Carol Ross Barney
Carol Ross Barney / Courtesy Ross Barney Architects
Bahai House of Worship
Bah''' House of Worship / Courtesy Wikipedia
Green Mill
Green Mill / Courtesy Thomas Hawk via Flickr
Glessner House Museum
Glessner House Museum / Courtesy Wikipedia



Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, is the founder and design principal of Ross Barney Architects. Her building designs have received numerous honors, including 4 Institute Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and over 30 AIA Chicago Design Awards.

Ross Barney is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Following graduation, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica planning national parks. She currently teaches an advanced Design Studio at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and serves on their College Board of Overseers.

The new CTA Cermak Station, South Campus Central Chiller Plant for The Ohio State University, the Illinois Accelerator Research Center at FermiLab, two new schools for Stillwater Oklahoma and the design of the Chicago Riverwalk are among the studio’s recent projects.


Best Historic Architecture

There are a couple of buildings that come to mind. The Inland Steel Building, a modernist building where I had my studio for over a decade, and Crown Hall at IIT, where I teach. Both ‘historic’ in a sense that these are important, modernist buildings that form our rich diversity of architecture here in Chicago. Both should not be missed on any tour of Chicago.

Best Off-the-Beaten Path Architecture

The Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette: Spend a couple of hours walking through the lush gardens and wonder at the breathtaking, concrete lace-like structure. And you can take the CTA Red or Purple line north to the end of the line (through various neighborhoods) and walk 4 blocks. It’s worth the trip!

Best Museums and Galleries

You really don’t want to miss our treasured and world class Art Institute of Chicago with its new-ish Modern Wing by Renzo Piano.

Best Restaurants

Havana for good Cuban food that’s hidden in the River North Hotel District. And then to Theory for drinks or burgers in a friendly “Cheers” type of atmosphere.

Best Bars/Clubs 

If you’ve never been to Chicago, it’s worth a trip to the Green Mill for jazz. It’s a throwback to the days of Al Capone, he went there often, and you can get to it on the Red Line North CTA at the Lawrence Station.

Best Excursions

Absolutely take a CAF river tour and a bus tour of the city. Both offer unique perspectives and then you’ll know what you want to see more of!

Best Neighborhoods

If you’re an architect and/or history buff, you’ll enjoy a walk through the Prairie Avenue Historic District. Here is the heart of Chicago’s history and it’s near the McCormick Place Convention Center. Start at the Glessner House Museum on Prairie Avenue.