Noted Chicago architect wins Marcus Prize, to lead design studio at UWM

American architect and MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang, founding principal of Studio Gang, has been awarded the seventh Marcus Prize, an architectural prize offered worldwide to recognize an emerging global talent whose work is on a “trajectory to greatness.”

The biennial $100,000 award is funded by the Marcus Corporation Foundation and administered by the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UWM. The prize money also supports a 2018 design studio for UWM architecture students that will be led by Gang and a faculty member from the architecture school.

The photo of the tower from below shows its undulating waves of balconies.
Architect Jeanne Gang’s design for the 82-story Aqua Tower in Chicago captures elements of nature and fosters social interaction.

Nominations came from 16 countries on four continents, all of whom were required to demonstrate at least 10 years of proven exceptional practice. Past winners have represented a range of cultures. This year, the judges, who included Robert Greenstreet, dean of UWM’s the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, chose an American for only the second time since the competition began in 2005.

Gang’s body of work spread beyond architecture’s conventional boundaries to pursuits ranging from developing stronger materials to fostering stronger communities. Her approach has resulted in buildings such as Chicago’s 82-story Aqua Tower and Writers Theatre, in Glencoe, Ill.

A distinguished alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gang was named the 2016 Architect of the Year by the Architectural Review. She is author of “Reverse Effect: Renewing Chicago’s Waterways,” which envisions a radically greener future for the Chicago River.

“The Marcus Prize is a part of our ongoing commitment to support the growth and development of Milwaukee,” said Steve Marcus, CEO of Marcus Corp. and a director of the Marcus Corporation Foundation, adding that excellence in design has a large impact on the reputation of the city.

This photo shows the theater building lighted up at night.
Gang created this design for the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill.

The 2015 Marcus Prize winner was New York-based architect Joshua Prince Ramus, best known for his work on the Seattle Central Library and the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas.

In the fall 2016 course led by Prince Ramus, and co-taught by Matt Jarosz and Gil Snyder, students reimagined uses for the U.S. Postal Service’s downtown facility on St. Paul Avenue in Milwaukee. Two years ago, the massive building was bought by a Chicago real estate developer attracted to its central location and more than nine acres of riverfront.

Past Marcus Prize winners also have included Sou Fujimoto (Japan), Diebedo Francis Kere (Burkina Faso), Alejandro Aravena (Chile), Frank Barkow (Germany) and Winy Maas (The Netherlands).

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