Nov 15th 2022

Acclaimed Alum and Innovator Jim DeStefano Passes Away

IIT College of Architecture mourns the passing of James DeStefano (ARCH ’61), a supportive and outstanding member of the alumni community, on August 30, 2022, at the age of 84.

DeStefano was one of the last students to study under famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the longtime leader of Illinois Institute of Technology’s architecture program. Upon graduation in 1961, DeStefano joined Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, becoming a general partner in 1973. After working on several projects, including as the lead architect of Three First National Plaza in Chicago’s downtown Loop, he grew the firm’s London office and oversaw projects such as Canary Wharf and King’s Cross.

In 1988 DeStefano formed what would become DeStefano + Partners, which designed more than 150 buildings in the Chicago area, including One South Dearborn.

“He was amazing, developing a young firm,” John Burcher, an architect who worked with DeStefano at Skidmore and then at DeStefano + Partners, said in the Chicago Tribune‘s obituary. “He was extremely good as a businessman and in understanding the value of your staff.”

“Jim Destefano is another great example of IIT College of Architecture graduates who have shaped Chicago—and cities around the world,” said Reed Kroloff, Rowe Family College of Architecture Dean Endowed Chair. “His work is a great legacy.”