Master of Architecture, Syracuse University, Florence, Italy, 1994
Bachelor of Architecture (six-year program), University of Buenos Aires, School of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning, 1989
American Institute of Architects
LEED Accredited Professional
Licensed Architect in Illinois
Licensed Architect in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Presentations + Publications
Panelist at the 20th Annual Conference of the National Association of Engineers in Buenos Aires , Argentina. Debate on how architects and engineers communicate, October 2008
La Nacion (newspaper in Buenos Aires) article on Laura's work titled "An Argentinean abroad," May 2006
Chicago Architectural Foundation lectures:
Panelist on docent presentation, 2006
Lunchtime lecture on latest work in Chicago and Los Angeles, 2006
Lunchtime lecture on "The Columbian," a high rise on Michigan Ave, 2004
Three lectures on Buenos Aires history, architecture and urban design at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1995
Awards + Honors
Chicago Landmark Award for Preservation Excellence, McHugh Headquarters, Chicago, Illinois (while Senior Project Architect at DeStefano + Partners)
LA Design Award, Gold MedalMcHugh Headquarters, Chicago, Illinois (while Senior Project Architect at DeStefano + Partners), 2004
Professional Design Award of Merit from the Society of American Registered Architects, McHugh Headquarters, Chicago, Illinois (while Senior Project Architect at DeStefano + Partners)
Chicago Building Congress Merit Award finalist, McHugh Headquarters, Chicago, Illinois (while Senior Project Architect at DeStefano + Partners)
The Chicago Sun-Times Housing Award for Cinema Lofts, Chicago, 1997
Guest juror for the final review of Illinois Institute of Technology's second-year studio, 1995-96
Elected to the Board of Directors of the Council of International Programs, organization related to the Fulbright Commission in selected countries, 1995
Awarded a full tuition and a fee waiver at UIC School of Urban Planning and Policy to assist to their Master Program of Urban Planning, 1994
Awarded the academic fellowship of Syracuse University for their Master Program in Florence, Italy (offered to only one student each year), 1993
Awarded the Council of International Programs Fellowship (sponsored through the Fulbright Commission), a year's practical experience in Chicago, 1991
IAESTE award for four months of practical experience in Seville, Spain, 1990
Major projects at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture:
Suzhou Creek Residences
High and low-rise waterside residences. Neighborhood includes landscaped areas, new waterway and roadway passages, public art and historically preserved buildings. Shanghai, China
OCT Shenzhen Development
Sustainable mixed-use corridor features adaptive reuse of existing power plant, which will be the centerpiece for the new development. This readapted building will be a showcase for passive power production and sustainable practices including rainwater collection, wind and solar power generation and recycling as well as a central hub for a network or pedestrian and bicycle pathways. Shenzhen, China
A twin tower scheme of 450 m and 330 m tall towers that proposes a new paradigm for super tall residential typologies. The performative design creates opportunities for views, daylighting, natural ventilation and other experiences. Seoul, Korea
Sanya Haitang Bay Resort
The luxurious development will consist of two separate hotels, luxury villas and a condo hotel tower, set within a sustainable master plan. Hainan Island, China
Wuhan Greenland Center
119-story, 606-meter tall, 300,000 sm mixed-use tower features 50 office floors, 17 residential floors and 22 hotel floors and four club levels, four sky lobbies, and multiple mechanical floors. Wuhan, China
Steppenwolf Theater Campus Expansion
Architectural design for major Chicago theater company includes renovations and additions to existing structure. Chicago, Illinois
49-story, 1.35 million sf luxury residential tower, including duplex townhouses, 4 stories of office space and retail along a harbor promenade. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
32-story, 820,000 sf office tower featuring including verdant sky gardens and podium offices. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Masdar Hq Development
Positive Energy building (generating more energy than it consumes) in zero carbon, zero waste city. Includes office, retail, transit circulation and landscaped green space. Masdar City at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
At Perkins and Will:
The Chicago Spire
Design Manager and main liaison in collaboration with the office of Santiago Calatrava., in New York and Zurich. In addition of being involved in all design decisions, responsible for producing all the project residential unit plans (1200) with teams from both offices in Vancouver, Chicago, New York and Zurich.
Confidential Residential Tower
Competition for a 600,000 sf residential tower with a 6 story parking and retail podium component. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
At DeStefano + Partners
Senior Project Architect for a mixed use project that included a development with two high-rise towers, hotel and residential high-rise plus ground floor retail and an attached parking garage. Chicago, Illinois
The Fordham Spire
Senior Project Architect and team leader for concept design, in collaboration with the office of Santiago Calatrava.
