Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Innovative Architects to Watch


4
Jeanne Gang
Inspired by the waters of Lake Michigan, the rippling Aqua Tower's design also buffers it against Chicago's strong winds and even has bird-deflecting elements.
Inspired by the waters of Lake Michigan, the rippling Aqua Tower's design also buffers it against Chicago's strong winds and even has bird-deflecting elements.
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 2011, Jeanne Gang was chosen as a MacArthur Fellow -- also known as a "Genius Grant" -- which is given to individuals in various fields who show special creative potential and promise. Just a few years before, she was an American Institute of Architects fellow. Although she worked in several different cities, ultimately Gang settled in Chicago, where she saw a lot of potential for her architecture. While the field tends to be dominated by men, but Gang is distinctive among all architects for designing buildings that make a major impact on the landscape.

In 2010, a residential skyscraper designed by Gang opened in Chicago. At 86 stories tall, Aqua is the tallest building to be designed by a female architect and the biggest project to be led by one. Aqua has a sort of rolling quality due to its irregular, curved balconies, which just as much as 12 feet out from the building in some places. Gang stated that they were inspired in part by the limestone outcroppings in the Great Lakes Area. Gang also kept sustainability in mind. The balconies help shade the building, and there's energy-efficient lighting and a rainwater collection system.