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Traffic alert: During the busy Chicago Air & Water Show weekend, all CAC tours and events will begin on time as scheduled. We recommend that you allow extra time prior to your arrival for any scheduled CAC tour or event.

The doors to Chicago’s finest places and spaces don’t unlock themselves. This year, we’re introducing you to the passionate, enthusiastic people helping us put Open House Chicago 2016 together.

Tom Kerwin is the Founder and Principal of bKL Architecture LLC. Designed in 2012, the bKL Chicago Studio is a 12,000-square-foot open office space located within Aqua Tower. That puts it just steps away from some of the firm’s most exciting projects in Lakeshore East, such as GEMS World Academy and the 47-story residential skyscraper known as Coast. 

What is your favorite part about this site? Why should people see it?

bKL’s studio is a very open and collaborative space; it’s this openness that encourages design dialogue and forward-thinking ideas. The studio also becomes a gallery of our current and past projects, in which we invite people to explore—including models of 200 N. Michigan, Wolf Point West, GEMS World Academy and 165 W. Superior. 

What do you love about Open House Chicago?

I love the fact that Open House Chicago engages the public in our profession of architecture and design. OHC has become the quintessential event for our city in terms of the overarching appreciation of our profession and what design and architecture entails. Architecture is the most public of art forms and engaging the public in dialogue about what we’re doing is important.

What was your favorite OHC experience?

I’ve had several. Probably one of the most memorable was visiting the Second Presbyterian Church on South Michigan Avenue. It’s a structure that I had driven by numerous times but never walked in. I was astounded by the quality of the interiors of that church.