DLA Architects, Ltd. co-founder, Bruce Dahlquist, celebrates retirement after 40 years of leadership
DLA Architects, Ltd. in Itasca, Illinois, announces the retirement of founding partner Bruce Dahlquist, following a 40-year career in architecture with a focus on education and recreation.
Bruce grew up on the northwest side of Chicago and attended Lane Tech High School. Although he initially pursued an engineering degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Bruce soon realized he loved design more than math and science and switched to architecture. Upon graduation in 1972, he worked in Chicago as an architectural designer with an international design firm followed by a return to U of I to complete a Masters of Architecture degree in 1977.
In 1983, Bruce and lifelong friend Dwain Lutzow started Dahlquist and Lutzow Architects in Elgin and later also in Hinsdale.
By 2008 the business was renamed DLA Architects to reflect the growth of the firm, which included multiple partners and architecture professionals. The firm has provided architectural/planning services for 41 school districts in the Chicagoland area, representing 127 elementary schools, 50 middle schools, and 48 high schools. DLA Architects’ motto is “form follows learning” and continues to focus on effective design to enhance the educational environment of students.
Inspired by his love of the outdoors, Bruce is a major supporter of Green and Sustainable Design. Preserving the integrity of the natural environment through the sensitive impact of the “built environment” upon nature is a benefit not all architects consider. He took any opportunity to design energy-conscious facilities while being mindful of cost and the client’s vision. Bruce also works actively for preservation. He respects the architectural legacy left behind by previous generations and is gratified by designing something that will be used and appreciated by current and future generations.
Bruce has a knack for working and collaborating with clients, employees, and even students. He is passionate about teaching and mentoring, whether in the classroom or the conference room.
Noteworthy industry recognition includes: co-founding the Fox Valley Branch of the United States Green Building Council; Those Who Excel Award from the State of Illinois Board of Education; Community Service Award from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association/Illinois Association of Park Districts; Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Certificate of Merit; Illinois Association of Historic Districts Certificate of Appreciation; Elgin Mayor’s Award; Elgin Image Award; and serving on numerous City of Elgin visioning committees including New Century Partnership for Elgin, Lords Park Task Force, City of Elgin Sustainability Action Plan, co-founding and serving on the Elgin Heritage Commission.
Bruce and his wife Peggy have four children and eight grandchildren. Having completed 2,000 projects in his career, he is looking forward to retirement. Bruce and Peggy are moving to Marco Island, Florida, where Bruce will indulge in his passions for fishing, photography, golf, travel, and cheering for the Chicago Blackhawks and Cubs.
A retirement party with employees, clients, and friends will be held on Friday, February 17, 2017, from 4pm-8pm, to celebrate Bruce’s 34-years at DLA Architects.
Jim Graham (M.Arch '92) marks 10 years as co-founder of Seattle-based Graham Baba Architects
SEATTLE, December 13, 2016—Seattle-based Graham Baba Architects is pleased to announce the firm’s 10th anniversary. Co-founded by architects Jim Graham and Brett Baba in 2006, the firm has enjoyed a growing reputation for their work, which includes adapting existing buildings, creating thriving public market venues, designing residences that highlight craft, and developing commercial projects that focus on user experience. “To get the opportunities we’ve had—and to earn the trust of our clients—has been humbling,” says Jim Graham. “Hiring an architect can feel like a leap of faith, emotionally, intellectually, and financially. It all starts with clients who come to us with a vision and challenge us to find solutions for their needs. It has been our honor to work with them. Our success represents the hard work of so many talented people—our staff, consultants, craftspeople and builders.”
The firm found early success transforming existing, underutilized buildings, as exemplified by Seattle projects Melrose Market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and the Kolstrand Building in Ballard. New, mixed-use infill buildings (including Building 115, which features retail and office space, and a residence) were also part of the firm’s early work. Projects of this type continued with 325 Westlake/MadArt, an adaptive reuse project that merged an art-making studio with residences, and the MadArt foundation’s headquarters. “In many ways, repurposing existing buildings and urban infill projects are the future of architecture,” notes Baba. “Finding ways to invigorate our cities by capitalizing on the embodied energy and hard-earned legacy of existing structures while protecting existing unbuilt land is essential to rational development.”
