Skyline of Chicago (photo by Abbas Aminmansour)
Burj Dubai (image from SOM.COM)
Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings
2018 CCHRB Seminar
Thursday, June 14, 2018 
8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Education on the (High) Rise: How and Why Education Buildings of the 21st Century are Going Tall
Harris Bank Auditorium
3rd Floor, Harris Bank Building
115 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois
Who Should Attend:  
Anyone involved in the economic planning, design, construction and operation of high rise structures and interested in state-of-the-art in high rise education buildings. This includes facilities managers, developers, building owners, architects, interior designers, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors.
Registration Fee (Includes continental breakfast and coffee break​)*:
        $150.00     Members of CCHRB or of a co-sponsoring organization
        $175.00     Non-members
          $50.00     Students [Student identification will be required at check-in].

* Large Firm Discounts of 5 tickets for the price of 4 are available.  To receive the discount, you           must submit the Mail-in Registration Form (WordPDF).  Discounted fee is payable only by               check (see below).

Online Registration: Please visit our CCHRB Store page to register online.  If you are signing up for     someone else, please be sure to include the registrant's name and affiliation in the comment area.   Please be sure to select the correct option.

Mail-in registrations (WordPDF) - - individual or large firm discount registrations - - as well as             payments (checks only please) must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2018 and mailed to the     following address:

     Michael Wysockey, CCHRB Treasurer
     c/o Thatcher Foundations, Inc. 7100 Industrial Highway
     Gary, IN 46406
For additional information please contact:
    Mr. Matthew Kuhl, AIA, matthew.kuhl@perkinswill.com, (312) 755-4523
Continuing Education: 
Four hours of HSW continuing education credits are available for members of AIA. A certificate for 4 hours of continuing education will be provided upon request for others. A handout will be available with reporting directions.

Seminar Schedule:

7:15 AM:    Commence Registration – Continental Breakfast Provided
                  Important Note: Building security requires photo ID for entry.  
                  Allow time for going through building security.

8:00 AM:   Welcome – CCHRB Chair & CCHRB Seminar Task Force Chair

8:05 AM:  Opening Speaker - “Schools Looking Up” – Aimee Eckmann – Perkins + Will

8:25 AM:   Presentation 1- “GEMS World Academy Chicago,”– Srdjan Avram and Lynne Sorkin, 
                 bKL Architecture LLC and Fritz Morris of GEMS America

9:10 AM:  Presentation 2- “Creating the Vertical Campus" – Michael Siegel, Stantec Architecture, 
                David Eckmann, MKA Structural

9:55 AM:  Coffee Break

10:15 AM: Presentation 3- “Planning Security for High-Rise Educational Facilities” – Kyle Andorf and 
                 John Carosello, Security Consultants, Jensen Hughes

11:00 AM: Presentation 4- “A High-Rise High School for Chicago: William Jones Preparatory High 
                 School” – Michael Palmer, Perkins + Will, Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Director of Development  
                 Service, Sterling Bay and former Executive Director of the Public Building Commission of 

11:45 AM: Round Table Discussion and Q+A

12:45 PM: Conclusion

Openning Presentation: 
Ms. Aimee Eckmann, FAIA
Associate Principal, PreK-12 Practice Leader– 
Perkins + Will

Schools Look Up
As more families choose to remain in urban areas, there is a growing need to re-think education in dense cities. In this session, Aimee Eckmann, FAIA, ALEP, LEED AP BD+C will discuss why and how schools consider building up instead of out when space is at a premium, special programming considerations, and challenges and opportunities to planning K-12 schools in a high-rise. She will give examples of recent successes such as Jones College Prep in Chicago and Campus International School in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Speaker: Aimee Eckmann, FAIA, ALEP, LEED AP BD+C is the PreK-12 Practice Leader in the Chicago office of Perkins+Will. As a global innovator in PreK-12 programming and planning, her influence through design and engagement advocates forward-thinking solutions proven to change students, teachers, and communities. 

