Located west of Chicago, Aurora is known as an industrial and residential hub with a strategic position. Because of its location, the city has been growing and its job market is steadily increasing. Some of the biggest industries in the area are manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. Manufacturing companies in the city are known to produce industrial equipment and machinery, as well as fabrics, accessories, and furniture. Casinos and hotels are also major contributors to the city’s economy. Some of the best architects in Illinois are adding to Aurora’s economic growth. In this list, our editors have gathered nine experts in architecture, design, and planning. Most of these firms have won numerous awards and have been recognized by the press. They are affiliated with reputable organizations including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the US Green Building Council. Their years of practice in the industry span from one to eight decades.
600 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 250, Chicago, IL 60661
In business for over six decades, OKW Architects mission is to help clients achieve their vision through creativity and deep-rooted experience. Through this client-centric approach, the firm has completed successful projects and developed long-term partnerships. In the commercial industry, they have been trusted by many well-known companies including Krispy Kreme and Whole Foods.
As much as the firm values client relationships, their relationships as team members is equally important. Jon Tally, CEO and president of the firm, stresses the importance of collaboration in producing outstanding results. Tally attributes his wealth of knowledge to the University of Notre Dame, as well as his management, architecture, and commercial real estate experience.
An expert in retail and entertainment, mixed-use residential, and hospitality projects, OKW Architects has completed many award-winning designs. One of these is the Aster Hall at 900 N Michigan. A 2020 Chicago Building Congress Merit Award Finalist, the project involves the creation of a luxury food hall within a top shopping destination in Chicago. For the project, the design team created sophisticated dining spaces using gold accents on an off-white color scheme. Marble is prominently used in different parts of the hall including the concierge, the dining tables, and walls. The design invites guests to indulge in a luxury dining experience within Aster Hall.
549 West Randolph St., Suite 602, Chicago, IL 60661
Since their founding in 1964, Legat Architects has thrived through challenges. For the firm, challenges are opportunities to showcase creativity while improving people’s lives. The company’s artistic solutions are cost and time-efficient and responsive to the client and the community’s needs. Their outstanding services have benefited clients in different parts of Illinois, the US, and the world. They have served in the commercial, healthcare, hospitality, and recreation industries.
Leading the firm’s outstanding performance is Patrick Brosnan, AIA, LEED AP. With a “no doors” policy, Brosnan is always open to collaboration and consultation with his team. A University of Illinois alumnus, his expertise includes education and community development.
Over the last 58 years, Legat Architects has established strong relationships with their clients. One of their loyal customers is Hyatt Place. Designing for the brand’s multiple branches, the firm took over the Hyatt Place Chicago/ Wicker Park location. Inspired by the neighborhood, the firm created a design that echoes the location’s mysterious charm. In both the lobby and rooftop bar, the design features a dark scheme with pops of color. To soften the space, lighting and greenery were used. A floor-to-ceiling curtain wall separates the rooftop bar and the lobby to enable access to the stunning city views. This impressive project is a finalist in the Best Lobby: Focused Service category in the BDNY Gold Key Awards 2020 and has been featured in CRCA Today.
960 Ridgeway Ave., Aurora, IL 60506
Established in 1951, Cordogan Clark is a reputable firm with extensive experience. They have served clients in the US and all over the world including Spain and China. Their wide range of services includes architecture, planning, engineering, and construction for the commercial, residential, and educational industries. The firm ensures efficiency, superior quality, timeliness, and cost-effective practices while completing every project.
John Cordogan and John W. Clark oversee Cordogan Clark. Cordogan, AIA, earned his master’s from the University of Illinois. He takes care of the firm’s administrative and general management. His expertise includes engineering and building construction systems and materials. Clark, AIA, LEED AP, is a member of the American Planning Association. His responsibilities encompass the design, architecture, and construction aspects of all projects. His expertise includes commercial, residential, and institutional projects.
As one of the most established firms in Illinois, the firm has handled massive commercial projects including the Pavilion Hollywood Casino. Located in Aurora, the project involves the creation of a gaming facility in the middle of Fox River. Using the firm’s construction, engineering, and architecture expertise, a 70,000-square-foot floating facility, that feels and looks like a land-based casino, was made. Inspired by 19th-century casinos, the space features a stunning glass dome that attracts tourists to Stolp Island. This impressive facility has earned a PCI Special Recognition Award for Creative Design.
Allen + Pepa Architects
215 Fulton St., Geneva, IL 60134
Responsible for Allen + Pepa Architects’ status as one of the best firms in Illinois are their incredible principals, Eric Pepa, AIA, and Lane Allen. Both are award-winning architects with impressive credentials. Pepa’s accolades include the 2006 Illinois Main Street Award (DNA Design Committee for Block Walk Report). Allen, AIA, LEED-AP, has collected many awards including the 2009 Daniel Burnham Award, awarded by AIA Illinois. With their combined knowledge and expertise, the firm has gained the respect of their peers and the press. Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald have featured the firm and their outstanding projects.
