Architecture from Studio Gang Architects Lets Nature in

Ar Jeanne Gang-The Principal Architect

Jeanne Gang

Visionary architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, is the founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, a Chicago-based architecture and design firm whose projects confront pressing contemporary issues. Born in 1964 in Illinois, Gang earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois in 1986 and a Master of Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University in 1993. In 1989, she was an International Rotary Fellow, and she studied at the ETH Swiss Federal University of Technical Studies in Zurich, Switzerland. Prior to founding her own firm, she worked with OMA/Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam.

"I like to work on different types of projects and don't want to be pigeonholed" –– Ar Jeanne Gang

The Brick Weave House

The Brick Weave House sits on the footprint of a century-old stable on an eclectic block of Chicago's West Town neighborhood. Removing the original front walls and roof created a garden through subtraction, one which is surrounded by a porous, one-wythe-thick brick screen that both reveals and encloses the private courtyard and house beyond.



Variation in ceiling heights and floor levels weaves together the two-storey garden at the front of the house with the single-storey volume at the back through a cascading section. The screen animates the garden and interior with dappled sunlight, establishing a visual connection to and from the street. Rectangular voids in the screen throw hexagonal patterns of light inside. At night, the pattern reverses, and the screen becomes a lantern.

Brick Weave House

Gang decided to set up her own firm in 1997 when she was in her early 30s. The studio's first project was of putting a roof over the 1,100-seat bowl-shaped theatre of Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. Inspired by nature and her knowledge of engineering, she came up with a six-piece steel roof that opens, in 40-ft triangular sections, like a giant flower in fine weather. Gang's studio works on a principle of following points including creative fusion of nature, found materials, inventive engineering, structural economy, environmental awareness and last but not the least the style.

Gang seeks to answer the questions that lie locally (site, culture, people) and resound globally (density, climate, sustainability) through her architecture. Her designs are rooted in both architectural form and idea-driven content to make a compelling whole, and she often reaches at design solutions through investigations and collaborations across disciplines. She believes in doing different types of works as she once said "I like to do different types of work and don't want to be pigeonholed."

The daughter of a Belvidere, Ill., engineer, Gang, spent her childhood touring bridges and roads springing up across America. She wanted to be an engineer before she decided on architecture. This may have inspired her habit of coaxing lyricism out of rigor in many of her designs. She is genius in dreaming up environmentally minded solutions and is of the opinion that "What we're really good at is looking at the big picture of a problem and not just thinking of it as a building."

Driven by curiosity, intelligence, and radical creativity, Gang has produced some of today's most innovative and award-winning architecture. The transformative potential of her work is exemplified by her projects such as the Aqua Tower, Northerly Island framework plan, Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, Columbia College Chicago's Media Production Center, and SOS Children's Villages Lavezzorio Community Center. She has also done number of exciting projects in India that includes Tellapur 02, Hyderabad, Juhu Beach House, Mumbai etc.

The Hyderabad Tellapur O2

The Hyderabad Tellapur O2
The Hyderabad Tellapur O2 project transforms the traditional Indian courtyard house into a new porous building type that serves a much larger-scale (1.3 million sf) development, taking advantage of the technique of self-shading demonstrated by Indian haveli to produce comfortable and engaging outdoor spaces. The 25-storey residential cube is eroded with a system of "cracks" to create cross ventilation for public space and natural ventilation for private apartments. Amenities such as swimming pools, a café, and a club are woven throughout the stepped garden spaces.

Gang has been teach architecture as an adjunct associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology since 1998. She was a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2004, held the Louis I. Kahn professor chair at the Yale School of Architecture in 2005, and was the Graduate Design Studio Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University in 2007.

Jeanne's works have been honored and exhibited widely, most notably at the International Venice Biennale, MoMA, the National Building Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. She has received numerous honors and awards for her works, including John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow 2011, Fellow, American Institute of Architects 2009, Cultural Heroes, Time Out Chicago 2008, Iakov Chernikov Prize Nominee 2008, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2006, an Emerging Voices Award, Architecture League of New York, 2006, and so on.

Studio Gang

Studio Gang is a rising international practice whose work confronts pressing contemporary issues. Conceived as a collective of architects, designers, and thinkers, the studio acts as a lab for testing ideas on varying scales: from cities to environments to individual buildings' unique material properties.

