Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, has been in the vanguard of civic space design since founding Ross Barney Architects in 1981. With a career that spans over 40 years, Carol has made significant contributions to the built environment, the profession, and architectural education. As an architect, urbanist, mentor, and educator, she has relentlessly advocated that excellent design is a right, not a privilege. Her body of work occupies a unique place within the panorama of contemporary architecture, being exclusively composed of work in the public realm.
Carol’s projects vary in type and scale, but uphold a deep commitment to the role architecture plays in life quality. This has manifest itself in spaces that transition urban dwellers from point A to point B and enrich the metropolitan experience; to buildings that are environmental stewards, showcasing sustainability in an overtly compelling way; to spaces that inspire young children and the brightest minds of tomorrow to learn, invent, and break boundaries.
Ross Barney is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Following graduation, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica planning national parks. She teaches an advanced Design Studio at IIT and serves on their College Board of Overseers.
Carol’s work has been honored with over 100 design awards, including four national AIA Institute Honor Awards, over 40 AIA Chicago Awards, two AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Project Awards, the AIA’s Thomas Jefferson award for Public Architecture and the AIA Illinois Gold Medal.
For nearly two decades, Carol’s studio has been working along Chicago’s Rivers. These efforts include the design of the Chicago Riverwalk and studies on all one-hundred- and-fifty- miles of riverfront across the city. The goal: reconnect people with the dynamic and changing life of the City’s natural resources.
Other Notable projects include the Bloomingdale / 606 Trail Master Plan, CTA Cermak- McCormick Place and Morgan Street Stations, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, James I Swenson Civil Engineering Building, Oklahoma City Federal Building and design of schools for Chicago and communities across the country.
Randy Blankenhorn has served as Illinois Transportation Secretary under Gov. Bruce Rauner since 2015. A lifelong Illinois resident, Blankenhorn leads an agency of 10 offices that serve the transportation needs of the state across multiple modes, in rural, suburban and urban environments. He oversees a $3 billion operating budget that supports a workforce of 4,800 employees, with annual oversight of more than $3.4 billion in capital projects. During his time as the head of the agency, IDOT has embraced new approaches and developed new strategies to investing in infrastructure. He led the first reorganization in several decades to make IDOT more efficient, improve customer service, integrate safety throughout the agency and instill a multimodal approach in all planning and programming activities.