KOO’s talented architects and interior designers all participate in design thinking. All members of the staff contribute ideas and inspiration for projects in a collaborative studio environment. The creativity and dedication of each person is fundamental to the success of our projects.
Jackie Koo AIA, IIDA, LEED AP
Jackie, the firm’s founder, has twenty-five years of experience in Architecture and Design. After graduating with a degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, Jackie sought to combine this with her interest in aesthetics, and enrolled in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Illinois at Chicago during a theory-focused period in the program.
She started her career at Richard Meier and Partners in New York and founded KOO in 2005 after working for 15 years in corporate firms. During her career, Jackie has developed a strong vision for the firm, and has successfully completed numerous complex projects in a wide range of building types including Hospitality, Residential, Institutional and Planning.
Dan Rappel AIA, MBA, LEED AP
Dan Rappel is KOO’s Director of Sustainable Design and Partner. He has eighteen years of experience in Institutional, Commercial, Residential and Retail design and brings an emphasis on sustainability to every KOO project. He has worked on 15 LEED projects including the LEED Platinum Kresge Foundation and has won four AIA design awards. Dan’s superior design skills and sophisticated management strategies expertly respond to challenging budget and schedule constraints.
Dan is the proud parent of three children and lives with his family in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. He enjoys camping and hiking in the great outdoors, whenever and wherever he can. Dan also plays guitar and bass in a local Indie band.
Barnaby Wauters is KOO’s Technical Director. He brings more than twenty years of experience in technical architecture and design, with specialization in building envelope and façade design, building preservation, restoration, adaptive reuse, and forensic architecture. Barnaby is passionate about delivering thoughtfully detailed, resilient and sustainable design. He believes in working collaboratively to push the envelope on innovative technical and design solutions.
Barnaby graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. In his spare time, he can be found talking to building owners and management about structural issues he has identified while taking leisurely walks around the city. He also actively works to preserve the fabric of historic Logan Square, Chicago where he lives with his wife and two kids.
Bruce F. Roth AIA, CSI
Bruce grew up in Southwestern Wisconsin, a place of rolling meadows dotted with small towns and dairy farms. His interest in Architecture started early, drawing and building with blocks. By junior high, the decision to become an Architect had already been made.
Bruce has over 25 years of professional experience, with a focus on Project Management, Building Technology and Construction Methodology. With a clear understanding of the complexities of the building design process and a focus on the client’s goals, Bruce utilizes his skill and expertise to successfully implement complex projects and programs.
Bruce and his wife Jackie, have three boys, Max, Sam and Leo (and dog, Red) and live in Riverside, Illinois. He coaches youth basketball and enjoys father and son activities with the Riverside Indian Guides. He has also become the family genealogist, tracing his ancestry to colonial America and beyond.
Andrew J. Buck AIA
Andrew is a native New Yorker with a golf swing to envy. He relocated to the Midwest to earn his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois. Though his primary focus at KOO is on multi-family housing, Andrew also has significant experience with a variety of projects such as high-end single family residences and large scale commercial buildings. In 2009 Andrew returned to school to earn his Master of Architecture degree from Washington University in St. Louis before planting roots in Chicago. Andrew currently lives downtown with his wife, and thrives on the energy of the city. He is a self-proclaimed restaurant connoisseur, and is known in the office as the person to talk to for a recommendation on where to make reservations for Friday night.
Ashlen V. Williams
Ashlen is a gifted designer whose approach is informed by a passion for enriching architectural experiences, particularly within urban communities. While studying architecture at the University of Kansas, it was Ashlen’s internship at Ibos & Vitart in Paris that cemented her taste for international travel and culture. She later spent time living in Madrid, exploring the country. Ashlen’s philosophy is that every new encounter offers critical insight into the human experience, and as a designer, it is her goal to translate this knowledge into architecture that inspires communities. In addition to her love of design and world travel, Ashlen is an artist whose practice includes painting and collage. She is always up for a bit of bowling and enjoys the rich, live music scene for which Chicago is known.
Ivan Silvestre LEED Green Associate
Growing up in Dubai, Ivan had the opportunity to watch first-hand the city’s transformation from a desert town to a bustling metropolis. As an observer of the building boom, he noted the positive impact that architecture can have on people’s lives, and was inspired to pursue a career in the built environment. Ivan is currently involved in KOO’s hospitality projects. He graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology. In his spare time Ivan enjoys a game of golf, wall-climbing, and is actively pursuing licensure.
Maria views architecture not only as her profession, but also as a vehicle to understand and express the world we live in. She has dedicated nearly ten years to the field of architecture, working and teaching in Argentina and Ecuador before joining the team at KOO. With a strong background in residential and healthcare, she focuses her designs on the different ways architecture can give back to the community, and how it can have a positive effect on its surroundings. Maria has a yearning to travel and spends most of her holidays curiously exploring and photographing new places. She keeps attuned to the energy of the city by attending art openings and local concerts. She is happiest when outdoors or surrounded by friends.
