Sara Beardsley from AS + GG | 2011 Recipient | AIA Young Architects Award

Sara Beardsley, AIA

Sara Beardsley, AIA | Notes of Interest

During her twelve years of practicing architecture, Sara Beardsley, AIA, has advanced awareness of technical and sustainable design issues related to tall buildings, both new and existing, and heightened the discussion of large-scale buildings’ contribution to carbon emissions.

Beardsley’s experience has led her to become a sought-after expert on energy performance, with a special focus on supertall towers and the regeneration of cities. In her work thus far, as a Senior Architect at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS + GG) and previously at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Beardsley has led and contributed to many locally and internationally renowned projects.

Beardsley acted as a Senior Architect on the sustainable modernization and design of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower Renovation and an adjacent 50-story Hotel project in Chicago (2008). She served as a Senior Technical Coordinator on the Head Offices for the Federation of Korea Industries tower in Seoul, Korea (2009). In her previous role at SOM, Beardsley served as the project architect for the $90 million GSA renovation of Mies vand der Rohe’s E.M. Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago (2005-2006); she also had a key technical and leadership role on the design of the 95-story Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago (2003-2005). On the large-scale urban level, Beardsley was a key member of the AS+GG team that developed a “DeCarbonization Plan” for the City of Chicago.

Beardsley has lectured extensively about her work on existing buildings and decarbonization of cities to local, national, and international audiences within the design and construction community. Lectures to the public have included presentations to the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Friends of Downtown, the Chicago Public Library and student groups. Her published articles include appearances in prestigious journals, as well as the Chicago TribuneAlberta Venture and Metropolis magazine.

Sara Beardsley, AIA

© Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Beardsley’s expertise encompasses both the technical and design aspects of architecture, giving her a comprehensive understanding of the components of large-scale projects. In explaining her architectural philosophy, Beardsley likens buildings to “living, functioning machines.” Almost certainly, her interests and specialties will become more and more prevalent in the new century, as energy usage and the engineering of buildings become more important factors in the design of buildings.

Beardsley is an active member of the AIA and Chicago Women in Architecture. Within AS+GG she’s developed a mentoring program, organized educational factory tours, and guided young professionals in the completion of the Intern Development Program (IDP).

Beardsley has brought to light the broader issue of the need to renovate cities, helping municipalities start this important dialogue. Through her work, Beardsley encourages existing large-scale buildings to be recognized as assets in the form of an untapped environmental resource, which will encourage legislators, municipalities, and building-owners to make widespread energy retrofits a reality.

Jury Comments

Sara’s expertise– the technical integration of sustainable concepts in complex projects– is invaluable and neccesary in architecture, both right now and as we head into the future.

She cares about her profession, and contributes to the potential of emerging professionals through her mentoring and professional development program.

Sara is a woman of enthusiasm and expertise, and her career strengths already range from design, to management, to dissemination of knowledge through her presentations and publications.

2011 AIA Young Architects Award Jury

  • 2010 Chancellor:
  • Edward J. Kodet, Jr., FAIA
  • Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd.
  • Minneapolis
  • 2010 Vice Chancellor:
  • Chester A. Widom, FAIA
  • WWCOT Architecture & Interiors
  • Santa Monica, Calif.
  • 2010 Bursar:
  • Norman L. Koonce, FAIA
  • McLean, Va.
  • Secretary:
  • Ronald L. Skaggs, FAIA, FACHA
  • HKS, Inc.
  • Dallas
  • 2011 Incoming Bursar:
  • William J. Stanley, FAIA
  • Stanley Love-Stanley, PC
  • Atlanta



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: