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September 2017 – Morgante Wilson Architects Names Three New Partners as Firm Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Evanston, Ill.-based Morgante Wilson Architects, a leading national residential architecture and interior design firm, has announced that long-time employees and associate principals John Potter, K. Tyler and Bob Zuber have been made partners. The announcement comes as Morgante Wilson Architects (MWA), which was founded by husband-wife team and co-principals Fred Wilson and Elissa Morgante, celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.

“As Fred and I built our business over the last three decades, so much of our success has stemmed from our incredibly dedicated and talented team,” said Morgante. “John, K. and Bob, in particular, have all been tremendous leaders and instrumental in helping us become the company we are today. Naming them as partners as we celebrate our 30th anniversary is the perfect testament to the important role they have played in getting us here.”

“Thinking ahead to the future of Morgante Wilson Architects, it was a natural step for us to make some of our most trusted employees our first-ever partners,” added Wilson. “We are excited for our next chapter as we work together to grow our firm and continue our reputation for delivering excellent designs and a truly collaborative experience for our clients.”

According to Morgante and Wilson, the three new partners also represent the firm’s comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to design, which includes expertise in architecture, interior architecture, interior design and furniture design. All three have worked on not only the luxury private residences and vacation homes the firm is known for, but also commercial projects, including partnering with some of Chicago’s top developers such as Fifield Realty Corp. to design high-end multifamily interiors.

“In recent years, as John, K. and Bob have taken on additional leadership in their respective specialties, it has allowed us to pursue new opportunities for our firm,” said Wilson. “Their involvement will continue to be key in shaping the company in the years ahead.”

John Potter, 49, joined MWA in 1997 as a project manager. He has worked with clients on private residences located across the country, including in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan as well as the Virgin Islands. He has also been involved with most of the firm’s commercial, multi-use and multifamily projects, and is actively involved in marketing the firm. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., and Boston, he earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Potter is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is licensed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is also active with Inspiration Corporation, a group that helps people affected by homelessness and poverty, and was recently named to the organization’s board of directors.

A 10-year veteran of MWA, K. Tyler, 45, launched the firm’s interiors department with Elissa Morgante in 2007, expanding the richness and scope of the company’s work while also providing a valuable add-on service to clients. Tyler now leads interior design work spanning primary and vacation residences; private offices; and multifamily common areas, amenity suites and unit interiors. Prior to joining MWA, Tyler was a senior merchandise manager for Baker Furniture and a buyer for the home décor division of Neiman Marcus Direct. She transitioned to the interior design and furnishings industry after spending several years as a CPA/auditor for Price Waterhouse Coopers. Tyler received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern Methodist University in 1994, and later went on to earn a degree in interior design from Chicago’s Harrington College of Design in 2007. An Allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Tyler is a new member of the Women’s Club of Evanston and is also the fundraising co-chair of the philanthropic arm of the Delta Chi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Bob Zuber, 44, has been with MWA more than 19 years, joining the firm in 1998 after moving to Chicago and following a short tenure with the architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz. Skilled in a variety of design styles, Zuber, an AIA member, works closely with every architectural project manager and the associated project teams at MWA. In his role as senior designer, he collaborates on projects at all stages, from early schematic design on. He is also involved in hiring and employee professional development, and heads the company’s mentor/mentee program. A native of Assumption, Ill., Zuber attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in architectural studies, and a Master of Architecture degree. He is active in volunteering, with a focus on organizations serving those impacted by AIDS/HIV. 

About Morgante Wilson Architects:
Morgante Wilson Architects, Ltd. is an architecture, interior design and urban planning firm specializing in residential and commercial design, as well as LEED certification. Founded in 1987, Morgante Wilson Architects has designed innumerable projects throughout Chicago, the Midwest and the country. Morgante Wilson has received AIA Chicago’s prestigious “Young Architect Award,” AIA Special Recognition Award for Interiors, as well as awards for several historic rehabilitation projects. The firm’s work has been featured in an array of noteworthy publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune to Traditional Home, while its projects have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Architectural Foundation and the Chicago Athenaeum. Morgante Wilson Architects has a growing online presence with its highly read blog, “Show & Live Well,” and received the "Best of Houzz” award in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 in the design category. For more information on the company, visit To learn more about Morgante Wilson Architects’ projects and approach to design, visit its blog, “Show & Live Well,” at


May 2017 – Steve Clem, ASID, FAIA, Principal - tvsdesign

Mr. Clem was recently named the 2017 Designer of Distinction by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Presented annually, this award honors an ASID professional member who has established a body of superior work demonstrating creativity, excellence, and innovation. This is the premier award for personal achievement and social consciousness in the interior design profession.


May 2017 – Gregório Zolko

He graduated in 1955 and came back to his home country in São Paulo, Brazil, where he worked for one year in the office of architect Gregori Warchavchik, then considered the founder of modern architecture in this country. In 1956, he set up his office going into private practice. In 1958 he won a national design competition against 222 entries, for the State of Rio Grande do Sul Parliamentary building which was constructed in the city of Porto Alegre. The same year, his office designed the first Radio and TV station in São Paulo, for which he later received a special recognition, as a building to be preserved.

Meanwhile, Mr. Zolko took in as partner a German architect, Wolfgang Schoedon, and together they designed over 50 industrial plants including some multinational as Philco Ford, Siemens, and Amortex of Germany and Legrand, French. They were also contracted by Chase Manhattan Bank to remodel some 26 branches as well as office buildings in the cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba. They also were contracted by Bank of America to design their offices in São Paulo. Many of these projects and others where published in books and magazines.

In 1980, he received the visit of then dean of the School of Architecture, Robert Link, who convinced his daughter Karen to study architecture at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  After she graduated, she became his partner and also responsible for some of the projects mentioned above. At 85 years old, he still comes daily to the office.

Of his generation, he was able to meet many local architects because for two terms, he was elected director of the Brazilian Institute of Architects. While Karen was in Champaign, on a visit to their daughter, he gave a lecture about Brazilian architecture as well as his work.  He also had a chance to meet Mies Van Der Rohe when he came to São Paulo, and also Frank Lloyd Wright, during a lecture he gave at the school in the 50´s. To conclude, "I am sure I owe the University of Illinois School of Architecture for having had a successful career."

Class of 1955 picture: Mr. Zolko is third row, bottom to top, second from the right to left.


April 2017 – Rose Grant, AIA, has been named the 2017 Chair of the AIA Disaster Assistance Committee. In addition Rose will be moderating a panel at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando at the end of the month.  The session is: “What Architects Need to Know About Disasters and Risk Reduction” and will be held on April 28 2017 at 7:00 AM.   


April 2017 - Kevin W. Harkins, RA - Building ONE Consulting, LLC

Mr. Harkins is a 1991 and 1993 graduate in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He started a consulting firm 11 years ago and now has an office in Denver and Boston. He pursued a non-traditional role in architecture that of a construction consultant and an owners representative. His firm provides these services as well as building envelope consulting and accessibility consulting. All of their work has a sustainability component to it whether it be in an established certification or simply the process of building with a longer useful life in mind.

Students are well prepared to enter industry after the degree program he was in. However, they should also be taking classes in business, finance, and economics.  Many architects become sole practitioners or work in small firms and need the ability to wear many different hats as part of their career. 

Mr. Harkins lives in the Denver suburbs with his wife and two children.


April 2017 - Larry Friedberg, FAIA - State Architect, Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration

Mr. Friedberg transferred to the U of I in 1970 after Ohio University lost it's accreditation in architecture, and then graduated in 1973 in the first 4-year degree program. (I had the privilege of being a student in Professor Warfield's first design studio).

He then worked with Irv Shwartz, Lebbeus Woods, George Turner and Harold Young  at IDS in Champaign for 5 years. Some of his projects were the former Champaign Public Library, Katsina's Restaurant remodel and addition and Dooley's Disco.

He then worked at SOM in Chicago for 2 years on several projects for the Shaw of Iran until he was over thrown and the projects including a new town, a Disney World like amusement park and an Air Force Academy were all shut down in various stages of design.

In 1979 he moved to Denver and worked for ten years for three different architectural firms that all eventually fell victim to the economic downturn during the eighties.

In 1989 he became the In-house Architect at the University of Colorado Hospital at Denver and stayed for five years.

In 1994 he took a job with Colorado State government in Denver.  He eventually recreated that job and established through legislation, the Office of the State Architect responsible for state funded capital construction at state agencies and institutions of higher education. 

In January of 2017, he was elected to the AIA College of Fellows, and will receive his Fellowship medal at the Investiture Ceremony in Orlando on April 28, 2017. 


April 2017 - Robert Ousterhout

After retiring from the Illinois School of Architecture in 2006, he is retiring once and for all in June 2017. Here are some catch-up links of recent activities:


February 2017 - 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.


February 2017 - 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.

For further information contact:

Matt Anderson