Working with owners to redevelop their buildings led directly to working with the tenants who occupy them. The firm soon began creating signature spaces for some of the city’s top chefs, including restaurants for James Beard Award nominees and winners. “Osteria La Spiga was our breakout restaurant project,” notes Graham. La Spiga was followed in quick succession by Miller’s Guild for Jason Wilson, Westward for Josh Henderson, Revel for Rachel Yang, The Walrus and the Carpenter for Renee Erickson, and Bravehorse and Serious Pie for Tom Douglas, among many others. “Working with chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs has been incredibly exciting,” says Graham. “Their artistic spirit is inspirational. The commitment they bring to their work is what we look for in every project.”
Residential projects have been an important part of the firm’s work since its founding. “From the very start, we made a commitment to maintain a balance between residential and non-residential projects,” notes Baba. “Residential design is incredibly personal. It’s the most elemental form of architecture and serves as a springboard for everything else. Working with residences allows us to explore detail and craft in greater depth. We can then bring that knowledge to our other projects.” The firm is currently at work on residences throughout the Puget Sound, in Yakima, and in Pebble Beach, California.
By 2010, the firm's work had expanded to include office space and public markets. Pybus Market in Wenatchee, completed in 2013, further solidified the firm’s expertise in creating successful public venues. “Working in smaller towns is an incredible responsibility,” notes Baba. “The lower volume of construction activity in small towns means that whatever you do will invariably have a significant impact. In big cities, the responsibility to ensure civic vitality is spread out among a lot of projects.” Cowiche Kitchen and Ice Bar, in Baba’s hometown of Yakima, received a Main Street Award for its impact in revitalizing downtown Yakima, while the Washington Fruit & Produce Co. headquarters project, also in Yakima, was recently recognized with a 2016 Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Award and a Seattle AIA Merit Award.
More recently, the firm has been sought out for its ability to provide experience design for large-scale development projects which has enabled the firm to scale-up their practice. Collaborations include work with ZGF, Kieran Timberlake, and LMN Architects (with whom they are working on the Washington State Convention Center Expansion and 4/C residential tower in Seattle). “We recently realized,” notes Baba, “that if you add up the street frontage of our civic engagement projects—work such as restaurants, retail, public markets, and so on—that it would reach over a mile in length. We were pleasantly surprised. It represents our commitment to the urban realm and the betterment of cities and communities.” Graham adds, “Working with other firms has been incredibly rewarding. We’ve been fortunate that other architects have found value in our work, and that together we are creating something special. It is a trend we hope will continue.” The firm’s recent project, Chophouse Row, designed in collaboration with SKL Architects, was a finalist for Urban Land Institute’s Global Award for Excellence, which recognizes projects for their positive civic impact.
Other current work encompass a variety of cultural and civic projects, such as the Pratt Fine Art Center, a gallery for artist Lino Tagliapietra in Seattle, the Yakima Public Plaza in collaboration with GGN, a plan for a new Madison Public Market in Madison, Wisconsin, and the adaptive reuse of an historic train station in Napa, California.
As for the future, Graham notes, “The potential for architects and designers to positively impact our world is as strong now as ever. The ongoing merger of technology and craft is providing architects with amazing opportunities to explore traditional as well as new materials. We look forward to finding ways to celebrate the craft of building and community.”
About Graham Baba
GRAHAM BABA ARCHITECTS is a Seattle-based architecture firm recognized for the successful place-making of commercial, residential, and cultural spaces. Whether enlivening an urban community or creating a quiet refuge, we strive to design venues that resonate with memory and a sense of discovery. The firm believes every project—from adaptive reuse of existing buildings to new construction—provides an opportunity to reveal and celebrate authentic materials in their natural state. The firm’s work is found across the Pacific Northwest and in California and Wisconsin. Among the firm’s notable projects are the Melrose Market, Kolstrand Building, and 325 Westlake in Seattle; Pybus Market in Wenatchee, Washington; and the Washington Fruit & Produce Co. headquarters in Yakima, Washington. Work in progress includes the studio for artist Lino Tagliapietra in Seattle and the Kenmore Community Building in Kenmore, Washington.
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