James Goettsch is the chairman and CEO of Goettsch Partners as well as the firm’s design director, responsible for developing the firm’s design talent and leading the direction and quality of design for the office.
Mr. Goettsch brings more than 40 years of professional experience. He has personally directed and has been involved in all phases of design and construction for buildings throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. His experience includes high-rise office, hotel and mixed-use developments; corporate headquarters facilities; academic and other institutional buildings; master plans; and renovation and repositioning assignments.
Noteworthy projects include the 33-story original building and 24-story “vertical completion” at 300 East Randolph in Chicago, also known as the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Headquarters; the five-building, 3 million-square-foot Abu Dhabi Global Market Square office complex in the UAE, which features the headquarters building of the Abu Dhabi Global Market; 111 South Wacker in Chicago, the first-ever project certified LEED-CS Gold; the China Diamond Exchange Center in Shanghai; the 4.5 million-square-foot Nanjing International Center mixed-use development; the 900-key Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residence, scheduled to be the largest hotel in the city; the Headquarters for the Americas for Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas in Glenview, Illinois; and Northwestern University’s new signature building for the Bienen School of Music, located along the lakefront of the school’s Evanston, Illinois, campus.
Mr. Goettsch received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Iowa State University. After two years in the military, he started his career in New York City. He later moved to Chicago to work for CF Murphy Associates, which became Murphy/Jahn. He remained with that firm for 19 years, including five years serving as principal in charge of the New York office. Mr. Goettsch joined Lohan Associates as a design principal in 1992 and helped guide the firm’s transition to Goettsch Partners in 2005.
In 1988, the American Institute of Architects named Mr. Goettsch a Fellow in recognition of his contributions to the profession. Throughout his career, he has been recognized by the AIA and other professional organizations and academic institutions with local, regional and national design awards, as well as invitations to speak publicly on design issues.
Mr. Goettsch is a member of the AIA, the Urban Land Institute, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and the Mies van der Rohe Society. He previously served on the boards of directors for both the AIA Chicago chapter and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
James Zheng is the president of Goettsch Partners. As such, he leads the firm’s overall business and management strategy, as well as daily operations. His perspective from working on projects in the U.S. and overseas has helped guide the firm’s global expansion. Through his efforts, the firm established a representative office in Shanghai in 2004. Today, the firm maintains a growing full-service office there staffed with both local and U.S.-trained professionals.
Some of Mr. Zheng’s recent projects include the 15-story, 535,000-square-foot China Diamond Exchange Center in Shanghai; the 37-story, 2 million-square-foot Grand Hyatt Chengdu at Chicony Plaza mixed-use development; the five-building, 5.1 million-square-foot China Resources Qianhai Center in Shenzhen; a 1.5 million-square-foot hospitality complex for Poly in Sanya, featuring a 250-key Rosewood hotel, serviced apartments, and the International Finance Forum; a 66-story, 1.9 million-square-foot mixed-use tower that features the Park Hyatt Guangzhou; and The Summit mixed-use complex in Suzhou, developed by Tishman Speyer. Select previous experience includes the 51-story UBS Tower office building in Chicago and the 470-key Grand Hyatt hotel in São Paulo, Brazil.
Mr. Zheng received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Since joining the firm in 1995, he has quickly risen to his leadership position with balanced strengths in design, marketing and management. In recognition of his wide-ranging talents and accomplishments, Mr. Zheng received the 2004 AIA Chicago Young Architect Award and was named among the Crain's Chicago Business 40 Under 40 in 2005. He is a member of the AIA, a registered LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of The Executives’ Club of Chicago.
He has served as a speaker at events held by AIA Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Tongji University. He has also been featured in such publications as The New York Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.
Michael Kaufman is a partner in the firm and typically serves as a managing partner on projects, leading and coordinating large design teams. Since joining the firm in 1979, he has worked on a wide range of projects, from corporate and commercial office buildings to hotels, academic and institutional facilities, and renovation and repositioning assignments.
