Jeanne Gang, a Chicago architect and a 2011 Fast Company Master of Design, has won a prestigious MacArthur fellowship, the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation announced today. The grant comes with $500,000. Gang, is the principal and founder of Chicago’s Studio Gang.
Jeanne Gang is an architect challenging the aesthetic and technical possibilities of the art form in a wide range of structures. Always responsive to the specific geography, social and environmental context, and purpose of each project, Gang creates bold yet functional forms for residential, educational, and commercial buildings.
Gang, 47, is most famous for designing the 82-story Aqua tower in Chicago. With a stunning concrete facade that looks like waves frozen in time. But more than a pretty face, it’s a monument to innovative green design. Features included heat-resistant and fritted glass, rainwater collection, and energy-saving lighting.
Even the facade, which looks like a pure formal exercise, was carved to mind the angles of the sun, creating a natural shading system. Gang’s genius is in dreaming up environmentally minded solutions that go beyond solar panels and a few low-flush toilets. In her words: “What we’re really good at is looking at the big picture of a problem and not just thinking of it as a building.”