Koo

Profile

KOO is a Chicago-based full-service architecture, interior design, and planning firm. We craft buildings and interior environments that create a unique identity for each project. We create space and atmosphere. We embrace the new, temporal, and experimental with a spirit of innovation while staying mindful of the technical rigors that experimentation requires.

People

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  


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.

Jean Paul Duhon   LEED AP


Jean Paul began his professional career in Chicago after graduating from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. He has been involved in a wide variety of project types including corporate interiors, single family residential, cemetery, institutional, multi-family residential, hospitality and industrial.  His career path has led him through many related roles such as I.T./CAD Manager, teacher, landscaper and woodworker, each one contributing to his development as an architect. 

Intensely passionate about craft, design, family, food and the pursuit of knowledge (mostly of obscure topics), Jean Paul will often be found sketching, building, renovating, helping with homework or searching the far corners of the internet for the hidden mysteries of existence.

Maria Tasada  


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 GREEN ASSOCIATE


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 Skinner  


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 Parzych  


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.

Megan Walters  


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  


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.

Daria Piekos  


Daria  is a collector of experiences and adventures. Originally from Podlipie, Poland, she moved to Chicago with her family at the age of 11. She recently returned from a six-month stay in Hong Kong where she lived, studied and worked—immersing herself in the culture and architecture. Daria is currently in her final semester at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is earning her Bachelor of Science in Architecture.   Daria is the intern extraordinaire at KOO and contributes to a wide range of projects.   When not at KOO, Daria is working in studio, consuming loads of chocolate, cuddling with her dog, and planning her next adventure. 

Services

Our services include:

Urban Design
Masterplanning
Phasing
Site planning
Community engagement

Architecture
Feasibility Studies
Entitlements
Zoning and Code compliance
Programming
Schematic Design
Design Development
Construction Documentation
Permit Documents
Bidding and Negotiation
Construction Contract Administration
Construction Closeout

Interior Design
Programming
Space Planning
Interior Architecture
Furniture Fixture and Equipment Selection
Finish Selection
Custom Hospitality Design and Specifications
Construction Documentation
Construction Contract Administration

 Sustainable Design
LEED N.C.  Design & Certification
LEED ND
LEED Midrise
Enterprise Green Communities
Chicago Green Homes

KOO is a certified Minority Business Enterprise, Women’s Business Enterprise, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and a member of the US Green Building Council.

  • Jackie Koo Jackie
  • Dan Rappel Dan
  • Barnaby Wauters Barnaby
  • Bruce F. Roth Bruce
  • Andrew J. Buck Andrew
  • Ashlen V. Williams Ashlen
  • Jean Paul Duhon Jean Paul
  • Maria Tasada Maria
  • Joe Cuevas Joe
  • Jonathan Skinner Jonathan
  • Kevin Parzych Kevin
  • Megan Walters Megan
  • Stevie L. Reynolds Stevie
  • Tanner Avery Tanner
  • Daria Piekos Daria

Projects

theWIT

theWit, a Doubletree hotel, was KOO’s debut project. Positioned at the northern gateway of Chicago’s Theater District and State Street shopping corridor, this 27-story mixed-use building embraces its surroundings instead of competing with them. Rather than turning its back to the adjacent “L” tracks—a singularly Chicago feature—the building’s design embraces the urban condition and the train that stops there. The hotel’s dramatic zig-zagging chartreuse glass performs like a super-sized marquee, creating a signature identity for the building that echoes the geometries of the nearby tracks.

The building houses a four-star 298-guestroom boutique Hilton hotel as well as three restaurants, including ROOF (a popular rooftop lounge), 7,000 square feet of conference space, and a signature spa—a 250,000-square-foot structure in a diminutive 9,500-square-foot footprint.

Projects

Purple Hotel

KOO was the master planner, architect, and designer for the historic restoration of the infamous Purple Hotel site in Lincolnwood, Illinois. By incorporating adjacent sites to the complex, the Masterplan added retail and office space and re-focused the entrance to the hotel complex off a redesigned courtyard. The 200 room hotel included three restaurants, a lounge, spa, and 20,000 square feet of banquet space.

In 2012, 99% Invisible's Roman Mars, interviewed Jackie Koo on the re-design of the Purple Hotel. Listen to the podcast here. 

Projects

Autograph

The Marriott Autograph hotel in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago comfortably fits 22 stories and 200 rooms on a diminutive 60-foot-wide by 120-foot-deep site. Designed for the millennial traveler, the hotel features a high-tech, embossed rainscreen façade that creates an ever-changing pixelated “digital” pattern. It also includes a double-height multi-functional lobby lounge and meeting place intended as an inviting neighborhood amenity; a second-story planted art installation terrace; and an agricultural green roof. 

