Jul 17th 2017


John Ronan, FAIA, founding principal of John Ronan Architects, and professor and Assoc. Dean at IIT Architecture, was awarded AIA's ARCHITECT Research + Development (R+D) Award for the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship.

Many of the buildings on the Illinois Institute of Technology's campus are composed of steel and glass, providing a sense of lightness to Mies van der Rohe's industrial aesthetic.

"My question was,” Ronan said, “if the steel-and-glass buildings were lightweight for their time, what would be the equivalent for our time?”

Ronan's response is an inflatable, responsive façade. His solution to updating the distinctive Miesian aesthetic includes using a material with the performance of glass at a fraction of the weight—ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a translucent, resilient plastic film used to cover wide spans like arena roofs.

Read more about the design and award at Architect Magazine.