2018 Associates Award Recipient

The AIA Associates Award is given to individual Associate AIA members to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.

The onset of the career of Ryan Gann, Assoc. AIA, has been rooted in design, service, and leadership. An energetic design professional, his strategies tackle issues facing today’s emerging professionals and reflect the highest aspirations of the profession.

What began as a fascination with architecture at age 10—thanks to MTV’s Cribs—saw Gann become an engaged student leader. He has served on a number of national boards, including the American Institute of Architecture Students and National Architectural Accrediting Board. During his tenure as the president of Illinois Institute of Technology’s AIAS chapter, he helped shape and strengthen its high school outreach committee’s connections to Chicago classrooms. The program, Project Yellow, was designed to plant seeds of awareness of the profession and has since grown from a simple deployable teaching kit to a full curriculum that encourages creative thinking and building. His work in the chapter, participation in which he helped grow from 20 to 100 students, was honored in 2013 when AIAS National named it the AIAS Chapter of the Year.

“While Ryan does thrive by being front and center in much of what he does, he rarely stands there alone,” Peter Exley, FAIA, wrote in a letter supporting Gann’s nomination for the AIA Associates Award. “He always brings others with him. His wit and empathy are infectious. His judgment, listening skills, perspective, and thoughtful engagement are mature, and informed.”

Gann was the inaugural architect-in-residence at the Hyde Park Art Center and is a past recipient of the Schiff Foundation Fellowship. His work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Architecture Biennial, and Chicago Architecture Foundation. He will soon begin a two-year appointment as associate representative to the AIA Board of Directors Strategic Council.

Today Gann is an architect-in-training at Chicago’s Ross Barney Architects, where he is involved in projects around the world. He has served as the firm’s architecture and urban design consultant for its work in engaging 6,000 Chicago residents in an effort to connect the metropolitan area with its natural assets. In Nanjing, China, he helped develop a compelling winning competition entry to create a 600,000-square-foot sports and culture center in an area of expedited urbanization.

“He is an effective force both inside and outside the office,” firm principal Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, wrote of Gann. “He is comfortable advocating for both design and the profession. He thrives on participation and is completely generous with his time and energy.”

As a respected resource, often called upon to provide an emerging professional’s viewpoint and perspective, Gann is an invaluable advocate. He will be a key contributor in advancing the conversation about the value and relevance of architecture.


Rik Master, FAIA (Chair), USG Corporation, Woodstock, Illinois

Patrick Burke, FAIA, Columbia University, New York City

Lindsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, Ayers Saint Gross Architects, Scottsdale, Arizona

Libby Haslam, AIA, GSBS Architects, Salt Lake City

R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, TRC Energy Services, Detroit

Image credits

Ryan Gann - main image

Jason Schumer

Ryan Gann - image 1

Ross Barney Architects

Ryan Gann - image 2

Ross Barney Architects