Projects

The OUT

Located in the Lakeview neighborhood, the OUT Chicago Hotel and Resort is a high-energy, full-service experience hotel based on the program of its sister hotel in New York City—the OUT NYC. As architect and designer, KOO incorporated contextual materials and a pedestrian-friendly street frontage on Halsted Street to help create a strong identity for the building. Eight stories tall, this 130-room building includes a combination lounge, restaurant, and boutique space at street level; a spa and great lawn within a central atrium; and an event space at the eighth floor. 

Projects

Inn at Lincoln Park

Sitting atop three stories of retail space and parking, the Inn at Lincoln Park follows a contemporary urban approach, incorporating a highly activated base that extends the pedestrian-oriented retail frontage on Diversey. The guestrooms of this 140-room, eight-story neighborhood hotel seem to float on top of the parking levels due to the softly illuminated translucent material that serves to break down the massing of the building. 

 

 

Projects

Fairfield Inn

The design concept for this custom interior renovation for Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites, near the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago, incorporates an innovative layering of electronic media arts with a warm interior palette. Contemporary LED lighting, video art exhibited on two large displays, and scrolling text screens combine with Mod inspired glowing drapery and furnishings to establish a vintage but modern aesthetic. The design refreshes and repositions Fairfield’s signature blue color with  current materiality, lighting effects, and artifacts that invigorate the space.

 

 

Projects

Aloft Hotel

Utilizing the DNA of the “W” hotel brand, the 190-room Aloft Hotel will feature highly stylized interiors and loft-like guestrooms. This 16-story custom design for Chicago’s rapidly developing South Loop incorporates Aloft’s signature yellow and blue color palette and its “swoof” roof to create a unique urban destination. 

Projects

Sunset Millennium

Located on the historic Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, the Sunset Millennium development is a three-parcel, comprehensive hotel, retail, office, residential, and restaurant development. In the east parcel, two hotel buildings with ground-floor retail and restaurant uses face Sunset Boulevard. A broad plaza bisects the site of this pedestrian-oriented hotel development and an 800-car parking structure is located six levels below grade—letting the development work for both pedestrians and commuters. The hotel building also makes an impression on the Strip, with tall walls along the east and northeast walls of the west-side hotel and on the northwest and east walls of the east hotels, with tall wall billboards facing Sunset.

Projects

Royal Oak Lofts

This 26-unit project in Royal Oak, Michigan provides a new housing option for those desiring a walkable, culturally rich urban lifestyle in this vibrant Detroit suburb. As architect and designer, KOO designed these large, loft-style condominium units to be modern — but with warm, rich woods, greenery, and glass along ample exterior space. Large windows bring in ample natural light and a luxurious natural palette creates a warm, airy refuge. As a block-long site, we avoided the potential issue of a repetitive massingby breaking the shape down into multiple volumes that bridge the higher density commercial street with the lower density residential neighborhood abutting the site. 

Projects

Britton Budd

As interior designer, KOO was tasked with a major renovation of the 11-story Britton Budd Apartments for the Chicago Housing Authority, a 1920s historic courtyard residence in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. KOO selected design elements that complemented the period restoration, and restored public space architectural details to meet the requirements of historic tax credit funding. Original terrazzo floors, molding, and doors were refinished and enhanced with art deco elements. Also, in addition to restoring original and period details of the residence, we refreshed the look of the space with a contemporary color palette.

The design brings the richness and graciousness of hospitality design to public housing while also responding to the rigorous requirements of senior housing.

Projects

Heirs of Bronzeville

Located between 51st Street and 54th Street along State Street in Chicago, Heirs of Bronzeville is a plan for a mixed-use, multimedia artist community that aims to provide a strong anchor for community redevelopment. KOO, as architect and designer, was asked to design approximately 80 artist live/work residences and a boutique hotel for the site. The residential building includes retail use on the first level and a screening room. The boutique hotel sits on a similar retail base and contains two distinct hotel blocks linked by a common core and perforated by multimedia digital art walls.

Projects

Park Douglas

An example of our commitment to bringing low-cost, high-impact, sustainable design strategies to each project we take on, KOO was the architect for the new construction of 42 rental apartments in nine buildings scattered over four city blocks in Chicago. Part of a master plan to provide affordable housing on the west side of the city, each of these buildings provide from two to nine units of affordable living space in otherwise unutilized urban infill sites. In addition to filling a definite need for living space, we designed these traditional and contemporary buildings to integrate local authenticity — salvaging several one-of-a-kind architectural pieces to enrich the architectural language with a depth that is usually impossible to afford with new construction.

