Larry has been a principal of Wheeler Kearns Architects since 1990, after joining the firm in 1988. As a member of the firm, Larry has contributed as project architect for commissions such as Muchin College Prep, The Ancona School, the Old Town School of Folk Music, the Orchard Residence, the Depaul Residence, and a series of senior-focused Cafes for the Mather Foundation throughout Chicago.
He was recently the Project Principal for two LEED projects including the award winning Inspiration Kitchens in Chicago’s East Garfield Park and the Exelon Gymnasium. He is currenlty working on a new early childhood education faciltiy for the University of Chicago and the Midwest’s first high school dedicated to serving students with Learning Disabilities. Larry is also serving as the project architect for the Midewin National Tallgrass Praitie Learning Center, a zero-energy facility which will be funded by the National Forest Foundation.
In 2010, Larry was an invited to conferences organized by the US Department of Commerce held in Paris during which he presented to eight US Ambassadors delineating strategies that can be employed to “green” the Embassies overseas. In December 2008, the Chicago Tribune named Lawrence Kearns and Daniel Wheeler Chicagoans of the Year in Architecture.
Larry spent his first 23 years in south Florida and graduated from the University of Miami School of Architecture in 1985 where he obtained a Bachelor of Architecture, Magna Cum Laude. He attended the Universitario di Venezia for the spring term in 1984 and won three student design competitions during his studies. Larry worked in the offices of Jan Hochstim, AIA in South Miami from 1981 to 1985. During that time, he headed an award-winning renovation project for the University of Miami School of Architecture.
In 1985, Larry joined Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago. As the senior designer for the infrastructure of Canary Wharf, he oversaw the design of an international financial center on a 71-acre site in London. Larry co-authored the design guidelines for parcel development for 12 million square feet of new office and trading space.
He has lectured at the Chicago offices of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Architectural Club, the University of Miami, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Chicago Art Deco Society, and at multiple AIA Professional Development Conferences. For the past seven years, Larry has delivered a series of lectures and prepared mock exams for individuals preparing for the Architectural Registration Exam. By invitation from the Chicago Cultural Facilities Fund, Larry has lectured numerous times to not-for-profit groups in the City of Chicago who are contemplating new construction projects. His work has been published in The Chicago Architectural Journal, Trends, The Chicago Tribune, and is included in the permanent collection of the White House.
Affiliations include the American Institute of Architects , the US Green Building Council and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). Larry has served as chair of the education committee and on the Board of the Chicago Chapter of CSI. As a recognized expert witness, he has testified in the Circuit Court of Cook County regarding construction topics. Larry is a registered architect in the State of Illinois, a certified LEED professional, a registered energy professional with the City of Chicago, a registered Self-Certification professional with the City of Chicago, a member of the International Code Council, and a licensed soccer coach.
Larry is married to Winnie Kearns, a social worker who manages DePaul's Family Mental Health Center. Larry, Winnie and their children Colleen, Kevin and Olivia live in Oak Park.