Founder and President
Ross Barney Architects
Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, HASLA, is the recipient of the 2023 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. She is a renowned Architect for her expertise in civic space design and her dedication to creating exceptional public spaces. From small community facilities to prestigious academic and research buildings, as well as innovative transit stations and urban places and spaces, Carol’s work has left a lasting impact. Her designs have become cultural icons, showcasing her belief in the transformative power of the built environment on our daily lives.
As an architect, urbanist, mentor, and educator, she has relentlessly advocated that excellent design is a right, not a privilege. For nearly two decades, Carol’s studio has been working along Chicago’s Rivers, including design of the Chicago Riverwalk and a vision for improvements for all 150 miles of riverfront.
Among her notable projects are the Oklahoma City Federal Building, which replaced the Murrah Federal Building after a domestic terrorist attack, the CTA Cermak and Morgan Street Stations, McDonald’s Chicago and Disney World Flagship Restaurants, the Searle Visitor Center at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the JRC Synagogue in Evanston, the UMD Civil Engineering Building, the Multi-Modal Terminal at O’Hare International Airport, the NASA Aerospace Communications Facility, and Chicago’s new DuSable Park.
Carol’s exceptional work has garnered over 200 major design awards, including the prestigious Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum National Design Award. She has also received fourteen National American Institute of Architects Honor Awards for Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Urban Planning and Design, as well as over 45 AIA Chicago Awards. Her commitment to sustainable design has been recognized with two AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Project Awards.
Carol is a graduate of the University of Illinois and has served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, where she contributed to national park planning. Additionally, she has been teaching an advanced Design Studio at the Illinois Institute of Technology for over thirty years, sharing her expertise and shaping the next generation of architects.