Projects

Pomeroy

As interior designer for the Ralph J. Pomeroy Senior Apartments — a building for seniors under the Chicago Housing Authority — KOO renovated the public spaces to create a warm and gracious hospitality aesthetic. Original terrazzo floors, molding, and doors were refinished, and architectural details were also restored to meet the requirements of historic tax credit funding. The interior design elements were selected to complement the period restoration while refreshing the space with contemporary finishes, furnishings, lighting, and accessories.

Projects

Thorncreek

The Thorncreek senior apartments are located in the Village of Thornton beside the Thorncreek and Jurgensen Woods Forest Preserve. The complex includes 46 senior living units with balconies and amenities such as a resident garden, community room, library, game room, fitness center, and parking. As architect and designer, KOO created the building design by taking cues from the area’s lumber manufacturing past, incorporating the warmth of wood for a unique and much-needed senior residence.

 

The project was designed to meet LEED midrise requirements and is anticipated to be the first LEED midrise-certified building in Illinois. It was designed to also meet universal design criteria and received funding from a wide array of sources, including IHDA, Cook County, National Equity Fund, and DCEO. The developer’s Web site can be found at http://thorncreekseniorliving.com/.

Projects

Water Street Lofts

KOO was asked to act as architect and designer for Water Street Lofts in Rockford, Illinois. Injecting new vitality into Rockford’s urban renewal program, this 53,000-square-foot mixed-use residential project fronts Rockford’s historic riverfront. It combines retail, housing and office in a very effective repurposing of space — with the city and developer working together to adapt an existing two-level parking structure to provide 22 housing units and 12,000 square feet of retail and office space. The design is anchored by a brick plinth — which shields the existing parking structure from view — topped with a series of townhomes. The office component forms a dramatic cantilever, creating a monumental canopy for the retail space.

Projects

Pilsen Housing

KOO was selected as the architect and designer for this 36-unit development in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. We created a design that strives to be sustainable and pragmatic as well as contextual and innovative. Situated on a triangular lot, the development is a mix of three-flat, six-flat, and nine-unit apartment buildings. A gabled roof motif echoes the grain of the adjacent residential neighborhood to the south, but the use of a single material on the massing helps reframe these forms as something more. The design also uses its window surrounds as both practical sun shading and pieces of visual interest — with graphic patterning that enhances the monochromatic mass. And shifting the green space away from the adjacent railroad tracks and toward the front of the buildings adds an impression of life and health.

Projects

Walter Payton

KOO is currently working on a 50,000-square-foot addition to Walter Payton — the top-rated high school in Illinois — that will allow the school to accommodate 50% more students. The design adds a competition gymnasium, a lunchroom, a black box theater, a dance studio, additional classrooms, and a special education facility.

The annex is designed to take its cues from the original structure without striving to replicate it. It utilizes a complementary building palette and a rotated gymnasium mass with angles referencing the existing structure. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2015.

Projects

Lafayette School

KOO is the interior designer and architect for a transformative renovation of the century-old, 170,000-square-foot Lafayette Elementary School in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. With an interior design that hews to the building’s historic character — but punctuated by pops of color inspired by ChiArts graphic identity — the project includes several new and highly updated features. It adds a new black box theater in the former gymnasium space, a major facelift for the auditorium, four new science labs, seven dance studios, seven art studios, an art gallery, 16 music classrooms, six practice rooms, a large ensemble room, new administrative spaces, a kitchen renovation, major masonry renovations, and ADA upgrades, including a new elevator.

Projects

Olive Harvey Math Emporium

With a desire to accommodate a change in pedagogy as well as spark interest in their math curriculum, City Colleges of Chicago wanted to renovate three existing classrooms into one large computer lab space with a separate conference area for group tutoring. As the architect and interior designer of the project, KOO worked with City Colleges’ staff and faculty and developed custom interior design elements inspired by math concepts, supporting client’s goal to redefine the perception of mathematics among the student population. The project was completed in August of 2014, and City Colleges already plans to roll out this design at six other City Colleges.

Projects

Urban Prep Academy

Working under an incredibly aggressive schedule — and facing an extensive renovation of a century-old, 110,000-square-foot school and office building — KOO was the interior designer and architect for the CPS Charter Urban Prep High School project. The project included a renovation of 30 classrooms, three science labs, three computer labs, a gymnasium, assembly hall, locker rooms, bathrooms, and exterior walls — with only a month allowed between programming and permit documents. It required not only a redesign of the public areas but also upgrades to meet ADA rules. KOO came through with a design that earned us the 2011 CPS Project of the Year recognition. 

