Jan 18th 2024

Straddling Architecture, Real Estate, and Construction

The everchanging game of life can bring Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture graduates to far-flung industries, but Tim Anderson (B.ARCH. ’79) brings this unique expertise to his development and construction company, Focus.

Anderson founded Focus in 1993 as a real estate development and construction company. Focus does not have an in-house architect team, but his College of Architecture background allows him to actively join in the conceptual design phase of projects. Anderson can easily talk shop with the architecture firms that he hires. “By speaking the language of design, being able to read drawings, and really appreciating the work architects do, I am a much better communicator than the typical client,” Anderson says.

Chicagoans can see two of Focus’ latest buildings, The Parker and 167 Green, in the city’s Fulton Market neighborhood.

While Focus’s projects speak to creativity and expertise, Anderson is most proud of the company’s most important resource: its employees. “The goal of that culture is to create more honest relationships, which ultimately enables better communication, enhances collaboration, and results in greater creativity,” Anderson says.

Anderson didn’t start in architecture, but one semester in a liberal arts college brought back his interest in architecture from high school. “I read about different architects and resonated with the philosophy of Mies van der Rohe and decided to transfer [to IIT College of Architecture],” Anderson says.

Professor Arthur Takeuchi was a mentor for Anderson during his four years in S. R. Crown Hall. Takeuchi passed away on December 19, 2022. “[Takeuchi’s] ability to merge philosophy, architectural history, and building technologies into an intelligent approach to architecture really impressed me,” Anderson says.

Anderson still delights in Modernist architecture as a board member of the Mies van der Rohe Society. “The education I received at IIT established a foundation from which I could build a lasting and inspiring career. While I’m not in a traditional architectural role, the work I did at IIT and beyond enables me to influence the built environment in a meaningful way,” Anderson says.