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The Best Architectural Firms in Chicago, Illinois

7 Min Read

Last updated on May 27th, 2024 at 12:50 pm

Living in Chicago, Illinois offers a vibrant and diverse urban experience. From its iconic skyline to its world-class museums and theaters, Chicago is a city that never fails to inspire. There’s always something new to discover in this bustling city, whether it’s a renowned culinary experience, a beautiful park, or a thriving neighborhood. 

For those living in this city and looking for the expertise of an interior architect, the list below contains eight of the best options in Chicago. Each of these firms was chosen based on their prestigious awards, extensive experience, and impressive portfolios.


SCB

625 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60611

SCB, an architecture, interior design, and planning firm, has etched its signature on the nation’s skyline since 1931. With presences in key urban hubs, including Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle, it has persistently forged impactful designs that resonate with the aspirations of its vast clientele. This dedication has led the firm to receive prestigious awards like the 2022 Gold Key Award and the Roberta Feldman Merit Award. 

Chris Pemberton, the President and CEO of SCB, has played a crucial role in shaping the firm’s reputation. Under his leadership, SCB has made significant strides in the aviation and life sciences sectors, solidifying its position in the industry. Pemberton’s expertise extends to various areas, such as commercial and adaptive reuse, and his talent is evident in acclaimed projects like Anaha and The Tribune Tower’s renovation. 


Senga Architects

166 W Washington St #600, Chicago, IL 60602

Senga Architects, located in Chicago, is passionate about designing diverse spaces. From cozy homes to expansive commercial spaces, it crafts each project carefully tailored to the client’s vision. While doing so, the firm emphasizes clear communication, close teamwork, and client satisfaction. The firm’s dedication is further underscored by its affiliations with AIA Chicago and USGBC, as well as its team of trained professionals.

Leading the team is Firmin S. Senga, who graduated from the Cracow Institute of Technology with a top-level degree in Architecture and Urban Design. Senga emphasizes the importance of designs that enhance both user experiences and the broader community.


SAS Architects & Planners, LLC

630 Dundee Rd., Suite #110, Northbrook, IL 60062

Founded as Shayman and Salk Company in 1954, SAS Architects & Planners, LLC has carved a niche in providing holistic architectural, planning, engineering, and interior design services. It demonstrates expertise across various domains, with a diversified project portfolio encompassing projects in the senior living, healthcare, corporate, recreational, industrial, educational, and residential sectors. SAS Architects & Planners’ enduring commitment to merging design with functionality has earned it a loyal clientele. This dedication is further highlighted by the credentials of its staff, which include certifications from AIA, Association of Licensed Architects (ALA), LEED, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Copyright Bob Hallam Photographic

At the helm of the company’s operations is Michael Arenson, an AIA member and a pivotal figure in ensuring that every client interaction is personalized and accountable, along with Jim Moyer and three other partners. A defining feature of the company’s approach is the promise that a firm principal remains intimately involved in every project phase, guaranteeing responsiveness and hands-on supervision.


Kipnis Architecture + Planning

1642 Payne St, Evanston, IL 60201

Founded in 1993, Kipnis Architecture + Planning (KAP) stands out as Chicago’s premier sustainable architectural firm, with bases in Evanston, Illinois, and Boulder, Colorado. Committed to the ‘High Design/Low Carbon™’ philosophy long before it became mainstream, the firm recognizes the potential of resilient and sustainable design in integrating innovative architectural forms, construction techniques, and material utilization.

The driving force behind KAP is Nathan Kipnis, a Fellow of the AIA (FAIA) certified by LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C). His passion for resiliency, sustainability and energy efficiency in architectural design was ignited during the 1973 energy crisis, and by age 22, he had already designed a solar home in Boulder, CO. Under his leadership, KAP has received numerous accolades, including Better Magazine’s Best Architect in Chicago and being included in the 2022 Notable Leaders in Sustainability. He was also an original member of the AIA’s 2030 Commitment and was the national co-chair in 2018-19. Beyond creating award-winning designs, KAP is lauded for its adept integration of architectural styles, especially in renovating historic homes.


34-TEN

3010 N California Ave., Chicago, IL 60618

Established in 2013, 34-TEN is an architectural firm nestled in a welcoming storefront in Chicago’s vibrant Avondale neighborhood. Its portfolio spans a diverse array of residential designs, furniture craftsmanship projects, and commercial interiors. With a dedicated team ready to lend an ear, the firm takes pride in translating its clients’ ideas into tangible realities. The driving force behind this mission is Joshua Hutchison, an AIA and NCARB member and a LEED Accredited Professional (AP). Before venturing on his own, Hutchison honed his skills at renowned institutions such as Solomon Coldwell Buenz and Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill. His guiding principle throughout his professional career, both at those institutions and at 34-Ten, has been to maximize the impact for his clients. 

34-TEN’s dedication to excellence was recognized with the 2023 NARI Greater Chicago Contractor of the Year Award in the Historical Renovation/Remodel category. With a team of professionals affiliated with esteemed institutions like USGBC, NCARB, LEED, and AIA, the firm upholds the highest industry standards, ensuring every project reflects quality, innovation, and sustainability.


Collective Office

9 E. 24th St., Chicago, IL 60616

Founded in 2009, Collective Office combines client stories and architectural design, with the main goal of capturing the unique identity of each individual or business in the space. Instead of just focusing on aesthetics, Collective Office goes deeper by considering lifestyles, work dynamics, and the specific details that set its clients apart. Over its 14-year journey, Collective Office has received multiple recognitions, including the 2020 AIA Chicago Residential Small Project Award for the Lake Geneva Residence and the 2022 Architecture Master Prize for their Soldier Field House. The firm’s innovative approach has also been featured in reputable publications like Dwell Magazine, Curbed, and Dezeen, solidifying its position as a leader in the industry.

Leading the firm is Jeff Klymson, a member of OAA, AIA, and NCARB. As the founding principal, Klymson directs the symphony of creativity and precision that embodies the firm. Licensed as an AIA Architect across 14 states, his academic accomplishments include a Master of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s from Toronto Metropolitan University.


Elements Architectural Group

1040 North Blvd #220, Oak Park, IL 60301

Elements Architectural Group, established in 2006, operates as an architectural studio focusing on single-family residences and boutique commercial projects. The firm is committed to actualizing holistic design solutions that are buildable, budget-conscious, and undeniably beautiful. The firm boasts over 400 completed projects, reflecting a rich diversity in client preferences and design aesthetics.

Bill Scholtens, the founder, carries a unique training trifecta: architect, carpenter, and counselor. This diverse skill set led to the formulation of ‘The Elements Way,’ a design process uniquely harmonizing the Art, Science, and Economics of architectural projects. Scholtens emphasizes that the vision for each project originates from the clients, and the architect’s role is to facilitate and amplify this vision. Under his leadership, Elements Architectural Group has been recognized as the Chicago Home and Garden Green Innovator of the Year, as well as holding AIA, ALA, USGBC, and NCIDQ certifications.