Projects

Daley College

KOO is the interior designer and architect for a reimagining of Daley College’s 7,000-square-foot lobby. Tasked with creating a flexible, multi-function space — to be used as a student lounge, a large gathering space for presentations and media events, and a pre-function space for the theater — KOO created a range of seating options with design cues from the school’s successful manufacturing program. With references to both high-tech digital fabrication and low-tech manufacturing processes, the point of entry to the space visually reinforces the school’s identity and aspirations, and the lobby now includes intimate collaboration spaces for small groups, enclosed by mobile walls; an Internet café; and many opportunities for student relaxation with lounge seating. 

Projects

CPS Improvement

Over the past five years, KOO has worked as the architect for both Chicago Public Schools and the Public Building Commission on the renovation of over 1,000,000 square feet over 16 elementary and high schools. These improvements have included everything from transformative intervention to create new program spaces, to ADA upgrades, to building envelope renovation. Inevitably, the projects have aggressive schedules, tight budgets, and high standards for durable construction, but KOO has delivered consistently high-quality results. In 2011, Chicago Public Schools even recognized KOO with their CPS Project of the Year honor.

Projects

Pomeroy

As interior designer for the Ralph J. Pomeroy Senior Apartments — a building for seniors under the Chicago Housing Authority — KOO renovated the public spaces to create a warm and gracious hospitality aesthetic. Original terrazzo floors, molding, and doors were refinished, and architectural details were also restored to meet the requirements of historic tax credit funding. The interior design elements were selected to complement the period restoration while refreshing the space with contemporary finishes, furnishings, lighting, and accessories.

Projects

Fairfield Inn

The design concept for this custom interior renovation for Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites, near the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago, incorporates an innovative layering of electronic media arts with a warm interior palette. Contemporary LED lighting, video art exhibited on two large displays, and scrolling text screens combine with Mod inspired glowing drapery and furnishings to establish a vintage but modern aesthetic. The design refreshes and repositions Fairfield’s signature blue color with  current materiality, lighting effects, and artifacts that invigorate the space.

Projects

Olive Harvey Math Emporium

With a desire to accommodate a change in pedagogy as well as spark interest in their math curriculum, City Colleges of Chicago wanted to renovate three existing classrooms into one large computer lab space with a separate conference area for group tutoring. As the architect and interior designer of the project, KOO worked with City Colleges’ staff and faculty and developed custom interior design elements inspired by math concepts, supporting client’s goal to redefine the perception of mathematics among the student population. The project was completed in August of 2014, and City Colleges already plans to roll out this design at six other City Colleges.

Projects

Britton Budd

As interior designer, KOO was tasked with a major renovation of the 11-story Britton Budd Apartments for the Chicago Housing Authority, a 1920s historic courtyard residence in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. KOO selected design elements that complemented the period restoration, and restored public space architectural details to meet the requirements of historic tax credit funding. Original terrazzo floors, molding, and doors were refinished and enhanced with art deco elements. Also, in addition to restoring original and period details of the residence, we refreshed the look of the space with a contemporary color palette.

The design brings the richness and graciousness of hospitality design to public housing while also responding to the rigorous requirements of senior housing.

Projects

Hampton Inn & Suites

This renovation of the Hampton Inn and Suites was inspired by tailored, modern men’s fashion. The handsome guestroom incorporates dark library finishes on the new case goods, a stitched leather-look accent wall, and bold, supersized paisley necktie print upholstery for a pop of color. The redesign incorporated existing carpet and Hampton Standard lighting as well as their new Style Right wall unit.

Projects

Daley College

KOO is the interior designer and architect for a reimagining of Daley College’s 7,000-square-foot lobby. Tasked with creating a flexible, multi-function space — to be used as a student lounge, a large gathering space for presentations and media events, and a pre-function space for the theater — KOO created a range of seating options with design cues from the school’s successful manufacturing program. With references to both high-tech digital fabrication and low-tech manufacturing processes, the point of entry to the space visually reinforces the school’s identity and aspirations, and the lobby now includes intimate collaboration spaces for small groups, enclosed by mobile walls; an Internet café; and many opportunities for student relaxation with lounge seating. 

Projects

Altgeld Gardens

The Altgeld Murray public housing site was built in 1944 on the far south side of Chicago as one of the United States’ first public housing developments. As one of the first, though the early 21st century showed that the development needed a new master plan to reduce isolation and balance housing, transportation, human services, and parks and recreation — essentially, a better way to utilize the area and its resources. KOO was part of the planning team and community process, and worked with Chicago Housing Authority, Altgeld Gardens community members, and multiple sister agencies — including the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Park District, Cook County Forest Preserve, and numerous other stakeholders — to develop the new master plan. The result was a plan that introduced a green boulevard and continuous bike path to help encourage greater connectivity to the community at large, provide a clear circulation artery through a circuitous and often-confusing system of streets, and provide a direct connection to the forest preserve and other natural resources of the area, including the Calumet River.

Projects

Smart Growth Initiative

The Chicago Housing Authority and Habitat enlisted KOO to develop plans for seven underutilized senior housing sites on Chicago’s north and west sides. KOO investigated the viability of adding housing units to the existing properties in order to provide better amenities to current senior housing residents, create new affordable housing units for CHA residents in desirable neighborhoods, and reduce CHA’s environmental impact through sustainable site planning compatible with LEED ND. KOO produced a “pattern book” providing potential developers with a long menu of choices among sustainable site strategies — with everything from constructed wetlands to community vegetable gardens.

Projects

Green Development

KOO is the sustainable planning consultant for the Habitat Company, the court-appointed receiver for the Chicago Housing Authority. The firm is providing research and recommendations for the development of standardized “green” guidelines to be issued with future CHA requests for proposals ranging from new Community Developments, to Major Building Renovations and Scattered Site Housing projects. Having provided research on local, state and federal sustainability requirements as well as research on additional sustainability guidelines and rating systems, KOO is creating recommendations for CHA staff evaluation; ultimately producing documents for insertion into requests for proposals.

Projects

Finkl

The North Branch River Works Site Study is situated across two of Chicago’s Planned Manufacturing Districts on the North Side of the city - part of the Elston and Clybourn Industrial Corridors. As manufacturing companies within the 34 acre site relocate to new areas, there are fresh opportunities for planned development on the site. Market assessments concluded that the most successful and compatible land uses for this area include High-Tech Offices, Light Manufacturing, Breweries/Distilleries and R&D facilities. KOO investigated three different ways in which this site could be redeveloped given different ownership scenarios. These scenarios addressed
development density, building preservation, right-of-way
reconfiguration, bicycle infrastructure, public transit,
parking/congestion, and river edge improvement.

Projects

450 Federal Plaza

This 25,000 SF plaza renovation is adjacent to the architecturally significant Metropolitan Correctional Center by Harry Weese just south of Chicago’s Loop. The renovation seeks to create a sleek and inviting outdoor space to complement the modernism of the Weese building. The new plan seeks to reference the original Weese design and improve on some issues of the original plaza design including stormwater runoff, site access and usability. KOO's design utilizes a combination of decomposed granite, similar to what is used at many Parisian parks, and pavers with black granite benches and beautifully-shaped Chanticleer Pear trees.

Projects

Fulton Market

KOO provided planning and visioning services for a Chicago Food District Planning study. The Fulton Street rendering portrayed food distribution activity and small scale businesses
consistent with contemporary market districts. The Lake Street rendering was focused on highlighting potential hotel locations with the existing transportation features.

Projects

Lafayette School

KOO is the interior designer and architect for a transformative renovation of the century-old, 170,000-square-foot Lafayette Elementary School in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. With an interior design that hews to the building’s historic character — but punctuated by pops of color inspired by ChiArts graphic identity — the project includes several new and highly updated features. It adds a new black box theater in the former gymnasium space, a major facelift for the auditorium, four new science labs, seven dance studios, seven art studios, an art gallery, 16 music classrooms, six practice rooms, a large ensemble room, new administrative spaces, a kitchen renovation, major masonry renovations, and ADA upgrades, including a new elevator.

Projects

Daley College

KOO is the interior designer and architect for a reimagining of Daley College’s 7,000-square-foot lobby. Tasked with creating a flexible, multi-function space — to be used as a student lounge, a large gathering space for presentations and media events, and a pre-function space for the theater — KOO created a range of seating options with design cues from the school’s successful manufacturing program. With references to both high-tech digital fabrication and low-tech manufacturing processes, the point of entry to the space visually reinforces the school’s identity and aspirations, and the lobby now includes intimate collaboration spaces for small groups, enclosed by mobile walls; an Internet café; and many opportunities for student relaxation with lounge seating. 

Projects

Fairfield Inn

The design concept for this custom interior renovation for Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites, near the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago, incorporates an innovative layering of electronic media arts with a warm interior palette. Contemporary LED lighting, video art exhibited on two large displays, and scrolling text screens combine with Mod inspired glowing drapery and furnishings to establish a vintage but modern aesthetic. The design refreshes and repositions Fairfield’s signature blue color with  current materiality, lighting effects, and artifacts that invigorate the space.

Projects

Urbran Prep Academy

Working under an incredibly aggressive schedule — and facing an extensive renovation of a century-old, 110,000-square-foot school and office building — KOO was the interior designer and architect for the CPS Charter Urban Prep High School project. The project included a renovation of 30 classrooms, three science labs, three computer labs, a gymnasium, assembly hall, locker rooms, bathrooms, and exterior walls — with only a month allowed between programming and permit documents. It required not only a redesign of the public areas but also upgrades to meet ADA rules. KOO came through with a design that earned us the 2011 CPS Project of the Year recognition. 

Projects

Hampton Inn & Suites

This renovation of the Hampton Inn and Suites was inspired by tailored, modern men’s fashion. The handsome guestroom incorporates dark library finishes on the new case goods, a stitched leather-look accent wall, and bold, supersized paisley necktie print upholstery for a pop of color. The redesign incorporated existing carpet and Hampton Standard lighting as well as their new Style Right wall unit.

Projects

Olive Harvey Math Emporium

With a desire to accommodate a change in pedagogy as well as spark interest in their math curriculum, City Colleges of Chicago wanted to renovate three existing classrooms into one large computer lab space with a separate conference area for group tutoring. As the architect and interior designer of the project, KOO worked with City Colleges’ staff and faculty and developed custom interior design elements inspired by math concepts, supporting client’s goal to redefine the perception of mathematics among the student population. The project was completed in August of 2014, and City Colleges already plans to roll out this design at six other City Colleges.

Projects

Sustainable Suites

KOO's entry for the US Green Building Council’s Sustainable Suite Competition employs four environmentally-conscious strategies: provide a smaller footprint, use eco-friendly products, integrate building systems, provide an interactive, networked “game” to promote awareness and education through design decisions made in the room surfaces.


The project includes a folding Nanawall window system that allows the room to transform into an outdoor space. The bed may be moved onto the balcony to allow guests to sleep outside.

Projects

Mobile Farmstead

There are over 90,000 vacant lots in Chicago, representing more than 6,000 acres of unused space. To transform this vacant space into a source of fresh organic produce for local residents, farmers markets, and restaurants — as well as add needed green space and jobs to the area — Ken Dunn turns these spaces into the City Farm concept. Introducing a layer of transportable, nutrient-rich topsoil, City Farm creates temporary farms employing from one to three people, usually homeless or unemployed individuals for whom Ken provides training and a living wage.

The KOO design team developed a mobile solution for City Farm that provided a recognizable face for the concept while creating secure tool and produce storage, sheltered workspace, an office, restroom, temporary housing for one employee, and a small farm stand.

To match up with the mission of City Farm, KOO selected architectural components that were salvaged, inexpensive, biodegradable and, especially, easily transportable — so that, if the vacant space were sold or slotted for redevelopment, the site could be easily moved to another spot. We chose products and materials such as shipping containers, chain-link fencing, canvas, and straw bales — sustainable, easily moved, and efficient.

Projects

1801 W. Cuyler

This modest 1,800 SF residence will be located
on a forgotten piece of urban real estate in the
North Center neighborhood of Chicago. This
property has been vacant since 1928 due in part
to its narrow lot dimension of 17’-6”.


The project includes a suite of aggressive sustainable
strategies that includes an agricultural green
roof, natural ventilation provided through thermal
drive, passive solar orientation, high performance
insulation, and re-used materials including salvaged
barn siding & bowling lane lumber.

Projects

Walter Payton

This new 162,000-square-foot Selective Enrollment High School on Chicago’s North Side incorporates state-of-the-art technology infrastructure and laboratory facilities to support a competitive college preparatory curriculum. To create a secure urban campus, KOO worked as architect of record to create a design that features two separate building “blocks” of academic and support functions joined by a large internal atrium that doubles as a break-out and social space. In addition to classroom, lab, and lecture hall spaces, Payton includes an auditorium, gymnasium, library, greenhouse, planetarium, and TV studio.

Projects

Thorncreek

The Thorncreek senior apartments are located in the Village of Thornton beside the Thorn Creek and Jurgenson Woods Forest Preserve.   The complex includes 46 senior living units with balconies and amenities such as a resident garden, community room, library, game room, fitness center and parking.   The design of the building takes cues from the area’s lumber manufacturing past and incorporates the warmth of wood for a unique and much needed senior residence.

 

The project was designed to meet LEED Mid-rise and is anticipated to be the first LEED Mid-rise certified building in Illinois.   It was designed to meet universal design criteria and received funding from a wide array of sources including IHDA, Cook County,  National Equity Fund and DCEO.   The developer’s website can be found at http://thorncreekseniorliving.com/.

Projects

Green Development

KOO is the sustainable planning consultant for the Habitat Company, the court-appointed receiver for the Chicago Housing Authority. The firm is providing research and recommendations for the development of standardized “green” guidelines to be issued with future CHA requests for proposals ranging from new Community Developments, to Major Building Renovations and Scattered Site Housing projects. Having provided research on local, state and federal sustainability requirements as well as research on additional sustainability guidelines and rating systems, KOO is creating recommendations for CHA staff evaluation; ultimately producing documents for insertion into requests for proposals.

Projects

Park Douglas

KOO was the Architect for 42 rental apartments in nine buildings ranging in size from 2 units to 9 units. These new construction buildings are scattered over four city blocks as part of a master plan to provide affordable housing on the west side of Chicago. The building design expression ranges from traditional to contemporary.   The traditional buildings are situated in infill sites and integrate local, salvaged architectural ornament to enrich the traditional architectural language with an authenticity and depth that would be impossible to afford with new construction.   Saving these one-of-a-kind architectural pieces also supports our commitment to bringing low-cost, high-impact, sustainable design strategies to each project.

Projects

Smart Growth Initiative

The Chicago Housing Authority and Habitat enlisted KOO to develop plans for seven underutilized senior housing sites on Chicago’s north and west sides. KOO investigated the viability of adding housing units to the existing properties in order to provide better amenities to current senior housing residents, create new affordable housing units for CHA residents in desirable neighborhoods, and reduce CHA’s environmental impact through sustainable site planning compatible with LEED ND. KOO produced a “pattern book” providing potential developers with a long menu of choices among sustainable site strategies — with everything from constructed wetlands to community vegetable gardens.

  • 1 theWIT
  • 2 Purple Hotel
  • 3 Autograph
  • 4 The OUT
  • 5 Inn at Lincoln Park
  • 6 Fairfield Inn
  • 7 Aloft Hotel
  • 8 Sunset Millennium
  • 1 Royal Oak Lofts
  • 2 Britton Budd
  • 3 Heirs of Bronzeville
  • 4 Park Douglas
  • 5 Pomeroy
  • 6 Thorncreek
  • 7 Water Street Lofts
  • 8 Pilsen Housing
  • 1 Walter Payton
  • 2 Lafayette School
  • 3 Olive Harvey Math Emporium
  • 4 Urban Prep Academy
  • 5 Daley College
  • 6 CPS Improvement
  • 1 Pomeroy
  • 2 Fairfield Inn
  • 3 Olive Harvey Math Emporium
  • 4 Britton Budd
  • 5 Hampton Inn & Suites
  • 6 Daley College
  • 1 Altgeld Gardens
  • 2 Smart Growth Initiative
  • 3 Green Development
  • 4 Finkl
  • 5 450 Federal Plaza
  • 6 Fulton Market
  • 1 Lafayette School
  • 2 Daley College
  • 3 Fairfield Inn
  • 4 Urbran Prep Academy
  • 5 Hampton Inn & Suites
  • 6 Olive Harvey Math Emporium
  • 1 Sustainable Suites
  • 2 Mobile Farmstead
  • 3 1801 W. Cuyler
  • 4 Walter Payton
  • 5 Thorncreek
  • 6 Green Development
  • 7 Park Douglas
  • 8 Smart Growth Initiative
  • Hospitality
  • Residential
  • Education
  • Interiors
  • Urban Design
  • Renovations
  • Sustainability

2015 Archive


  • Lakefront Kiosk Competition

    August 11, 2015 - Chicago Architecture Biennial

    Check out KOO's Lakefront Kiosk (or K(i)OOsk as we like to call it) submission for the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

    "One part kiosk, one part proscenium… one part weak form, one part near figure… one part urbane sophistication, one part utilitarian construction… Stage/Shell/Soapbox/Show is a blending of diverse elements transmuted to a new coherence. "

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  • Steelers Visit Walter Payton College Prep

    July 17, 2015 - The Chicago Architecture Blog

    As anyone who’s ridden the Brown Line between the Chicago Avenue and Sedgwick stops can attest, the funding was approved, and construction has begun. What’s visible now is mostly just a skeleton, but it’s a steel skeleton. And those are the best kind.

