2021 Year in Review: Big Opportunities and Big Ideas

After 2020 brought such a challenging and introspective year, it didn’t take long for 2021 to present opportunities to act on some of the lessons learned last year. On a whole range of topics, FitzGerald’s designers and architects embraced new ideas that will shape our future work:

World-Class Sustainability & Wellness in Market-Driven Multifamily Development

This spring, FitzGerald was tapped to design Unity Place, a competition entry for an unprecedented carbon-neutral, net-zero-energy, mixed-income development for downtown Chicago that would achieve world-class building performance and wellness outcomes while simultaneously meeting the needs of private-sector developers. 

From solar orientation and natural ventilation to high-performance systems and heavy timber high-rise structure, we see these ideas as one potential future for healthy, sustainable, buildable multifamily development.

Making Affordable Housing More Affordable to Develop and Build
Selecting the right design and construction team can go a long way to alleviate some of the challenges around the affordability of affordable housing. FitzGerald worked closely with trusted partners in development, finance, and construction to narrow in on some key principles our teams focus on to ensure the best possible results

Conversion of Downtown Office Buildings to Residential Use

It’s no secret that the demand for large swaths of office space has experienced major changes in the last 24 months. Some owners and investors are seeing opportunities to adapt existing commercial buildings into new multifamily properties–such as Millennium on LaSalle, which was completed this year.

FitzGerald’s vice president, Rick Whitney, spoke with Bisnow about developers’ growing interest in these complex conversions

Where is Workplace Design Headed?

In today’s market, positioning the workplace to be Supportive, Healthy, Flexible, and Smart is key to attracting and retaining top talent. FitzGerald has been engaged in a number of workplace designs this year, including over 440,000 square feet of space across several facilities and states for online retailer Chewy; a new office, showroom, and warehouse for Guardian Equipment, and our own new office and studio in Chicago’s Loop.

In 2022, FitzGerald–along with industry partners across design and construction–will roll out some big ideas about how a company can update and renew their workplace to bolster employee enthusiasm for the office, and how property owners should reconfigure spec suites to attract corporate tenants as the commercial real estate market continues to evolve in response to new demands. Make sure you follow us on social media and stay tuned for more details!

Changes for a new century of FitzGerald

After 21 years, the time had come to bid farewell to our West Loop home. So much was accomplished there, and so many memories. We’ll once again thank our fearless leader, Pat FitzGerald, for his foresight in placing a bet on the future of that neighborhood. In doing so, we had a place to grow our firm, and a generation of architects and designers as well. 

Our move to 200 West Adams Street gave us the chance to be our own client, for a change, and call on our workplace design experts to craft a new studio for ourselves. Since we sat on both sides of the table, we decided to publish our thoughts along the way:

Why move? How have our needs changed?
Hybrid Work: How will we utilize our new space? 
Designing for designers: supportive, flexible, smart, and healthy spaces

We are now happily working in our beautiful new studio and as the finishing touches get completed (global supply chain bottlenecks are no joke!) we’re looking forward to sharing the terrific outcome of a year’s worth of planning, design, and construction. Stay tuned for more updates!

New Look, Growing Team
As if moving wasn’t enough, FitzGerald also took on a rebranding effort, designing our latest brand identity in-house and launching the new look alongside our new office this past November.

Complimenting the new space and new look was some major growth of our leadership and staff. Kathy Graham, our Chief Operating Officer, and Kristen Larkin, ASID, WELL AP, our Interior Design Director, were both elevated to Principal and became the first non-architects, and the first women, to become equity partners in the firm’s 103-year history.

Also this year, Adam Berkelhamer, AIA joined the firm as an Associate Principal. He is based in the Denver area and has become FitzGerald’s local presence as the firm expands to focus on the Denver/Boulder markets.

We’ve also experienced unprecedented growth in our staff, with the addition of thirteen architects and designers! Senior Associate Erin Foster, IIDA; Associates Sophie Klippstein NCIDQ, RIDEric Thompson, and Carla Turk; and Junior Associates Amy BaranDarius GreenleafMegan KaczinskiBrianna KucharskiJonathon OliveraTaylor ProctorLuis Salgado, and Farid Zerbo all joined the firm this year, expanding our collective knowledge, broadening our points of view, and contributing their unique talents to our firm culture and our clients’ projects. Also this year, staff members advanced into new roles: Me’osha Solsberry NOMA, CSI-EP was named an Associate, and Rachel Whelan was named Marketing & Visualization Associate. You can read more about our terrific staff on our website.

Holiday Schedule

Project Accomplishments

Kenzie Senior Residences, Mt. Prospect, IL: Grand Opening
Millennium on LaSalle, Chicago, IL: Grand Opening
Orion ParkView Clubhouse, Mount Prospect, IL: Construction Complete
Artis Senior Living, Wilmette, IL: Construction Complete
Ravinia Crossing, Highland Park, IL: Construction Complete
Chewy Corporate Headquarters Expansions, FL & MA: Construction Ongoing
Inspire West Town, Chicago, IL: Topped Out
The Artisan in Circle Square, Cleveland, OH: Groundbreaking
Salvation Army Western Division Camp, South Sioux City, NE: Groundbreaking (Video)