Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) is pleased to announce that Sara Beardsley has been elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows. SCB celebrates this well-deserved recognition of Sara and her contributions to the field of architecture, particularly her commitment to advancing the technical standards of practice, her career-long role as a thought-leader, mentor, and researcher in the area of tall buildings, and her achievements in realizing technical designs with global impact while increasing industry-wide focus on carbon reduction in the built environment.
“I have worked on large-scale projects and tall buildings for over twenty years now, and have had the privilege of working alongside amazing design teams in order to deliver them,” said Sara. “I’ve always tried to make it a priority to collaborate, share knowledge and research, and mentor the next generation. I am incredibly honored to be elevated to AIA Fellowship.”
As an Associate Principal at SCB, Sara is focused on advancing the firm’s deep portfolio of mixed-use, high-rise projects across the nation. She is currently the lead project architect on both the 34-story, 500-key luxury Bally’s Hotel tower and 357 N. Green Street, a large-scale office tower on a challenging urban site in Chicago’s booming Fulton Market District.
Sara has previously held roles as Technical Director at AS+GG, and Studio Head and Technical Coordinator at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Projects prior to SCB include the 50-story FKI Headquarters in Korea, which features an integrated solar exterior wall; the 40-story Broadgate Office Tower in London; 830 Brickell Plaza, a 53-story office tower in Miami; the expansion of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company campus, including the city’s only theater-in-the-round; the 95-story 401 N. Wabash (Trump Tower) mixed-use residential and hotel tower along the Chicago River; and the renovation of Mies Van Der Rohe’s Dirksen Federal Courthouse in the heart of downtown Chicago.
Sara consistently invests time in research, mentorship, and committee leadership: this year, she will be presenting at the AIA Conference on Architecture. She currently serves on the City of Chicago’s Committee on Design, the first of its kind in the city’s history, and the Chicago Committee on High-Rise Buildings. She has lectured at local universities, and events ranging from Greenbuild and Facades+ to the AIA Women’s Leadership Summit. Her research has been published in the CTBUH Journal, the Tall Buildings Reference Guide, and most recently has contributed to Supertall | Megatall: How High Can We Go? and Residensity: A Carbon Analysis of Residential Typologies. Sara received her Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.