Studio Gang

The Studio has grown to include 37 full-time staff collaborating on national and international projects. With a process that begins with research and exploration, the studio has produced a growing body of work that responds to its specific place and purpose. It creates designs that are effective, sustainable and transformative. Every Studio Gang project acts as an agent of social change and a laboratory for testing ideas to push the boundaries of architecture and design. The company's award-winning work is designed to challenge how people live, work and ultimately, think about their environment.

Studio Gang has received national and international recognition for its innovative and sustainable designs.

Vancouver Pair

These two towers for downtown Vancouver work together and with the fabric of the city to achieve what many highrise projects lack: an active and exciting public space at ground level. Transforming from concave at the base to convex at the top, the towers circumscribe a public plaza that connects pedestrians with the adjacent waterfront park. Their sinuous forms take on the smooth, sculptural appearance of driftwood, an element produced by this region's unique proximity of wooded mountains and sea.

Plaza Cherry Blossom Version

Formed and oriented to maximize light and views for the residential units, the towers are also strategically designed for sustainability. Water, solar, geothermal, and ventilation strategies reduce the buildings' energy footprint, while their green roof gardens reduce the heat island effect and offer residents a pleasant outdoor experience in the heart of the city.

Work Process

Studio Gang begins every project with a research-based discovery process. This unique method recognizes the direct relationship between deep understanding and creativity. It also fosters clients' active participation in our design process, making choices as the project develops.

The practice is grounded in the belief that this thoughtful and collaborative approach is necessary for all projects, especially those whose impact and complexity is considerable. Rather than waiting until a project's design is developed to conduct in-depth planning research, Studio Gang obtains this critical knowledge early on: at the beginning of a project's concept design phase.

By understanding clients' project goals and strategizing methods to achieve them from the very beginning, the project's budget and timeline are preserved and respected, and a more compelling building design is conceived to serve as the basis from which the final project grows.

Embedded in Studio's way of working is the search to reduce a project's energy and material footprint while simultaneously seeking out the exciting synergies made possible by sustainable design. Everyone at Studio Gang offers deep knowledge of green solutions: all team members aim to become LEED Accredited Professionals within one year of joining the firm, and several of our projects are targeting a LEED Platinum rating.

Transforming Complexity of Form to Simple Functionality

Prof. Ar. Charanjit Singh Shah, Founding Principal, Creative Group & Chairman - Smart Habitat Foundation, in conversation with Ar. Kritika Juneja at Creative Group, discusses why it is important to take a holistic design approach when it comes to airports Read More ...

Ar. Parul Zaveri Abhikram

I believe that ‘architectural style’ should be a response to the various climatic zones in context of India, to be designed according to clients’ personalities and project needs. Each place has a plethora of creative solutions, that have evolved using local resources and techniques, which constitute the part of our architectural knowledge. It is necessary to achieve a balance between continuity and desirable change, without fossilizing the past, and without making the change incongruent with... Read More ...

Ar. Reza Kabul ARK Reza Kabul Architects

I believe in liberating spaces, not enclosing them. Every space needs to have a good optimum, be it a small sized apartment or large commercial offices. Every good designer analyses the plans from the client perspective, regarding practicality, functionality, and accessibility, before executing it. I don’t believe in confining spaces between four walls, on the contrary, I believe in open spaces, both for the interiors and exteriors.It takes exemplary quality to reach elusive heights. The... Read More ...

Ar. Lalichan Zacharias Atelier

My approach to design is simple and open. I start my design with two guiding factors: the requirements and the site. I would like to see the building grow from the site naturally while fulfilling the requirements. I try to keep it extremely simple and responding to the climate. Integration of nature in the built form is always given importance.  Round Chapel Kalamassery Ar. Geoffrey Bawa’s works have always inspired me. Another aspect which influence my design is the sociological aspect of it.... Read More ...

Ar. Sourabh Gupta Archohm

I believe that the language and vocabulary of architecture is not a question about style. Every building is built for a specific purpose, in a particular setting, for a set of audience, and it is therefore intentional that we don’t impose any pre-defined visual form onto a project, rather let things emerge as the project evolves. There is a deliberate attempt to not make specific choices in our design directions.As a philosophy, we try to work on projects that allow an element of... Read More ...

Ar. Jay Shah Access Architects

Architectural style is characterized by the feature that makes a building structure notable and visibly identifiable. Every architect has a specific style and I would call mine “form follows function” as was the thought of Architect Louis Sullivan. However, my style of architecture is not confined to one kind since every client is different, every project is unique, every plot is diverse, and every functionality brief is exclusive. So, any one style of architecture doesn’t work as the design... Read More ...

