that are focused on people and that encourage community-building.

Her Aqua Tower – the tallest woman-designed building in the world when completed in 2010, an accolade soon to be surpassed by her nearby Vista Tower, now under construction – is an 82-storey undulating skyscraper that received the Emporis Skyscraper Award as skyscraper of the year in 2009 and was recently named one of the most important buildings of the decade by Dwell. 

Firm-wide recognitions include the National Design Award for Architecture Design from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2013 and an Architizer A+ award in 2016.

With offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Paris, Studio Gang leads a range of projects that use design as a medium to help people and organisations design their futures.

The firm designed a strategic masterplan for the National Aquarium in Baltimore, USA, for example, and was a participant in the River Edge Ideas Lab, an initiative to reinvent the South Branch of the Chicago River in 2017.

The firm’s interest in ecology is long-standing, and in 2011 Gang authored Reverse Effect: Renewing Chicago’s Waterways to propose a greener future for the river.

Gang’s research-driven approach extends to building materials, and the studio frequently exhibits their innovative material tests and findings.

The extraordinary 5.4m-high stone jigsaw Marble Curtain, initially exhibited at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, tested the performance of marble when hung, while her wood-tensioned Writers Theatre canopy was on display at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

The studio’s work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Art Institute of Chicago and the International Venice Biennale, among other institutions.

A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Gang was drawn to architecture for its ability to engage with pressing contemporary issues, solve complex problems, and build connections between people and to their environment.

She received a Master of Architecture degree with distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where she is currently Professor of Practice, and has previously taught at Yale, Princeton, Rice, and IIT.

Follow @studiogang on Instagram, @studiogang on Twitter, @studiogangarchitects on Facebook and Studio Gang on LinkedIn.


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