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In its seventh year, the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Patron of the Year awards had to move to a bigger venue at the Four Seasons Hotel Thursday. Being feted: developers and owners of this year's best-designed buildings.
 
Studio/Gang's Jeanne Gang and Beth Zacherle with Ernie Wong
Studio Gang Architects' Jeanne Gang and Beth Zacherle, here with jury member Ernie Wong, had both of their nominated patrons (the Aqua Tower and the South Pond Redevelopment) win. Jeanne says she's really enjoyed working with Magellan Development on the iconic Aqua building, while Beth liked uniting nature and design at the Zoo, updating the dilapidated pond  to include a boardwalk  and pavilion.
 
CAF”s Greg Dreicer and Lynn Osmund watched Gary Comer
CAF's Greg Dreicer and Lynn Osmund watched Gary Comer accept his award for the Comer College Prep school. Gary compared redesigning the school to changing a Ford Taurus with limited options into a Ferrari. The new design should help students learn better due to its welcoming feel through the daylighting in the floor plan. Or to use his analogy, it has a giant sunroof.
Epstein's Andrew Metter, Studio/Gang's Mark Schendel, CAF's Lynn Osmund and threshold's Scott Pfeiffer
We snapped Epstein's Andrew Metter, Studio/Gang's Mark Schendel, CAF's Lynn Osmund, and threshold's Scott Pfeiffer. Epstein designed the winning Village of Wilmette Public Works Facility, which includes understated, well-lit office space and more space for public vehicles. Lynn says this year's event exceeded expectations with its number of nominees, considering the limited number of buildings developed in the recession.
Bill Kurtis
Architecture buff and discoverer of the Internet (in those clever AT&T commercials) Bill Kurtis  emceed the awards. The other winner was 860-880 N. Lakeshore in the private development category. It was originally designed by Mies van der Rohe and renovated by Krueck + Sexton Architects. The patron (client) was the condo association.