Ar. Dinesh Verma Ace Group Architects

My style is versatile. In today’s context, where pace and universal availability of materials supported by technology is the base, it is but imperative to develop designs that are adaptable and go with the times. Around 30 years back, when I started my design practice, local and natural materials were in use, Granite was not less than 75mm thick, walls were minimum 112mm and wood was available in plenty. We did a lot of work in natural brick, stone and wood. Even today, the Mysore Haat... Read More ...

Ar. Alfaz Miller & Aahana Miller ABM Architects

The designs by our firm have not changed the skyline of cities, but our smaller architectural projects of commercial buildings and bungalows have made a significant design impact, producing architecture that is site specific, sensible and timeless.We believe in architecture that is simple and controlled and lacks stylised decoration. With large exposure to interior design, the buildings we design are practical with emphasis on function rather than just form. The designs are constructive, with... Read More ...

Ar. Ahmed Shaikh Ahmed & Associates

Architecture is an ever-evolving process and depending on the lifestyle, material availability, weather conditions, and geographical location, we can apply various types of styles. In Mumbai, for instance, we can see contemporary architecture along with classical typology.I believe that there is no single style to work on as we try to give multiple options depending on the clients’ requirements. Our style includes contemporary, classical, art deco, and minimalistic, which we can identify by... Read More ...

Ar. Shobhan Kothari & Ar. Anand Menon ADND & KdnD Studio

We constantly strive for simplicity of form and design. Our architectural style is a minimalistic interplay of lines, planes and volumes. We believe that beauty lies in the ability of a design to be explained through a few lines. We constantly explore the power of lines and their ability to shape space. We work intuitively to create spaces that are episodal and spatially engaging. The core aspects of scale and proportion in design are constantly debated upon to arrive at spaces that balance... Read More ...

Ar. Arpan Johari AW Design

We believe that an architect’s signature style should serve more than just being a set of features to identify ‘the architect’. At AW Design, climatic and site response are the essential guides to evolution of our building’s aesthetic language. In case of interiors, it is the purpose, services and available internal volume around which proportions, openings, systems are designed.Given that most of our work is in the hotter regions of the country, we have developed an unsaid affinity towards... Read More ...

Ar. Monish Siripurapu ANT Studio

The nature around us consists of divergent facets that can be aptly fabricated to alter the paradigm of Architecture and Design. Not only is it inspiring in terms of its organic forms but is also helpful in imparting us with a natural know-how of functionality. So, when Ant Studio came into being, I was convinced that we had to create designs that not only celebrated nature but blurred the lines between the built and the un-built. As a result, ‘Biomimicry’ emerged as a style that I wanted to... Read More ...

Ar. (Dr.) Harish Tripathi & ID. Jyoti D Tripathi Architect Harish Tripathi & Associates

Over the years, we have positioned our efforts around the belief that the best objects of nature are simple, not complicated. Consequently, we try to create buildings with simple forms and facades. This is often achieved, in our case, through the case of sunken windows wherein the building is double skinned and neat. This way, unwanted protrusions get negated and the double layer of the façade provides a better response to climatic extremities.We have always been fascinated by the virtues of... Read More ...

Ar. Babu Cherian Babu Cherian Architects

I believe good architecture is one wherein functionality and aesthetics form a harmonious conglomeration in a way that successfully follows the context of the land and its traditions while exuberating its rich culture. With an unceasing love for Kerala and a thirst for reviving the past, I believe my architecture is in essence a contribution to the future through a tribute to the past. While my professional portfolio consists of a mixture of architectural styles, a majority of my projects are... Read More ...

Prof. (Ar) Charanjit Shah Creative Group

For an architect, the primary function is to create usable spaces for the masses; only with a true understanding of humanity can he or she create the kind of human settlement which is required for a common man.Since the inception of my career in 1970, I have believed that a built form should not be treated as a dead mass of brick and concrete, but as a living organism, allowing it to breathe with nature. Only when one respects the site conditions and existing natural resources, one can build... Read More ...

Ar. Iqbal Chaney Chaney Architects

Architectural design is an expression of an individual’s understanding and comprehension of the client’s need and demand, translating it into design and thereby establishing an individualistic style. This style, over the years, gets imprinted so strongly into the personality of the individual and the team that it gets hard to distinguish the two. The individualistic designs evolve into a statement and are marked as a style. The style of many great architects in the modern era has become the... Read More ...
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