Consistently ahead of trends, Aimee customizes her work based on current research, building trust with clients by making them partners in the project process. Her articles and presentations share knowledge with others in the profession, proof of her commitment to advancing thought leadership in the industry. Her work has won more than half a dozen local chapter AIA awards, and has been honored by such publications as Architect, Architectural Record, Interior Design, and Learning by Design. In over a decade of service, Aimee has played an important role in leadership and mentoring with the ACE Mentor Program of Illinois, supporting low-income and minority high school students in their pursuit of careers in architecture, construction and engineering. Aimee's experiences mentoring students help inform her ideas for transformative, future-ready educational environments and have had a deep impact on her work. 

Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings
First Morning Presentation:
​Ms. Lynne Sorkin, AIA
Director, bKL Architecture LLC 

Mr. Srdjan Avram, AIA
Associate Director, bKL Architecture LLC 

Mr. Fritz Morris
Senior Vice President of Design and Infrastructure, GEMS America

GEMS World Academy Chicago
Learn how a dense urban location influenced the design of GEMS World Academy Chicago. The new high-rise Chicago campus integrates unique strategies for site access, traffic control, life safety, vertical adjacencies, outdoor space, sport facilities, and district cooling. The campus marries GEMS’ programmatic needs with local requirements and provides a new model for high-rise K12 school construction in an arena of limited precedents. GEMS provides access to a global network of resources and a broad cultural interface; extensive use of state-of-the-art technology facilitates collaboration between classrooms around the world, providing students with an international perspective on education and nurturing global citizenship.

​With more than 25 years of professional experience, Lynne Sorkin has built an expertise in architectural and interior design projects. Her design, management and technical understanding can be applied to programming, master planning, space planning, design, technical coordination and contract administration. She has experience with both public and private clients.

As the firm’s Education Practice Leader, Lynne brings notable experience to bKL in the Pre-K-12 and University market sectors. Through prior leadership positions as an owner’s representative to Chicago Public Schools on multi-building capital programs, Lynne was instrumental in project scope identification, design guidelines, budgets, and oversight of the planning and design of new buildings, additions, and renovations for nearly 100 schools. Lynne was selected by the client to act as the Board of Education’s direct agent during their $1.4 billion Modern Schools Across Chicago program, involving numerous new facilities seeking to achieve LEED Silver Ratings or higher.

Lynne received both her master’s degree in architecture and bachelor of arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a licensed architect in the State of Illinois and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Lynne has served on the Board of the Chicago AIA Foundation for more than 8 years and is the foundation’s immediate past President. She is a member of Chicago Women in Architecture, previously serving as Lecture Series Chair and Foundation President. Lynne is also a member of IASBO and SCUP.

With over 15 years of professional experience, Srdjan Avram is adept in all phases of project development, leading projects from early phase programming through construction documentation and contract administration.

He has worked with both public- and private-sector clients on a range of projects in the US, China and Korea. He has experience with institutional facilities, mixed use developments, office buildings, corporate headquarters and corporate interiors; his specialty is residential and educational building types.

Srdjan’s notable educational projects include GEMS Lower School and Middle-Upper School, South Shore International College Preparatory High School, Eric Solorio Academy High School, College of DuPage Technology Education Center, and Westinghouse High School.

Working with the Public Building Commission of Chicago, Srdjan brought technical expertise in construction and sustainability to several new construction LEED Gold rated school facilities for use by Chicago Public Schools.

Srdjan studied architecture at the University of Belgrade before transferring to the University of Illinois at Chicago. He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture at UIC and is a licensed architect in the State of Illinois. Srdjan is also a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and a LEED Accredited Professional.

An accomplished architect with over 35 years of experience, Fritz Morris leads the important work for GEMS real estate development, construction and operations and maintenance of GEMS state-of-the art and sustainable school facilities. 

Fritz oversees the building design, real estate search/acquisitions, facility development, and daily maintenance and operations for GEMS Education Inc. After developing the architectural programs, design standards and specifications, he manages the feasibility analysis and the search for potential school sites. He then works with real estate developers, brokers, architects, engineers, consultants and construction managers to design and construct school facilities. He also coordinates and manages the GEMS School operating engineers and facility managers.

A LEED Accredited Professional, Fritz is at the forefront of the green building movement. In addition to being both functional and visually striking, all of the GEMS Schools are designed to be sustainable buildings, meaning that they are both environmentally and economically sound. By leading this sustainable design effort, Fritz helps ensure that GEMS Schools are both healthy and productive places for students to learn and thrive. 

