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.
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.
Jacob Simanowitz LEED GREEN ASSOCIATE
Jacob is an adventurer at heart. Growing up he spent every summer packed into the back of a car driving cross country. Through this experience he developed an intense desire to explore and live around the world. He received his first chance to accomplish his dream at the University of Kansas when he was granted an internship with the Office of Mobile Design in Los Angeles, and later at JDS Architects in Copenhagen. Jacob has varied experience working on commercial projects in Kansas City, Boston, and now Chicago (his favorite city). Outside of the office, you might see Jacob skateboarding in Wicker Park, snowboarding in Colorado, or tinkering around on his synthesizers.
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 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 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.
Kaleb was inspired to become an architect at the age of 9, when he observed the building process of his family’s home. He received his Master of Architecture from the University of Kansas before deciding to trade in the “wheat field state” for the skyscrapers of Chicago. Kaleb’s ability to transition between a highly creative and highly technical mindset adds greatly to the strength of the KOO team. He has worked on projects ranging is scale from a 100 square foot store in New York to a complex of buildings the size of a small city in Kazakhstan. Kaleb often rides his bike to work in lieu of the train and actively practices the art of film photography.
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.
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.