Recent work includes
Northwestern University’s new signature Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center
for the Musical Arts in Evanston, Illinois; the underground exhibit facility
and home for the U-505 Submarine at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry;
the JW Marriott hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Grand Hyatt luxury hotels in Brazil,
Colombia and India; the new Viceroy Chicago hotel; the adaptive reuse of 360
North Michigan Avenue to serve as the LondonHouse Chicago hotel; and the adaptive reuse of the lower levels of Mies
van der Rohe’s IBM Building as the five-star Langham Chicago hotel. Select
corporate headquarters projects serve clients such as McDonald’s, Frito-Lay and
IBM. Mr. Kaufman further leads the firm’s renovation and repositioning work,
which includes more than 40 projects spanning early and mid-20th century
buildings throughout downtown Chicago and other select locations in the Midwest
Mr. Kaufman received a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a member of the AIA, a registered LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of the board of directors at the University Club of Chicago. He is also a past board member of the Design Professional Risk Control Group and the Glessner House Museum.
Joe Dolinar is a partner in the firm and typically serves as a managing partner on projects. Since starting in 1981, he has worked on some of the firm’s largest and most challenging assignments. Select projects include the 300 East Randolph Vertical Completion, an addition of 24 stories atop the existing 33-story office building that primarily serves as the headquarters of Health Care Service Corporation and its Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois division; the more than $600 million redevelopment of Soldier Field and North Burnham Park; the Park Monroe, which involved the conversion of the top 10 floors of the Mid-Continental Plaza building at 55 East Monroe into 219 luxury condominiums; and corporate and government headquarters projects in Cleveland, Ohio; Birmingham, Alabama; and Kansas City, Missouri.
Recent projects include large regional headquarters complexes in the Chicago suburbs for Swiss-based Zurich Insurance Group and Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas; the 18-story, 180-key Viceroy Chicago hotel; and the 46-story Park Tower at Transbay office building in San Francisco.
Mr. Dolinar received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame and his master’s from Ohio State University. He is a member of the AIA and currently serves on the board of directors for the Chicago affiliate of the ACE Mentor Program, a national program that serves high school youth who are exploring careers in architecture, construction and engineering.
Larry Weldon is a partner in the firm and the leader of the Enclosures Group, an in-house specialty group focused on all aspects of exterior building enclosures and systems. With his in-depth technical knowledge, he also oversees the firm’s quality assurance and quality control program, ensuring the clarity and consistency of the firm’s design drawings and the integrity of their development throughout the design process.
Given Mr. Weldon’s wide-ranging role in the firm, he is involved in some aspect of nearly every assignment. His expertise in curtain walls, in particular, is sought worldwide, as he has reviewed drawings by the firm, as well as by other architects, to assure proper detailing in order to mitigate building construction and maintenance issues. His focus has become increasingly important in contemporary architecture, as curtain wall and related building enclosure systems constantly change and can be a vital part of designs that are not just visually distinctive and beautiful but also optimally efficient and effective.
Mr. Weldon received a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1977. That same year, he joined Fujikawa Conterato Lohan Associates, direct successor to Mies van der Rohe’s practice and predecessor to Goettsch Partners. He started on the drafting tables and in the model shop, where he learned the minute details of building techniques and their use in expressive design. Over time, his technical interest sparked the development of an in-house group comprising architects and technical administrative staff that review all drawings for technical detailing and detailed specifications. Today, Mr. Weldon is a world-recognized expert in construction technologies, and his role is a safeguard against inefficiencies and failures in building performance.
Mr. Weldon is a member of the AIA and the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings. He was also actively involved in the recent review of the Chicago Building Code.
Ying (Claire) Chen is a principal in the firm with more than 20 years of professional experience. Based in the firm’s Shanghai office, she is a key leader for projects throughout China.
Ms. Chen typically serves as a senior project architect, staying involved with projects from conception through completion. Given her technical background in façade systems and previous experience working at leading firms in China, she is responsible for coordinating the design and technical aspects of several projects, with a particular focus on large, multi-building mixed-use complexes.
Ms. Chen received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Tongji University. She is also a Class 1 Registered Architect.
Paul De Santis is a principal and senior project designer at Goettsch Partners. As such, he serves as the lead designer on many of the firm’s projects in China and the U.S. Continually focused on developing the studio culture in both the Chicago and Shanghai offices, he directs designs for office, hotel and mixed-use developments.
