Architect Talk: Ralph Johnson's Chicago
Join us for an evening with Perkins&Will principal and design director Ralph Johnson, recipient of the 2022 AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award. Over a half-century at Perkins&Will, Johnson has produced defining buildings of the era while mentoring architecture's next generation.
Johnson's work is rooted in Modernism, while paying close attention to context—a layering of the practical into the artistic, as he says. He is a lifelong Chicagoan with deep knowledge of place. He is also an extremely thoughtful designer and a student of architectural history and theory. Johnson has deftly carried forth Perkins&Will’s legacy of treating architecture as a social art, which began with the firm’s revolutionary school designs of the 1950s.
In this talk and interview, Johnson will reveal his collaborative design process and highlight key projects over the course of an illustrious career. In Chicago, these include sculptural residential towers Skybridge and Contemporaine, pathbreaking hospitals like Rush University Medical Center and office towers such as the former Boeing Building. Cultural and government buildings have also been his specialty, many blending with their topography, including the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Shanghai Natural History Museum and the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C..
AIA/CES Credits: 1 LU
Presenter: Ralph Johnson, FAIA, LEED AP®
Ralph Johnson is a Principal and Design Director in the Chicago office of Perkins&Will. He has been with the firm since 1976. His projects have received more than 70 design awards, including nine national Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects. Johnson's work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Paris Biennale and the São Paulo Biennale and published in architectural journals around the world. Ralph has lectured at numerous universities and was a visiting critic at the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was honored as a member of the National Academy in 2015 – one of the highest honors in American art and architecture. Most recently, Johnson received the 2022 AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award. This important recognition honors those who have made a lasting impact on the practice, the profession, and the built environment.
Moderator: David Rader, LEED AP
David is an architectural designer with a passion for improving urban environments, with experience in design, documentation, and detailing through a variety of projects ranging in markets and scales. His interests in higher education and urban design culminated in David’s graduate thesis, titled Public Infrastructure, and completed with Dean Sarah Whiting at Rice University. This project proposed a partnership between two public entities—the Los Angeles Community College District and LA Metro—to develop a new campus typology which is integrated with transit and extends public space in urban environments. David is passionate about leadership and investing in others. David co-founded a student mentorship program at the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Architecture which facilitated engagement between students and architectural professionals.