Founded in 1999, John Ronan Architects is an internationally-recognized design firm based in Chicago and comprised of dedicated design professionals committed to producing architecture of the highest quality, marked by conceptual innovation, exploration of materiality, and a rigorous attention to detail. The firm has a studio culture and its working method is research-based and collaborative. Led by John Ronan FAIA, the firm pursues an iterative design methodology to explore and test a wide range of design responses in order to find the appropriate response that feels intuitively correct for each individual situation. Each project is approached as a unique challenge and the firm has gained a reputation for responding to project briefs in unexpected ways. In works ranging in scale from small residential to cultural and institutional to large and complex urban planning projects, there is a searching quality that aims to find the appropriate response that feels intuitively correct for each individual project or situation, based on its client, site, program and context—cultural, historical, economic, social and political.
With projects worldwide, the firm provides a variety of architectural and design services (urban design and planning, landscape design, interior design and graphic design), and promotes an interdisciplinary approach to design that includes the leading consultants in their field as collaborators. To each project the office brings an exploratory attitude to the investigation of space and materiality, and a concern for issues of sustainability and the performance of the building over time, both functionally and environmentally.
The firm’s history is marked by a steady rise to prominence since its inception. In 1999, John Ronan was a winner in the Townhouse Revisited competition sponsored by the Graham Foundation in Chicago. In December of 2000, the firm was included by Architectural Record magazine in its inaugural Design Vanguard issue. The firm rose to national prominence in 2004 with the winning of the prestigious Perth Amboy High School Design Competition, a two-stage international design competition to design a 472,000 square foot high school in New Jersey; pitted against architectural heavyweights Morphosis, Eisenman Architects, and Fox & Fowle, the firm was a dark horse and its success in the competition made news throughout the architecture world. In 2006, the firm was featured in the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices and featured in the Young Chicago exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2007, the firm was selected as architect of the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, a search that started with 50 architects from around the world. In 2010, Princeton Architectural Press published Explorations: The Architecture of John Ronan, a monograph on the firm’s work. The firm has been the recipient of two AIA Institute National Honor Awards (for the Poetry Foundation and The Gary Comer Youth Center), and was recently selected as the #3 design firm in the U.S. by Architect Magazine. The firm’s work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S. and in Europe, and has been featured extensively in regional, national and international publications.
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