Mr. De Santis excels at setting a high level of design quality within exceptionally tight timeframes. He further brings a deep respect and passion for the design process, and he is constantly challenging himself and those around him to elevate the thought and execution behind each project.
Recent work in China includes the 980-foot-tall R&F Yinkai Square mixed-use tower, which features the 208-key Park Hyatt Guangzhou; the 1,460-foot-tall Nanning China Resources Center Tower, which features the 270-key Shangri-La Nanning; the 44-story, 370-key Grand Hyatt Dalian; and the 242-key Hotel Kapok Shenzhen Bay. Select work in the U.S. includes the 783,800-square-foot LEED Platinum-certified Zurich North America Headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, and the 18-story, 180-key Viceroy hotel in downtown Chicago.
Mr. De Santis received a Bachelor of
Architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,
and he is a registered LEED Accredited Professional.
Len Koroski is a principal and senior project architect at Goettsch Partners. Joining in 1979, he has spent the majority of his career at the firm.
Mr. Koroski has a particular expertise and passion for historically sensitive projects, including renovation, preservation and adaptive reuse assignments. This work has primarily focused on buildings in downtown Chicago, including signature properties such as the iconic Wrigley Building, the Jewelers Building at 35 East Wacker Drive, the Civic Opera Building, and Union Station, as well as several buildings along LaSalle Street and Michigan Avenue. He has also been involved in the recent adaptive reuse of two office buildings that were partially and fully converted into new hotels: The Langham Chicago and LondonHouse Chicago respectively.
Mr. Koroski has extensive experience in historical research, materials analysis, and life safety and infrastructure improvements. He has worked with the Chicago Landmarks Commission, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and the National Park Service in obtaining historically sensitive and pragmatic reviews of projects. In addition, Mr. Koroski is a LEED Accredited Professional with an interest in environmental stewardship and efficiency in older buildings.
Outside the firm, Mr. Koroski has held key volunteer roles in the American Institute of Architects, serving as the president of AIA Illinois, a member of the AIA national board of directors, and co-chair of the AIA national Committee on the Environment.
Mr. Koroski received his
Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was
elevated to the distinguished AIA College of Fellows in 2012.
Patrick Loughran is a principal at Goettsch Partners, a noted façade expert and the author of two façade books: Falling Glass and Failed Stone. Licensed as both an architect and engineer, he serves in dedicated project roles and is a key member of the firm’s Enclosures Group, an in-house team of professionals specializing in exterior building envelopes and systems. He is a regular national presenter and has been quoted in The New York Times and served as the “glass expert” on the National Public Radio show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”
Mr. Loughran has distinguished himself in the field with several notable achievements. In 1999, he was awarded the Francis J. Plym Traveling Fellowship, allowing him to study building enclosure advances throughout Europe. His research became the catalyst for a series of lectures in the United States on building enclosure innovations. In 2003, German publisher Birkhäuser released his first book, Falling Glass: Problems and Solutions in Contemporary Architecture, which summarizes several years of research on building enclosure issues. The New York Times referred to the book as the "architect’s bible on how to prevent glass from failing,” and Architecture Magazine called it an "indispensable title.” Initially published in English, this book has now been translated into German and Chinese for international distribution.
In the fall of 2004, Mr. Loughran received a grant from the Graham Foundation to write a second book—this time, on the limitations and innovations related to concrete, stone and masonry. Failed Stone: Problems and Solutions with Concrete and Masonry was released in 2006, again by Birkhäuser. Architectural Record described the book as “informative, entertaining and humbling.”
Mr. Loughran holds a
Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre
Dame and a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2009, and he
is a LEED Accredited Professional.
Joachim Schuessler is a principal and senior project designer in the firm, either leading or collaborating in the conceptual design efforts for projects and continuing to articulate and evolve designs through all phases. He has worked on a range of office, hotel, mixed-use, institutional and government projects, and he is particularly experienced with international assignments. As a senior designer, he is involved with coordinating all aspects of a building’s design and technical development, including core-and-shell components, the building enclosure, and program requirements.
