Residential Architect Stuart Cohen, FAIA, Is Named AIA Chicago’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago Board of Directors has named Stuart Cohen, FAIA, as the 2021 recipient of the organization’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Cohen, whose work spans six decades and has been published and exhibited around the globe, will be honored on Friday, October 15, at Designight 2021, Chicago’s premier architectural celebration.  

 Cohen has had a multi-faceted career, with ground-breaking research and writing informing his practice of architecture. He co-curated the influential 1976 exhibition, “Chicago Architects,” which transformed the accepted viewpoint of the city’s architectural history to make it broader and more inclusive. He co-founded the Chicago Seven, a group of architects who were pushing against the status quo of modernism. 

From 1973 to 2002, Cohen served as a professor of architecture at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), and has guest lectured at Harvard University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Notre Dame, among many others. He is currently a professor of architecture emeritus at UIC and was elevated into the AIA College of Fellows in 1985. 

“Stuart is a humane, brilliant and complex individual,” said Dan Wheeler, FAIA, founding principal of Wheeler Kearns Architects. “He has contributed greatly to myriad facets of international architectural discourse and education.”  

The firm, Cohen and Hacker Architects, LLC, founded with Julie Hacker, FAIA in 1988 and based in Evanston, Ill., has received numerous awards for design excellence and has been recognized by publications and organizations that include Architectural Digest, Town and Country, Progressive ArchitectureInteriors, HGTV, the American Wood Council and the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.  

Additionally, Cohen has written four books on the history of Chicago architecture, including his latest, “Frank L. Wright and the Architects of Steinway Hall: A Study in Collaboration.”  

“Both this body of work and his most recent books on the lesser-known aspects of Chicago’s history of residential architecture have continued to inform our understanding of what Chicago architecture was and can become, said Ralph Johnson, FAIA, principal and design director at Perkins&Will. 

“Architecture: making it, discussing it, as well as teaching and writing about it, has been my lifelong passion,” Cohen said. “I am deeply honored that AIA Chicago has included me in the list of distinguished architects who have contributed to both our built environment and to our understanding of it. Architecture is a collaborative art. I am forever in debt to my original teachers; my teaching colleagues; my professional partner and wife; those who have contributed to the work of my practice; and my family.” 

In receiving AIA Chicago’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Cohen joins such architecture luminaries as Phillip C. Johnson, FAIA, John Syversten, FAIA, Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, Peter Landon, FAIA, Stanley Tigerman, FAIA, Ben Weese, FAIA, Helmut Jahn, FAIA, Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, FAIA, and Natalie De Blois, FAIA. 

For more information on how to attend Designight 2021 where Cohen will be honored along with the winners of the Design Excellence Awards, the Small Project Awards, and the Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award, please visit 


The American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago) is the collective voice of 4,000 architects in Chicago. As one of the largest AIA chapters in the country, AIA Chicago builds on the city’s architectural legacy by advocating for the profession, sharing knowledge among members, and partnering with communities. The chapter provides continuing education programs; numerous award programs; specialized issue-specific Knowledge Communities; help for clients looking for an architect; and an in-house magazine, Chicago Architect. As a resource for its members in service to society, AIA Chicago fosters a culture of design excellence for equitable, sustainable places and spaces. 

For more information on AIA Chicago, please visit 

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