December's Featured Architect: Jeanne Gang

Architect Jeanne Gang, who was named Time Magazine’s most influential architect in 2019, deserves recognition for both her incredible designs and her work in raising awareness about ecological issues in the industry. Gang hails from Belvedere, Illinois, and went on to study architecture at the University of Illinois followed by studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Like some of the most talented architects in the world, she worked with Rem Koolhaas at OMA in Rotterdam and then founded her own firm in Chicago—Studio Gang—in 1997.

Gang has been designing award-winning cultural centers, public projects, and other buildings since she founded her firm. Some of her most unique works are Aqua Tower in Chicago, the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Mira in San Francisco, and The Writer’s Theater in Glencoe, Illinois. She is also designing the prestigious Global Terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport that Clayco, in partnership with AECOM, is helping to build; it is truly a thing to behold. It is important to Gang to design places that connect people with their environment and she is inspired by ecological systems, both in her design as well as her building techniques. She is also active in research and exhibitions that raise public awareness about ecologically-friendly practices and closing the gender wage gap in architecture and design. Gang believes that cities and buildings can coexist with nature in sustainable and sensitive ways. Her activism, as it relates to architecture, stems from her belief that architecture is not just a “wondrous object,” but a “catalyst for change.” She calls this “actionable idealism.”

I worked with Jeanne and the team at Studio Gang on a competition for the Obama Presidential Center and One Hundred. Her recent work in St. Louis has been important to Clayco, and me personally, for her role in shaping a new wave of great local architecture. For the past two decades, St. Louis has been playing catch up to other cities that have invested more heavily in modern architecture. I am hopeful that my home city will continue the legacy of the great architects whose craftsmanship has made St. Louis what it is today.

100 Above the Park, a luxury residential tower designed by Gang and built by Clayco, is the latest addition to the city’s diverse architectural splendor, and hopefully just the beginning of a new era. It is certainly one of the most incredible buildings to be built in St. Louis in the past century. It is a spectacular monument to modern architecture and has the important job of shaping up St. Louis’s western skyline. One Hundred is located in the Central West End neighborhood, which itself has been undergoing a lot of change in the past decade and is now turning out to be one of the trendiest neighborhoods in St. Louis. Those who will live in 100 Above the Park will be afforded an urban lifestyle with great views of Forest Park at a fraction of the cost of a similar lifestyle in Chicago or New York City.

One of the coolest things about the design of the building is that it was built in such a way as to maximize light and efficiency and it has been Green Globe certified for sustainable and energy-efficient design. Every unit in the whole building has a corner living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, which allows residents to have a connection between city and nature. We broke ground in February of 2018 and the first residents were able to move in on September 1, 2020. One Hundred started as a parking lot and it is now an iconic building for St. Louis that I am so proud to be a part of.

For more about Jeanne Gang and the projects she has brought to life, visit her studio here. Studio Gang’s role in shaping industry thought is demonstrated in their many publications, available here.

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