Recent work includes 150 North Riverside, a core-supported, 54-story, 1.2 million-square-foot office tower in downtown Chicago overlooking the Chicago River; Mennica Legacy Tower, a two-building, 1.1 million-square-foot office complex in Warsaw, Poland; the Shenzhen Guanze Development in Shenzhen, China, a 3.4 million-square-foot multi-use complex, including retail, Class A office space, a five-star hotel, and apartments; and two hotels in Saudi Arabia: the 900-key Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residence and the Wyndham Grand Riyadh – KAFD, a 214-key hotel in the King Abdullah Financial District.
Schuessler holds a Bachelor
of Arts in Architecture from Leipzig University of Applied Sciences in Germany,
and he received his Master of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of
As a principal and senior project designer at Goettsch Partners, Scott Seyer has played an integral role in the design of many national and international projects, including some of the firm’s highest profile assignments. He helps define the initial concepts for projects and articulates their evolution. Involved in projects from start to finish, Mr. Seyer also helps assure the integrity and functionality of each project design, working in collaboration with the full design and consultant team.
Select recent work includes the 46-story, 804,000-square-foot Park Tower at Transbay office building in San Francisco; the Northwestern University Ryan Center for the Musical Arts in Evanston, Illinois; two office and headquarters buildings in the UAE for Al Hilal Bank; three 50-story commercial office towers along Chicago’s Wacker Drive; and a 40-story, 517,000-square-foot headquarters tower for an electronics company in Taipei, Taiwan.
Mr. Seyer received his
Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Kansas and his MBA, with
a concentration in Real Estate Finance, from DePaul University’s Kellstadt
Graduate School of Business. He is a member of the American Institute of
Architects and a registered LEED Accredited Professional.
Travis Soberg is a principal and senior project architect at Goettsch Partners, as well as the firm’s director of sustainable design. Mr. Soberg joined GP in 1998 and has worked on some of the firm’s most prominent projects. With the growth and expansion of the firm’s international work, Soberg has played a pivotal role in leading the technical design direction on large-scale office, hotel and mixed-use projects, with a primary focus on supertall towers.
Key projects in China include the 980-foot-tall R&F Yinkai Square mixed-use tower, which features the 208-key Park Hyatt Guangzhou; the 1,010-foot-tall Jin Mao Plaza, including the 231-key Westin Nanjing; and the 1,460-foot-tall Nanning China Resources Center Tower, which features the 270-key Shangri-La Nanning. Select additional projects include the Rosewood Sanya and International Finance Forum complex in Sanya, China, and the Grand Hyatt Bogotá in Bogotá, Colombia.
In leading the firm’s sustainable design efforts, Mr. Soberg promotes an approach to sustainability that is fundamental to the firm’s practice and integral to the quality of GP’s work. Sustainable solutions are developed as attentive responses to the specifics of a project and are celebrated when they bring measurable value to clients. In recognition of his efforts to promote sustainable design, Mr. Soberg received the 2010 AIA Chicago President’s Citation for Services on the 2030 Challenge Committee, where he helped establish the method for uniformly measuring progress for all firms in their efforts toward the 2030 reduction goal.
Mr. Soberg is a member of
the AIA and a LEED Accredited Professional. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture
degree from Penn State University.
Louis Vavaroutsos is a principal and senior project designer in the firm. Over the course of his career, he has worked on a range of office, hotel, mixed-use, institutional, health care and laboratory projects. Most recently, he has focused on the design of several multi-building mixed-use complexes in China.
Select projects include the five-tower, 5 million-square-foot Qianhai Development in Shenzhen and the 10-building, 4.7 million-square-foot Chancheng Greenland Center in Foshan. He also led the firm’s competition entry for the 2,300-foot-tall SIP Zhongnan Center mixed-use tower, scheduled to be China’s tallest building.
Outside the office, Mr. Vavaroutsos is an adjunct design faculty member at the College of DuPage and has been an invited critic and lecturer at the University of Illinois, Washington University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is deeply interested in the architecture of humanism with a passion for creating experiential architecture that fosters a meaningful sense of place.
Mr. Vavaroutsos holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture with a Design Emphasis, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a member of the American Institute of Architects.