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  • Upscale Baths

    April 20, 2015 - Chicago Life

    Jackie Koo chimes in on the increased demand for luxury baths within hospitality design in her interview with Pamela Dittmer McKuen

    View the Full Article

2014 Archive


  • Wit Developer Plans 195-room Streeterville Hotel

    December 3, 2014 - Crain's Chicago Business

    The developer of the Wit Hotel in the Loop has picked Streeterville for its next project, adding to the crush of hotel rooms slated for the downtown market.

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  • This Architect Moved From Philosophy to Actual Buildings

    March 1, 2014 - Crain's Chicago Business

    Jackie Koo's architecture career began when she was a graduate student in the early 1990s at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she studied the field as an "angle of philosophy"—an academic discipline connected as much to literary theory as to building sites. In the end, the actual practice of expressing ideas through the built environment won her over.

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2013 Archive


  • Koo & Associates Out the OUT Hotel

    April 11, 2013 - Curbed Chicago

    The 112-room hotel planned for the 3300 block of North Halsted now has a rendering, courtesy of Koo & Associates.

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2012 Archive


  • Purple Reign

    July 13, 2012 - 99% Invisible

    But Gwen Macsai, host of Re:sound from the Third Coast International Audio Festival, has a secret about the Purple Hotel.

    Gwen talks to the original architect of the Purple Hotel, plus WBEZ architecture critic Lee Bey, developer Jack Weiss, and the new architect, Jackie Koo, who’s looking to bring the Purple Hotel back to its former glory.

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  • Koo To The Rescue

    June 27, 2012 - The Architects Newspaper

    Beloved, maligned, mold-infested, the Purple Hotel, for better or worse, is the most recognizable building in suburban Lincolnwood, Illinois. The defunct and distinctly colored mid-century modernist structure was slated for demolition last year. But the village recently turned a corner in its conflicted relationship with the hotel.

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2011 Archive


  • August 25, 2011

    Dan Rappel will present "Beyond Intensive: Agricultural Green Roofs" at the USGBC Illinois Credential Maintenance Blitz--November 1, 2011 in Chicago 

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  • June 23, 2011

    Dan Rappel will present our work helping author CHA's Green Guidelines at the Greening the Heartland Conference -- June 23, 2011 in Cincinnati, OH

    View the Full Article
  • Favorite Things

    February 11, 2011 - Chicago Tribune

    With the zig-zaggety lightning streak she carved into the 27-story glass facade of theWIT hotel, architect JACKIE KOO of Koo and Associates, injected high voltage energy onto State Street.

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2010 Archive


  • Mayor Daley's Chicago Legacy

    October 22, 2010 - The Architects Newspaper

    Jackie Koo and other architects about Mayor Daley's legacy in the Architects Newspaper

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  • October 21, 2010

    Jackie Koo will be a presenter at the FUSE conference April 11-13, 2011 in Chicago

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  • October 19, 2010

    Dan Rappel will be a panelist at USGBC's Residential Financial Incentive Program at Ryerson Woods Welcome Center in Riverwoods IL 

  • September 17, 2010

    KOO will be a facilitator at the Chicago Housing Authority's Green Retreat 

  • September 16, 2010

    Dan Rappel will be a speaker at the Luxe Home VIP Summit at the Merchandise Mart.

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  • September 11, 2010

    Jackie Koo is on the jury for Design Evanston. 

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  • The Wit

    March 11, 2010 - ARCHITECT

    Local architect Jackie Koo (and her eponymous firm, Koo and Associates) has taken a stand against this curvaceous trend with the recently opened Wit hotel, proving that once again, straight lines are in.

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2009 Archive


  • A Flash of Wit

    August 1, 2009

    Koo’s design for the Wit, which opened in late May, revives a once-desolate stretch of North State Street (at the corner of Lake Street), and not just with flashy gestures. The real action of the Wit is inside, where Koo fit 298 guestrooms, two restaurants and a rooftop lounge, and conference and banquet spaces on a narrow urban site. The more startling aspects of form followed Koo’s command of the high-rise’s function.

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  • Koo and Associates Ltd.

    July 1, 2009 - WTTW

    Part of the new guard of Chicago architects shaping the Loop in the 21st century, Jackie Koo and her firm, Koo and Associates, brought a bolt of energy to the North Loop in 2009 with theWit Hotel at 201 North State Street.

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Contact

312.235.0920            

53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Suite 215
Chicago, IL 60604