Self certified architect in Chicago – what does that mean?

Self Cert Sample

Our principal, Ron Kwaske, is a self-certified architect in Chicago.  We have been asked by many, “what does it mean to be self-certified?”

Essentially, it means that for eligible projects Ron takes  responsibility for code compliance.  For projects that are eligible, self-certfication can significantly cut down the time to procure a permit since plan reviews with the City are eliminated.Depending upon the project and the City’s backlog of work, getting a permit  through the Standard Plan Review process can sometimes take several months.  Clients who are trying to meet tight deadlines (e.g. restaurants or retailers  with absolute opening dates) can benefit from choosing a self-certified architect because the permit procurement process is drastically expedited.

If you are interested in learning if your project qualifies for self-certification, please feel free to send us an email or call us at 312-698-5024.

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Louisville Children’s Museum

V SE View

The results of Designing a Louisville Children’s Museum, Revitalizing a Downtown Edge, an international ideas competition, were announced.  Our submission was not chosen as the winner, but will be included in a slide show as part of an exhibition of the winning proposals being held at the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY.  Having visited the 21c  last  October, we are very excited to be included in the exhibition, even as part of the slide show.  You can find more information about the exhibition that is running through April 1   here.

The office of Ron Kwaske, Architect, proposed a new unfolding gem, crystallized into the heart of Louisville that would enlighten children of all ages. At the new Louisville Children’s Museum (LCM), children could explore facets of our evolution.  The LCM is based on a series of ramps, serving as passages through time from agrarian to technological societies.  From cultivating the earth to playing with large touch screens, the LCM would facilitate these multi-sensory experiences that encourage children to learn through play.


The development of children, types of play, and advancements in our society were all considered and integrated in the design process.  With the ramps serving as passages through time, exhibitions that integrate various types of play and learning experiences would also deliver content about innovations throughout history.   The ramps would be constructed as different kinds of bridges  (e.g. rope, steel, wood), with  the palette of the museum composed of primary colors slightly askew to provide a visually stimulating backdrop for exhibitions. Continue reading

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Adding by subtracting

pietraart smoky mica

These cool glass and stone tiles by Bliss will add texture, color, and depth to our clients’ bathrooms as they begin the renovation of their master and children’s bathrooms.  The clients contacted the office of Ron Kwaske, Architect to design a second floor addition for their home, but interviews with the clients revealed a house addition was not what they needed.  Rather than add on to the house, we proposed the clients reconfigure their oversized bedroom providing the clients with a larger walk-in closet and en suite master bathroom that features a spa area, separate shower, and powder room .  By keeping the square feet of their second floor the same, the clients’ construction budget was reduced and they will not have future costs in heating and cooling that they would have incurred by adding space.  The new design gives the clients the added luxury they sought and subtracted dollars from their project’s bottom line.

pietraart silver aspen

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DSC_0337~2( photo taken January 4, 2014)

Happy New Year!

After an extended holiday break due to the polar vortex, the lights in our office are back on and we are busy working on exciting projects.  We have come back energized and looking forward to 2014.  Stay tuned for changes to our ever-evolving website, along with interesting additions to our portfolio.

Happy Holidays!

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All of us at the office of Ron Kwaske, Architect, wish you a happy and safe holiday.   May 2014 bring you have health, prosperity, and the time to enjoy it!

We will be closed through January 6, 2014.

See you in the New Year!

A house with balance

2788 Port Clinton_entry

Construction is about to begin on a house we designed that should begin to change the complexion of the suburban street where it is located.  Based on the clients’ needs and values,  the office of Ron Kwaske, Architect researched and considered Feng Shui principles in this design.  We aspired to maintain a positive, open, and flowing floor plan, with careful attention paid to placement of rooms, doors, and windows.  Moreover, we juxtaposed building materials to create a balanced environment.

2788 Port Clinton_Modern_Render

2788 Port Clinton_Modern_backyard

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The City as a Playground

playscapes board 1

Those of us at the office of Ron Kwaske, Architect are proud to state that our submission for the Building Trust International Playscapes competition was a bit out-of-the-box and ambitious.  The competition brief called for entrants to”submit a plan or proposal to turn a neglected forgotten part of your city into a playscape.”    Our submission proposed turning a number of parts of Chicago into playscapes thereby making the city a playground.

Ours was selected to be on BTI’s Facebook page with about 100 other professional entries prior to announcing winners, but the final winners chosen were creative proposals that were on a smaller scale than ours.   Our concept involves a fair amount of involvement from the city, neighborhood organizations, and possibly corporate sponsors.  Although we proposed Chicago playscapes, the concept could be actually be taken to any city.  Thus, we encourage our blog readers to share this with others who have the resources or connections to make an idea like this happen.  We would be eager to develop our ideas further with city officials, corporate sponsors, or venture capitalists, with the hope of turning cities into playgrounds.  Continue reading

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Ron Kwaske’s use of mobile apps, Vectorworks cloud services, and Architosh’s “must-have” apps

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If you missed ” Benefits of Using Cloud and Mobile Applications in Architecture Design”, featuring Ron Kwaske along with presenters from Nemetschek Vectorworks and Architosh, don’t fret!  You can view a recording of the webinar by following this link: 

Ron presented on his use of mobile apps in his architectural practice, with demonstrations of Basecamp, Tick, and JotNot Pro.  Also included in the webinar are presentations about “must-have” apps and Vectorworks cloud services.

You may only receive 1 AIA LU if you take a quiz after watching the recording. After watching the webinar recording, click the following link: .

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Kurve Bridge

kurve bridge

Congratulations to the winners of  ArchTriumph’s Berlin Contemporary Bridge Competition.  Now that they have been announced, we can post our own entry – Kurve Bridge.

Juxtaposed against the cold, industrial, and arguably harsh surroundings, Kurve Bridge elegantly spans over the Spree River.  It’s curvaceous, smooth base reflects the calm energy of the river.  As the base of the bridge rises from the water, it takes on unassuming, soft, almost feminine curves.  Lighting combined with the reflective polished metallic cladding cause the bridge to glow in the night sky.  The slender span provides a human scale.

As boat traffic passes below the bridge, people can cross above on foot or bicycle.  The ramp on and off the bridge make it accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities, and a bicycle lane improves safety and allows for bicycle transportation across the bridge.  With continuous seating along the entire length of the bridge, any point on the bridge could become a place to gather with others or to relax by oneself.  A glass guard rail offers a backrest while providing safety and ensuring the view from the bridge is not obstructed.  Indigenous flowers and shrubs would be planted on the outside of the guard rails, lining the upper perimeter of the bridge, encasing the path in greenery.



Ron Kwaske, Architect, to be part of upcoming webinar on mobile apps!


Ron Kwaske will be presenting on the integrated practices and workflows established in his architectural office and how he uses online project management tools, such as Basecamp, and mobile CAD review and annotation apps, such as Vectorworks Nomad.

The webinar is being hosted by Nemetschek Vectorworks.  Participants of the webinar can earn up to 1 AIA LU.  For more information, please visit:

We hope you can join us!



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