Senior Project architect for a 1.2 million SF mixed use development which includes two high-end, high rise residential towers of 275 residential units each, a loft building of 80 residential units, 80,000 SF of ground floor retail space and 7 levels of parking. currently under construction. Los Angeles, California
Senior Project architect for high-end residential tower which includes approximately 7,000 SF of ground floor retail space and 128 residential units. Los Angeles, California, currently on Design Development.
Senior Project Architect for a 46-story residential high-rise on Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. Chicago, Illinois, currently under construction
McHugh Corporate Headquarters
Senior Project Architect for an adaptive re-use of landmark building on the Motor Row district. chicago, Illinois
180 North LaSalle
Renovation of existing office building. Work included reconfiguring the ground floor, all public spaces, elevator cabs, corridors, exterior façade and entries. Designed in collaboration with Architect Ricardo Bofill from Spain. Chicago, Illinois
Laura Jimenez on . . .
. . . design
Is the process of creating art, to be inhabited. For me, is often a painful, though enjoyable process, in a very particular way, since it takes over my life; restless until satisfied. I think about it constantly. It's a process of discovery, a matter of trying to reveal through architecture the culture of a specific place, to understand its personality and that of the client. With the city and the site in mind I strive to respond to the client's needs, and learn how to translate that into architecture—into a project that will reflect who they are and respond to the urban and spatial needs of the moment. Design is also a of commentary on the urban environment it's in. I believe honesty makes a building better. I don't agree with office buildings that look like residential towers, for example, or balconies that you cannot walk out onto. Buildings need to be truthful and sincere. The rest will follow.
. . .where she gets her inspiration
It comes in the most unexpected moments. On the train, for instance, if I see something that enlightens me on what I'm working on at the time, or while working out , and sometimes while sketching on the street. I was running in Florence once and I saw the Palazzo Vecchio, the way the tower ends—it's skinny at the bottom and opens at the top—actually made clear to me how to resolve the project I had at hand. On a different occasion, I had gone to a museum and I was looking at all their paintings; I realized then that the building I was in the process of designing could be a metaphor for a painting. In Los Angeles, I worked on two towers that became a metaphor for the fashion shows and the image-driven society of the area. We placed the buildings on the site in such a way that you could perceive the space they created due to their relationship to each other, just like two fashion models walking by each other on a runway. The two high-rise buildings became an analogy for the women, the retail space at the bottom became an allegory for the purse that one of the girls was carrying.
. . . her favorite moment in architecture
For me it comes when I can feel the spirit of the architecture. My first encounter with a building that achieved this was while visiting the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The use of light, the inclusion of water, the sound of that water in the fountains, the way the building framed your views, the smell of summer in the air—I just sat there and couldn't stop crying. People kept asking me, "Did you lose your passport?" "No," I said, "this is just so beautiful!" I had a similar experience in California when I visited the Salk Institute. I was late for the tour, but I managed to convince the tour guide to let me in, even though the building was closed. I was running to catch up with the tour when I came upon the courtyard. It was a beautiful day, quiet and completely deserted. It was striking. Just like at the Alhambra—the architecture went beyond the expected, it engaged your senses. Water was quietly running through the middle of the courtyard, the summer light bathed the concrete walls, the building framed breathtaking views of the ocean. There was something very spiritual in the space. I would love to achieve that sensitivity in my buildings—create space that you can feel, that gets inside of you. The elements of air, light, water, sound—if they combine the right way, if they have the right chemistry, it's extraordinary.
. . . her favorite architectural city
Almost any city in Italy, but especially Florence. The streets in these towns are for the pedestrians. Buenos Aires, where I'm from, is one of my favorites as well. The urban space is amazing. It's for the people—not for the cars, but for the people. You can walk down the street and feel comfortable. There are trees shading your way, there are wonderful little places for you to sit down and have a cup of coffee. It's has the right human scale.
. . . her favorite thing about a collaborative design process
The people. The team. The best design occurs when you have the right chemistry in your team. Your design is going to be as diverse as your team is. If everybody collaborates, if everybody has input, and if you know how to motivate them, then you benefit the project. With the right team, you get a fantastic results. Without it, you might as well start over from zero.
. . . what she'd be if she weren't an architect
A dancer. I love music and I like to dance, and I think it has some of the same aspects of architecture—it's very inspirational, it has lots of energy, and it can bring a smile to your face or tears to your eyes.
. . . what she does when she's not designing
I work out and play volleyball quite often. I dance, listen to music, and read a lot, and also love to go out sketching. In addition I enjoy eating out quite a bit, and have my favorite restaurants here in Chicago. I like Argentinean food, but mostly I have to go home for that.