Meet the 2018 Jury
Paola Aguirre Serrano
BORDERLESS | Founder
Paola Aguirre Serrano is the founder of BORDERLESS—Chicago-based urban design and research studio focused on cultivating collaborative design agency through interdisciplinary projects. With emphasis on exchange and communication across disciplines, Borderless explores creative city design and civic engagement proposals that address the complexity of urban systems and social equity by looking at intersections between architecture, urban design, infrastructure, landscape, planning and civic participatory processes. Paola is also an active educator, and currently teaches architecture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has taught urban design at the Sam Fox School of Design Washington University in St. Louis and Social Impact Design at Archeworks.
Jose L. Espejo
Studio ARQ | Project Manager
Mr. Espejo currently oversees Studio ARQ’s residential department, as well as performing project management various commercial and municipal projects. These projects have included upgrades to existing facilities and buildings. His work has supervised various types of architectural projects with diligence and able to work with differ types of clients requirements with efficiency. He has taken projects from design concept, through detailed drawings engineering, field startups, permitting, scheduling, construction administration and project completion. Mr. Espejo joined Studio ARQ in 2012. Jose Espejo is currently on the board of Arquitectos –The Society of Hispanic Professional Architects
City of Chicago | Department of Planning and Development
Eleanor Esser Gorski, AIA, is Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Planning, Historic Preservation and Sustainability at the City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development. This bureau coordinates the City’s multi-disciplinary planning and design efforts across departments. Ms. Gorski has managed city review and financial assistance for hundreds of residential and commercial project for the City, notably adaptive reuse of architecturally significant loop office buildings. She also oversees equity-based city planning to increase economic development and the integration of sustainable practice into each project.
Current projects underway in the bureau include architectural projects such as the ongoing renovation of Wrigley Field and the construction of the Obama Presidential Center; planning initiatives including the Industrial Corridor Modernization program for the city’s 26 industrial corridors and neighborhood planning for Pilsen and the West Loop; and sustainability projects such as new river edge design guidelines.
A licensed architect, Ms. Gorski received degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the Pennsylvania State University. She is a Fellow both of the American Academy in Rome as well as the University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy.
LISC Chicago | Executive Director
Meghan Harte serves as the executive director of the Chicago office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). A national leader in comprehensive community development, LISC with residents and partners, forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America –great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Meghan oversees a professional staff of 14, an active real estate loan portfolio, and an annual organizational budget of $8 million.
Prior to joining LISC Chicago, Meghan served as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Chief of Staff.Previous to working in the Mayor’s office, Meghan was Vice President at AECOM. She also served as the Managing Director of Resident Services for the Chicago Housing Authority.
Meghan served as a deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and held positions surrounding the 1996 Democratic National Convention and the 2012 NATO Host Committee.
Meghan holds a B.S. degree from Vanderbilt University and received her JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She serves on the Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and is a volunteer coach at ABC Pilsen.
Public Building Commission of Chicago |
Deputy Director of Planning & Design
Kerl is an active member of the American Institute of Architects along with the Illinois Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects. He completed his studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds dual BARCH degrees in Architectural Design and Engineering Structures. Kerl has had long term involvements with the Alumni Constituent Board of the College of Architecture, followed by his appointments to the UIC CAAB and subsequently to the UIAA Board of Directors (UIAA). Currently he serves as chair of the Operations Committee; previously, Kerl served nearly 10+ years as chair of the Board’s Awards and Recognition Committee. Through his volunteer positions and his involvement in many core programs of the UIAA and University, he brings a unique alumni perspective to this search committee.
Farpoint Development | Director of Development
Elle Ramel is the Director of Development at Farpoint Development. She helps to project manage the redevelopment of the Michael Reese Hospital site in Chicago. Prior to this position, she led strategic partnerships at City Tech Collaborative, the smart city lab of Chicago, and an Economic Policy Associate in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at the City of Chicago. She has worked on financial issues and economic development, including infrastructure, corporate recruitment, job growth, sustainability, food business, innovation spaces and land use. She completed her bachelor’s at Yale University in Urban Studies and a master’s degree at Cambridge University in Land Economics/Town Planning. She also co-founded City Open Workshop- a bi-monthly forum designed to bring architects and planners to assist communities with design capabilities.
As a Principal with Camiros, Adam Rosa, AICP has 20 years of experience in creating implementable plans focused on placemaking and improving existing neighborhoods. In his work with communities nationwide, Adam continuously strives to generate creative ideas and solutions that capture the culture, spirit and potential of local residents. Adam has taken an active role in focusing on youth engagement as a key element of community planning and has presented on this topic at recent state and national conferences. Adam has been honored as one of NextCity’s 40-under-40 Vanguard and has recently been inducted into Lambda Alpha International for his work in neighborhood planning and revitalization.
Sharon M. Samuels | Designer. Architect. Artist.
Sharon M. Samuels is a Chicago based Architect and Designer with over 15 years of design experience. In 2008, she launched SolQuest Design Unlimited, a full-service architecture and design firm. She has expanded her career universe by branching into film,television and stage working as a production and set designer. To date, Sharon has worked as a production and set designer on a variety of projects from major studio feature films to small stage plays. In her free time, Sharon is an accomplished endurance athlete. She completed a dozen marathons and accomplished one of her bucket list goals by completing an Ironman in 2015.
Perkins + Will
Douglas A. Smith, AIA, AICP, Managing Principal with Perkins+Will Chicago’s office, has over 30 years of experience in architecture, design and planning. Doug has managed a wide range of project types from architectural to urban mixed-use development planning in the U.S. and internationally. Many of his projects have won both local and national design awards from the AIA, ASLA, APA and Congress for the New Urbanism. Doug’s primary experience includes office, hotel, retail, residential, transportation facilities, urban design and strategic redevelopment planning with expertise in complex mixed-use urban design. His extensive portfolio overseas allows him to leverage a broad range of best practices and a keen understanding of cultural, market and geographic context.