Fritz earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, and Art, with additional studies at New York University School of Real Estate and Parsons School of Design. Fritz is a Registered Architect in New York and Connecticut, a member of American Institute of Architects, the Construction Specifications Institute, the National Council for Architectural Registration (NCARB) and is a LEED Accredited Professional with the US Green Building Council.

Second Morning Presentation: 
​Mr. Michael Siegel, AIA 
Principal, Stantec

Mr. David E. Eckmann, SE, PE, FAIA
Managing Principal, Magnussen Klemencic Associates Structural + Civil Engineers

Creating the Vertical Campus
In designing Roosevelt University’s Wabash Tower, the architect and engineers focused on the alignment of the University’s Mission statement founded in the principals of social justice and the purpose of the school to create a complete campus and education experience. Constructed in Chicago as a response to an urban university’s need for a building of the 21st Century, The architect and structural engineers will present the design and structural response to a complex program and site.

Coordinating the vertical stack and column grids of a high-rise education facility can be challenging, given the various area and volume requirements of a typical educational facility program. MKA will explain how the structural challenges were addressed for the Roosevelt University Wabash Building; a high profile education tower located directly adjacent to the historic Auditorium Building that includes 17 floors of student housing stacked above classrooms above student services. Solutions included sloped and hung columns, an asymmetrically located core, and a series of new caissons that thread through existing caissons that remain from a student housing tower that previously occupied the site.  

Mike Siegel is a design Architect with over 30 years of experience with a variety of project types including institutional, corporate, mixed-use developments and residential.  

His responsibilities have ranged from design and project architect to technical and managing architect. As a senior designer, he honors the project vision to design distinctive places that reflect legacy and aspiration.  

Mike earned a Bachelor Degree of Architecture from Syracuse University in 1983, and in addition to working with Roosevelt University, has worked on Higher Education projects at North Park University, University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin, in addition to the Lucas Museum for Narrative Art and the Swedish Embassy in Washington DC.

As Managing Principal of MKA's Chicago office, David E. Eckmann, offers 31 years of unique engineering experience. A Chicago native who has worked in the city for years, he has led the structural design of several of the most notable structures in the Midwest including Aqua, River Point Tower, Chicago O'Hare International Terminal 5, Blue Cross Blue Shield Vertical Expansion (300 N. Randolph), Roosevelt University's Wabash Building, Wolf Point East, as well as the 800-acre Epic Systems campus and Northwestern Mutual Life Corporate Headquarters in Wisconsin. 

Dave is educated and licensed as both an architect and a structural engineer, giving him a unique and collaborative approach to integrating architecture and structure.  
Third Morning Presentation:
​Mr. Kyle Androf
Consultant, Jensen Hughes

Mr. John Carosello
Security Associate, Jensen Hughes

Planning Security for High-Rise Educational Facilities
Developing security designs and programs for the educational environment can differ from other project types. This is especially true for high-rise educational facilities. While the goal of securing critical assets (people, information and property) are the same, the means and methods to do so can vary. 

With high-rise facilities, there are often multiple user-groups that will occupy the building and, as such, compartmentalization and vertical access throughout the site must be carefully planned. This differs from a traditional school setting. It is important that proper coordination between the appropriate parties occurs to develop a setting that is both secure and inviting at the same time.  

This presentation will discuss the different techniques and concepts our firm has utilized to secure high-rise education facilities via physical, technical and operational security implementations including unique compartmentalization methods, vertical access control and CPTED concepts.

Kyle Andorf is a Consultant with Jensen Hughes and has nearly a decade of experience in the security consulting and design industry. He has been involved in a multitude security systems design, consulting and assessment projects. Kyle has worked on projects involving all aspects of security including physical, technical and operational. Mr. Andorf’s projects have included work within higher education and university, healthcare, retail, hospitality, financial, mega-project and high-rise vertical markets. He is well versed in access control, surveillance and emergency communication systems as well as security master planning efforts.

