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Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, Makes A Place

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, Design Principal, Ross Barney Architects.

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, Design Principal, Ross Barney Architects.

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, is founder and Design Principal of Ross Barney Architects. Her building designs have received numerous honors including 4 Institute Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and over 30 AIA Chicago Design Awards. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and currently teaches an advanced Design Studio at IIT in addition to serving on their College Board of Overseers. Beginnings – What attracted you to architecture and how did you begin your career? Was there an influential experience, or mentor, that helped steer you toward this field? I have always aspired to be an artist and until my junior year in high school, I thought I would be a painter. But as the decision time for college grew closer, I found myself looking for a career that would let me contribute more to society…make a better place. For me, architecture was a fit and I have never looked back.
CTA Morgan Station: On an extremely restricted site, the stationhouses are woven into the dense neighborhood and stair towers serve to announce the new stop on the existing Green and Pink lines. Photo: Kate Joyce Studios

CTA Morgan Station:
On an extremely restricted site, the stationhouses are woven into the dense neighborhood and stair towers serve to announce the new stop on the existing Green and Pink lines. Photo Credit: Kate Joyce Studios

 What does “architecture culture” signify to you, and how do you go about contributing to, and/or changing, this culture? What are your hopes and dreams for the future of architecture and the built environment? My dreams are for the future of cities…places where we live together. I want to help us understand the transformative effect space has on human interaction. I want good design to be a right and not a privilege.
The Ohio State University, South Campus Chiller: situated on a major campus gateway, this iconic ‘house of energy’ has a dynamic façade that changes with the time of day, season and the location of the observer. Photo: Brad Feinknopf

The Ohio State University, South Campus Chiller:
situated on a major campus gateway, this iconic ‘house of energy’ has a dynamic façade that changes with the time of day, season and the location of the observer. Photo Credit: Brad Feinknopf

Advice for someone interested in entering an architecture-related field? The skills an architect needs are the ability to identify the essential challenge a project presents and to synthesize solutions that solve that challenge. Too many designers are distracted by inconsequential demands that are not true needs. Good design is essential and uncluttered. I would also tell them that architecture is unbelievably rewarding because it is more than a job…it is truly a vocation.
Fermilab, OTE Building:  The new 48,000 square foot Office Technical Education Building is the anchor for the Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC). The building includes a new geothermal well field  and the offices are entirely daylit providing panoramic views of Fermilab’s native prairie. Photo: Kate Joyce Studios.

Fermilab, OTE Building:
The new 48,000 square foot Office Technical Education Building is the anchor for the Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC). The building includes a new geothermal well field and the offices are entirely daylit providing panoramic views of Fermilab’s native prairie. Photo Credit: Kate Joyce Studios.

Favorite site, place, building? Why does this particular location speak to you? Tough question... ...city, definitely Paris. I didn’t know what a city could be until I was in Paris as an architecture student. …building, Inland Steel. I had my studio in Inland Steel for many years. I moved there because I loved the building in its context. I like the honesty and creativity of its materials and details. Inside our office the intimate floor plate and full glazing created a true city space. Relevant Links - Carol Ross Barney profile in the BWAF Dynamic National Archive - Carol Ross Barney biography at Ross Barney Architects - Carol Ross Barney on Wikipedia -  An interview with Carol Ross Barney, with Lynn Becker - Oral history project with Carol Ross Barney (videos) - ArchDaily: Fermilab Office and Technical Education Building / Ross Barney Architects

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