Chicago’s Architectural Genius Wins Grant

September 21, 2011

A Chicago architect has been named one of 22 MacArthur Foundation Fellows for 2011, all chosen for their innovative contributions to design and technology.

jeanne gang builds a model building

Chicago's own Jeanne Gang.

Chicago’s own Jeanne Gang, 47, is the first architect in 11 years to win a Genius Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Each Genius Grant winner will receive $500,000 over the next five years with no strings attached.

Gang, who founded Studio Gang Architects in 1997, is best known for her design of the award-winning Aqua Tower, a curvaceous skyscraper of mixed-use Chicago real estate on North Columbus Drive that offers a mix of luxury condos for sale and rent, office and retail space, and a hotel.

aqua tower

The architecturally unique Aqua Tower.

The Foundation calls Gang an “Architect integrating conventional materials, striking yet functional designs, and ecologically friendly technology in bold structures that challenge the aesthetic and technical possibilities of the art form.”

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation chose the grant recipients “for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.”

“This has been a year of great change and extraordinary challenge, and we are once again reminded of the potential individuals have to make a difference in the world and shape our future,” said Robert Gallucci, President of the MacArthur Foundation.

“The MacArthur Fellows exemplify how individual creativity and talent can spark new insights and ideas in every imaginable field of human endeavor.”

Among this year’s Fellows are a cellist, a developmental biologist, a radio producer, a neurologist, a conservator, a poet, a geneticist, a parasitologist and a public historian.

And, an innovative Chicago architect.

To learn more about this year’s grant recipients, visit

Congratulations to all the Fellow winners, especially Chicago’s own Jeanne Gang!

Categories: Awards, Featured

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