As a consultant, Kyle works with architects, developers, end-users and ownership groups to ensure the security program is well planned, integrated into the architecture and has the foresight to adapt to future changes. Kyle is directly responsible for developing security concepts that are flexible to meet specific needs of his clients and the end users
John Carosello is a Security Associate with Jensen Hughes and is a certified Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) practitioner. Mr. Carosello has worked on a variety of projects involving technical security systems designs for many different verticals including government and educational facilities. John often works closely with architects, design engineers, security directors, school resource officers and federal employees. Mr. Carosello was recently involved in the implementation of an Emergency Operations Plan for a local high school district and was responsible for making recommendations towards improved approaches for safety and security in the schools.
Fourth Morning Presentation:
​Mr. Michael Palmer
Principal , Perkins + Will

Ms. Erin Lavin Cabonargi
Director, Sterling Bay

A High-Rise High School for Chicago: William Jones Preparatory High School
Learn how the diverse program elements of a selective-enrollment high school, typically spread across a low-rise high-school building, were successfully combined in a new high rise building just south of Chicago’s Loop.

Public Building Commission of Chicago commissioned the Perkins+Will team to design a new school for 1,200 students on a restricted urban site along State Street. Goals of the PBC and Chicago Public Schools included new 21st-century learning spaces and large-span spaces such as an auditorium, gymnasium and swimming pool, all meeting CPS standards. The result was a seven story 278,000 SF building with a unique stacking plan to vertically disperse the program. Other features include active design elements, connection with the neighborhood, and adaptation with the adjacent existing 1960s Jones High School complex. After its opening in 2013, the building has received widespread recognition in the Chicago area as well as national publication. Learn also how Jones College Prep is an easily replicable model for other urban high schools. 

Michael Palmer has more than 30 years of professional experience and has had significant project responsibilities on many mixed-use, Higher Ed and K-12 educational and corporate facilities. His strength is in managing complex projects; over the last ten years, most of those projects had a construction cost between from $25 million and $700 million.

As an architect and Managing Principal with Perkins+Will in Chicago. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in managing large, complex projects for the design of educational, office and mixed-use facilities. Mike’s large-scale projects at Perkins+Will range from the Block 37 urban center and a high-rise high school, both in downtown Chicago, to internationally renowned projects such as three towers in the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and the new all-women Princess Nora University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (Master of Architecture) and University of Notre Dame (Bachelor of Arts).

Erin Lavin Cabonargi serves as the Director of Development Services for Sterling Bay, a Chicago-based commercial real estate investment and development firm, overseeing the company’s planning, design and construction phase activities.

Prior to joining Sterling Bay in 2015, Erin was a leader in public sector development and a Cabinet member to Chicago Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel. Most recently, Erin served as the Executive Director of the Public Building Commission of Chicago, appointed in 2008 and successfully delivering nearly $3 billion of new development, major capital renovation, infrastructure, surveillance, technology and asset repositioning work on behalf of sister agencies and municipalities. Erin also had significant facility management responsibilities, inclusive of the Richard J. Daley Center, one of the nation’s largest courthouses and civic gathering spaces.

Prior to her public service, Erin served in leadership and project development roles for OWP/P Architects and The Architects Partnership where she managed build-to-suit, renovation and repositioning work in the commercial, retail and institutional markets. Erin received her Bachelor of Environmental Design from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, with additional studies in Florence and Munich.  
Round Table - - Q/A:
​Ms. Aimee Eckmann – Moderator
Perkins + Will

Ms. Lynne Sorkin - Panelist
bKL Architecture

Mr. Srdjan Avram - Panelist
bKL Architecture

Mr. Fritz Morris - Panelist
GEMS America

Mr. Michael Siegel - Panelist

Mr. David E. Eckmann - Panelist
MKA Structural + Civil Engineers

Mr. Kyle Androf
Consultant, Jensen Hughes

Mr. John Carosello
Security Associate, Jensen Hughes

Mr. Michael Palmer - Panelist
Perkins + Will

Ms. Erin Lavin Cabonargi. - Panelist, 
Sterling Bay and former Executive Director of the 
Public Building Commission of Chicago  


  • AIA: Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects
  • CTBUH: Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
  • UL: Underwriters Laboratory Fire Council
  • Illinois Green Alliance