"The architecture is an excellent and deft blend of design that is both rich yet restrained, contemporary yet referential, and powerful yet understated."

Award Jury


AIA Chicago “Firm Award”


Nagle Hartray was selected by the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects as a recipient of the Firm Award. Submittals for the award were judged by architects from the Boston AIA. Jurors praised Nagle Hartray for demonstrating "...a consistent level of quality throughout the practice of the firm. The architecture is an excellent and deft blend of design that is both rich yet restrained, contemporary yet referential, and powerful yet understated."

The annual AIA Chicago Firm Award — often referred to as the "Firm of the Year" award — is the highest honor the Chapter bestows on an architecture firm. The Firm of the Year Award was established in 1991 to recognize a single firm’s outstanding achievements, consistent excellence, and ongoing contributions to the advancement of the architectural profession.

"It's a good choice." Wrote the Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer Prize winning critic Blair Kamin. "This is one of the medium-sized firms that makes Chicago's architecture scene so strong. Its lineage stretches back to the office of the late Harry Weese. So does its appreciation of quirkiness and sophisticated contextualism."

Principals Jim Nagle, FAIA; Jack Hartray, FAIA; Dirk Danker, AIA; Howard Kagan, AIA; Don McKay, AIA and Eric Penney, AIA are known for their hands-on project involvement; conscious efforts to share their knowledge with firm members, students, interns, and clients; and intense collaboration with consultants and artists.

Nagle Hartray’s philosophy is rooted in a situational mental orientation that emphasizes the individual over the collective, realism over idealism, the pragmatic over the orthodox. It is form-oriented versus structure oriented and inclusive versus exclusive. The firm’s architecture alludes to a sense of memory as opposed to pursuing timelessness through pure plastic expression. Mature works reflecting the firm’s philosophy include the following projects:

Kinzie Tower (2001) — This residential tower is shaped in response to its river location and to capture views of the city’s skyline. Its simple curving form and balcony voids rendered in concrete have an elegance that recalls the candid power of older Chicago School architecture.

 Kovler Gymnasium (2001) — This addition echoes the rhythms and character of its gothic predecessor without relying on historic replication.


Oak Park Public Library (2003) — This building is important to the firm’s development for its process as much as for its architecture. Located in an activist community across from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple and a Jens Jensen designed park, the design was developed through the course of more than twenty public review meetings. It enjoys diverse community support as a result. And it taught the firm the value of broad participation towards realizing creative solutions.

St. Mary of the Springs Chapel (2002) — The chapel design reflects the organic values of the religious community it serves and earned the firm an AIA Honor Award.


Fountaindale Public Library (2010) & Chicago Theological Seminary (2012) — These recent projects build upon the design direction illustrated in the above noted projects.

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