Top 100: DeStefano Partners
|From Chicago schools to mixed-use transit-oriented development in the Far East, DeStefano Partners is trying to make cities stronger by design. The firm, launched by Jim DeStefano in 1988, divides its efforts between public, private and international work.|
How does working in Asia differ from the US (above, a model of a Korean project)? Total project cost, according to Scott Sarver, full-time CEO, part-time office tour guide. It's more expensive to find and permit land in Asia; however, the cost of construction is considerably lower than the US. DP's Asian clients use this difference to invest in impressive design; symbolism plays a large role. Scott says he's seen buildings interpreted to look like a lotus flower, a musical instrument, or two men bowing. And in Chicago? No, they won't be designing anything to look like Pilsner glasses or bears.
Yesterday, Scott showed us around the firm's new offices at 330 North Wabash, Mies van der Rohe' s last building. Current DP projects include two prototype high schools on the south side. (It's been working with Chicago Public Schools since ?95.) Scott tells us that, coming out of the recession, performance metrics will influence green and energy-efficient architecture, create cost benefits, and encourage innovative projects.