Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, HASLA has been in the vanguard of civic space design since founding Ross Barney Architects in 1981. With a career that spans nearly 50 years, Carol has made significant contributions to the built environment, the profession, and architectural education. From the early days in the United States Peace Corps planning National Parks in Costa Rica to recent collaborations with City Governments, Carol has relentlessly advocated that excellent design is a right, not a privilege.
Her body of work, being almost exclusively in the public realm, represents this ethos and occupies a unique place within the panorama of contemporary architecture. To date Carol has realized a remarkable succession of compelling projects. Each takes a honed process of giving voice to all members of a community. It is the ability to listen with intention to the history, context, and aspirations of a community first, and then respond. It is a story, told through design, about fairness, equity, and inspiration.
From her early work reshaping the suburban experience of the United States Postal Service to humble projects for the Chicago Public Schools. These early projects explored energy performance, urbanity, and design excellence on a tight budget; winning national acclaim.
In 1997, Carol was chosen as the lead designer for the Oklahoma City Federal Building, the first female architect to head the design of such a commission. In the face of tragedy rose a celebration of democracy that healed a nation. This type of sensitivity has become a hallmark of Carol�s work and career; consistently articulating the role design plays in protecting, inspiring, and uplifting society.
From buildings that enrich communities to infrastructure and urban systems that influence a city�s fabric, her work with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has touched nearly 1/3rd of the system, and has confronted millions of Chicagoans. Thanks to Carol�s work and advocacy, project types often left to function and the bottom line have yielded compelling arguments for why design matters.
For nearly two decades, Carol has been leading a movement to regenerate the Chicago River. Throughout the process, Carol and the city have worked to think beyond conventions of civic space, designing a progressive urban park, the Chicago Riverwalk. Her influence has sparked a renaissance of new relationships between city and river; an interwoven coexistence of nature and man.
While Carol�s projects vary in type and scale, they uphold a deep commitment to the quality of life. This commitment manifests into spaces that enrich the metropolitan experience; buildings that are environmental stewards, embodying and showcasing sustainability; and spaces that inspire young, curious minds to learn, invent, and break boundaries.
At the forefront for equity in the architectural profession, Carol has long sought to move beyond her gender as a contributing factor or hindrance to success. But it�s not enough just to blaze the trail, Carol continually teaches, mentors, and empowers young architects to contribute their ideas and designs to progress the profession.