Profile: Lucas Tryggestad, One of Chicago’s AIA Young Architects of the Year

People are always sending us e-mail messages asking for information about Chicago’s latest and greatest architecture.  Today we present another one of Chicago’s latest and greatest architects.

Lucas Tryggestad is one of five people from Chicagoland selected for this year’s AIA Young Architects Award.  The AIA describes him thusly:

SOM’s third Young Architects Award honoree, Tryggestad is an Associate Director and Studio Head who has led projects all over the world. Tryggestad employs a technical leadership in advancing high-performance design and sustainable development.

In a recent interview with the Chicago Architecture Blog’s Bill Motchan he tells us about his life and work.

Lucas Tryggestad

Lucas Tryggestad

  • Name: Lucas Tryggestad
  • Age: 36
  • University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2000)
  • Hometown: Cherry Valley, Illinois (near Rockford)
  • Last architecture book read: “The Vertical Transportation Handbook” by George R. Strakosch

Q: How did you make the decision to pursue a career in architecture?
A: The profession has the balance of art and engineering I was looking for in my academic pursuit.

Q: What do you like best about being an architect?
A: Every project leads to a different adventure. While we try to engage metrics in our project types, each one has different occupancies and use, scale, geographic location, cultural impact, client desires, etc, and that’s what makes them so very interesting. Just when we think we have it figured out, our industry experiences a game changer, whether it’s a renewed focus on sustainability or a period of economic adjustment.

Q: What’s your favorite building in Chicago?
A: Inland Steel (simple idea, pure form)

Q: What project you’ve worked on are you proudest of the result?
A: It’s difficult to choose, as the latest project at SOM is always the most exciting.  My experience working on Trump [International Hotel and] Tower here in Chicago was very fulfilling because it allowed me to work on a large scale, mixed-use project right here in my own backyard. Also, I started working on this project when it was on the boards. I was a young designer actually working on designing, detailing, and producing specific elements of the tower and site. Trump’s longevity allowed me to experience all aspects of a project’s various phases including the challenging task of representing SOM in the CA phase. It allowed me to grow within my role at SOM and helped develop my leadership skills.

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at

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