We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winner of the 2nd prize of our “SKYHIVE Skyscraper Challenge” competition - Jon Carag from United States!

Jon Carag from United States

I received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Ohio State University  with Minors in Business and City and Regional Planning. I received both a Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Structures) from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I am currently a licensed Architect but work in the structural engineering department at Klein & Hoffman  in Chicago, Illinois.

Klein & Hoffman is an architectural restoration and structural engineering firm founded in 1953, with offices in Chicago and Philadelphia. The firm provides a large range of services for existing buildings, including investigation and restoration of building envelopes (building facades, roofs, etc.) in addition to various special inspections, code reviews, reserve studies, life safety evaluations and due diligence reports. The structural engineering department provides both structural repair and design services for buildings in the Chicago area including: new design, adaptive reuse, strengthening and repairs, peer reviews, roof anchor design and certifications, etc.)

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where company/ individuals have been involved?

Klein & Hoffman has worked with existing high rise office and condominium buildings, educational facilities and several famous Chicago landmarks including the Shedd Aquarium, O’Hare International Airport, Loyola University, the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Union Station.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Architecture provides the opportunity to enhance our society. When you design a building, you are not just designing it for the people that use it every day, but all people who are affected by its presence. It’s meaningful to me because my decisions can guide the standard of living, the standard of the working and the standard of experiencing life through the built environment. Architecture is a complex problem that attempts to mix art, engineering, sustainability and constructability into a product that is financially feasible. These seemingly opposite disciplines are not limitations to design but opportunities to create an impactful and responsible product. Architects are not designers of buildings; they are designers. The influence of our education and abilities extends far beyond four walls and a roof. Architects have the reins to change all aspects of the built world and how society perceives it. 

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

This was my first design competition. I love the freedom to push the boundaries of design and to explore futuristic concepts of form, space and technology. The majority of us will lose that vision when leaving school and entering the workforce, but these competitions allow us to rekindle why we wanted to be an architect in the first place.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

These competitions allow you to practice what you loved doing in school without the specific deliverables and weekly deadlines of studio class. When you can work at your own pace and choose what to design, it creates a more enjoyable experience. From a more practical standpoint, this competition adds some flavor to your portfolio and allows you to practice developing your presentation elements (modeling, rendering, Photoshop, graphic design, etc.).

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