"Perhaps the greatest influence that the Illinois School of Architecture had on me was to instill in me an appreciation for good design and a realization of the rigorous effort that is required to produce it. I had a wonderful teacher, Professor Bill Eng, who kept pushing me to do better work. When I’d present him with some undeveloped idea, he would respond, “I’m not so sure, why don’t you mock it up in 3D and see what happens?” Of course, I soon realized that he was right. Better results would eventually come, but only after numerous studies and continuous effort."
Holabird & Root is an architectural/engineering firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm was established in 1880 as Holabird & Roche, which in the late 1920s became Holabird & Root. Today the office has enjoyed over 130 years of continuous practice as it continues to be a vital force in the region. Throughout this time it has maintained its reputation of producing beautifully designed, well-crafted and enduring buildings. The 60-person office includes Architecture, Structural Engineering, Interior Design, and Graphic Design. The firm works on a large range of project types including, academic buildings, cultural institutions, historic renovations, and multifamily housing. Its reputation for design excellence continues to be recognized by the many awards and prestigious commissions that it receives. In addition to awards recognizing individual projects, Holabird & Root received the National AIA Firm of the Year Award in 1983, the Chicago Firm of the Year Award in 2000, and the Illinois Firm of the Year Award in 2004. These awards recognize the firms successful evolution since its founding as a continuing force in practice.
As the firm’s Senior Project Designer, James Baird is dedicated to Holabird & Root’s long-standing commitment to create lasting buildings that evolve naturally from the site and program. His design philosophy begins with an understanding that lasting architecture is not a matter of stylistic preference. James believes the design process should begin with a careful examination of the unique requirements of each problem, develop in close collaboration with the users, and end with a fully integrated building.
The American Institute of Architects elevated him to its College of Fellows for his significant contributions to the profession in the area of design. His work and contributions have been prominently featured in several design publications such as Architectural Record, Architecture, Contract Design, and Progressive Architecture.