"Attending the University of Illinois School of Architecture not only prepared me for my career in the building profession, it shaped the path of my career.  I have always had a love of buildings, and knew that I wanted to have a career in architecture.  The School of Architecture gave me an excellent education in architecture, and also exposed me to another side of the building profession – structural engineering.  As a result, I graduated with a bachelors’ degree in architecture, and a masters degree in architecture from the school’s Structures Option.  The program’s flexibility gave me the ability to explore my true passion within architecture, and to enter the building profession as a structural engineer.  Today, as a senior structural engineer at SOM, I feel fortunate that I was able to attend such a school, as my education provided an excellent foundation for my role as a structural engineer within an A/E firm."

James J. Pawlikowski, SE, LEED AP

Associate Director
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Chicago, IL

Skidmore, Owings, & Merril LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban-planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.



Burj Khalifa
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opened 2010

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
Currently under construction; scheduled to open in 2015

OKO Tower
Plot 16 in Moscow International Business Centre
Moscow, Russia
Currently under construction; scheduled to open in 2015

Tower Palace III
Seoul, Korea
Opened 2003

Muqarnas Tower
King Abdullah Financial District
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Currently under construction; scheduled to open in 2013


"The University of Illinois School of Architecture is one of our top recruiting targets every year.  We have a number of graduates in our office, and we know the value they can bring."

We hire individuals from all of the graduate options, but as hiring director for our structural engineering group I focus on those graduating from the Structures Option.  Illinois Structures Option graduates are uniquely poised to contribute to the building profession, in that they have been trained as structural engineers and as architects.  The result is an engineering graduate who understands architecture - this is a very attractive quality for engineering firms.  Additionally, this gives Illinois graduates an advantage in the workplace over engineering-only degrees in that Illinois graduates are better prepared to contribute quickly, and they have a better understanding of buildings and the building profession.  This is a tribute to the flexibility of the program to provide such a degree, and also to the overall strength of the School.