Founded in 1998, Allen + Pepa Architects has worked with several well-recognized brands including Honda, Wells Fargo, and Subway. One of their major projects was Infiniti of Clarendon Hills. When building the 42,000-square-foot car dealership facility, the firm focused on meeting the standards of the Infiniti brand. Their goal was to create a luxurious and sophisticated space that pampers the brand’s clients. For the interior, the firm designed a clean and sleek gallery with lounge areas by the reception and the center of the showroom. Infiniti’s logo is boldly displayed on the exterior, popping through the facility’s concrete and glazed front facade.
Charles Vincent George Architects
1245 E. Diehl Rd., Suite 101 Naperville, IL 60563
Featured in Positively Naperville and The Quad City Times, Charles Vincent George Architects is committed to quality and excellence. Since their inception in 1962, the firm has excelled in commercial architecture, earning the trust of well-known brands. Some of their most prominent clients are BMW and Ford from the automotive industry and Nordstrom and Whole Foods in the retail sector.
Charles Vincent George Architects’ fantastic designs are a product of Bruce George’s outstanding leadership. George is a member of the AIA, the USGBC, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is an excellent leader that balances creativity with budget limitations. He is also a proud alumnus of the University of Cincinnati.
Audi is another popular automotive brand that has been a client of Charles Vincent George Architects. The firm took on the Audi Exchange – Highland Park project and produced a spectacular design. The space is so exceptional that it has been a 2020 Chicago Building Congress Award Finalist. This high-end dealership showcases qualities that the Audi brand represents: excellence and pride in their products. The firm’s design utilized the massive site to display the company’s top-of-the-line cars. The main entrance features an arched roof with glazed panels that opens into the showroom. On top of the entrance, Audi’s logo is prominently displayed. Parking spaces surround the property, offering easy access to customers.
Healy Bender Patton & Been Architects
4040 Helene Ave., Naperville, Illinois 60564
Established in 1935, Healy Bender Patton & Been Architects is the most senior firm on the list. For over 87 years, the firm has employed practicality, cost-consciousness, and community-mindedness in all of their projects. Headed by David Patton, AIA, NCARB, the firm consistently delivers top-notch services to clients in Illinois and surrounding areas. As a LEED AP BD+C, Patton ensures that their services are oriented to protect the environment. David Patton, president of the firm, is a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alumnus with a master’s degree in architecture.
Over the last eight decades, the firm has completed projects for various fields including the commercial, recreational, and educational sectors. Intending to build spaces that enhance the community and people’s lives, the team uses optimism and exceptional problem-solving skills. They work within the budgetary requirements to achieve the client’s vision.
A sample of the firm’s exceptional works is the addition and renovation project for Lexus of Orland Dealership. In this project, the firm created a facility that wows in all corners. The semi-circular entrance draws guests into the space. The main lobby has a high ceiling, while the showroom has a lower ceiling height to highlight the cars on display. The lounge area has a skylight that brightens the entire space.
769 Heartland Dr., Unit A, Sugar Grove, IL
Featured in Multihousing News and REJournals, Gleason Architects exhibits competence in all of their projects. The firm flawlessly delivers architecture and design services while sticking to the original project criteria and budget limitations. Founded in 2001, this firm has a team of skilled architects and project managers.
With more than 20 years of industry experience, Gleason Architects is equipped with the leadership and technical expertise needed to run a top-performing firm. Thad Gleason, the firm’s principal, is a University of Illinois alumnus with licenses in Illinois and California. His extensive experience covers architectural engineering. Over the years, he has handled numerous additions, new construction projects, and remodels for different sectors.
Under Gleason’s leadership, the firm has created many office, retail, and warehouse facilities. Anytime Fitness Sugar Grove is included in the firm’s portfolio. The project features a fitness center with spacious parking areas for increased accessibility. The design features in the interior have an industrial style with exposed pipes on the ceiling. The 5,000-square-foot facility is surrounded by glass, allowing light to enter and brighten the entire space.
Saavedra Group Architects
504 North Church St., Rockford, Illinois 61103
Founded in 1991, Saavedra Group Architects believes that architecture is an act of balance. All important elements including functionality, constructability, and budget must be considered in creating a usable space. On top of these, the needs of the clients and the environment must be satisfied. By seamlessly blending all these factors, perfect execution of projects is achieved.
Saavedra Group Architects is founded by Daniel G. Saavedra, AIA. In the industry for over two decades, Saavedra has honed expertise in architecture and design for different project types. His mastery includes commercial, religious, and institutional projects. A University La Gran Colombia alumnus, Saavedra has collected many awards including the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce Isaac Wilson Award 2005.
One of the firm’s near-to-perfection works is the Anderson Japanese Gardens. Inspired by the Japanese culture’s meticulousness and attention to detail, the firm has designed a facility that is now part of AIA’s Illinois’ 150 Great Places list. Perfection comes from the design’s simplicity and ability to blend well with its natural setting. While carefully preserving the existing Japanese architecture around the garden, the firm has built a 15,300-square-foot visitor center that can hold various events including meetings and receptions. Due to the firm’s exceptional work, the project has received the 2007 Honor Award from the AIA Awards.