Joe Cuevas LEED AP BD+C
Joe is a true Chicagoan, born and raised on the South Side. He received both his BA, and his love for Modern Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology. Joe has the unique ability to successfully manage multiple high-intensity projects with overlapping deadlines, while never deviating from the calm and silly demeanor for which he’s known. He has well-developed technical skills and possesses a keen eye for detail. Joe has carefully honed his craft through a myriad of institutional projects with KOO. He believes that each project should be approached with extreme thoughtfulness regardless of the size or complexity. When he’s not sweating the architectural “small stuff”, he’s raising seahorses at his home and making references to the TV show ‘The Office’.
Jonathan has a well-informed appreciation for both the old and the new. He has traveled extensively throughout the world, visiting ancient historical sites and seeking out modern technological wonders. Jonathan successfully draws upon this contrast between vintage and contemporary in his design. As a member of the KOO design team, he has worked on a variety of projects from multi-family residential to large institutional and hospitality projects. Jonathan attended Illinois Institute of Technology where he received his Bachelor of Architecture with Honors. While at IIT, he engaged student life by becoming an active member of AIAS and joining the college’s cycling team. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike, practicing photography, or playing a friendly game of cards—but always for money.
Kevin is an architect who approaches each project looking for pragmatic design opportunities within the labyrinth of conventional building requirements and restrictions. Kevin views architecture as a cultural discourse capable of re-imagining our collectivity via projecting novel and expanded realities. Kevin joined KOO in 2011 and has worked on a wide range of projects including educational, hospitality, and institutional buildings. Having earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture, he is also a passionate Buckeyes football fan. Aside from architecture, Kevin enjoys biking, utilizing the Chicago parks system, and taking advantage of the extensive food and craft beer establishments around Chicago. Kevin is happily married to his wife Jenna and is a proud member of the Chicago Rangers men's baseball team.
With a boundless passion for all things design and an innate sense for creating forward-thinking environments, Megan is a natural part of the KOO team. From a young age she felt an undeniable magnetism towards art, which grew into an affinity for Interior Design as she gained her Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design at Western Michigan University. Megan helps complete the KOO vision by applying a hospitality approach to every project, shaping spaces with new ideas and distinguishing character.
Growing up a Mortician’s daughter, school-required “take-your-daughter-to-work days” with her father were interesting to say the least, and led Megan to know what she did NOT want to do when she grew up. What she gained from the experience was her father’s advice: it's important to have a balance of laughter and a sense of humor in life, no matter what profession you choose. To this day, Megan and her husband Mike have a huge love of animals and can never get enough comedy, both of which are drawn from their love of laughter.
Stevie L. Reynolds
Stevie is positive and inspired by nature. With a knack for creative thinking, Stevie actively supports the people and projects of KOO through strategic operations and brand management. She draws upon her combined background in Visual Art, Marketing and Business to fulfill a multifaceted role within the company. From spearheading special projects to developing and implementing KOO policies and procedures, Stevie is always eager to redefine her role with new challenges. When she isn’t off backpacking, Stevie can be found in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, curled up with a great book, or feeding her passion for art at a museum or gallery.
Tanner Avery was born and raised in Alabama. He received his Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Interior Architecture from Auburn University in 2014, and made the journey to Chicago after a year at the Rural Studio. There, he designed and built his thesis project – a two-bedroom, handicapped accessible “20K House.” In the office, Tanner has been working on large scale renovations. In his spare time, he enjoys experimenting with design at a small scale in the woodshop by building custom furniture. Tanner believes that we should always ask what should be built, rather than what can be built.
Laila is one of KOO’s phenomenal interns. She believes that architecture and design reflect the essence of the existing, and are a result of the layers of history that merge to create the identity of today. Growing up in Egypt, Laila studied architecture at the American University in Cairo before transferring to the Illinois Institute of Technology to pursue her Bachelor of Architecture degree. In addition to architecture, Laila is passionate about art. In her free time she paints and frequently visits art galleries and museums. When at home in Egypt, the beach at the Red Sea is her happy place.
Charles (Charlie) is a KOO intern with a sense of adventure and an engineering mind. He grew up on the beaches of Cancun Mexico before moving to Chicago, a decision he regrets every winter. Charlie recently graduated from Lane Tech and now attends the college of engineering at UIC. When he’s not helping with various KOO projects or in class, he’s busy planning his next trip. He’s an avid outdoorsman who caught the travel bug early. His summer before joining KOO he spent two weeks living with the Maasai tribe in Keyna.