Sharlene Young

Sharlene graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelors of Architecture in 1988, after spending a semester in Rome where she prepared her Thesis. While at Cornell, she co-founded Cornell Architecture – Studio Projects, a compilation of student projects.

Prior to joining Wheeler Kearns Architects, Sharlene’s experience includes new campus planning & design for the Chicago School of Professional Psychology; new workplace design and prototype for Accenture in Chicago, and DLA Piper Rudnick in Chicago; product analysis for Herman Miller; strategic planning and workplace analysis for McKinsey & Company in Chicago; interior architecture for Crate & Barrel’s headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, and The Wyatt Company in Wellesley, Massachusetts; renovation of 303 E Wacker Drive Public Spaces in Chicago, and Baldwin-Wallace College Chapel in Berea, Ohio. Independent projects include Hsu Residence, various competitions, and jewelry design and fabrication.

With Wheeler Kearns Architects, Sharlene has served as Project Architect on various projects, including Lakeshore Drive Residence, UChicago Child Development Center–Stony Island, the restoration and adaptive reuse of Studio V in Louis Sullivan’s last built commission, and Krause Music Store in Chicago. Sharlene has also brought her extensive interiors experience to a number of not-for-profit projects in addition to residential projects, including Interior Design for Orchard Willow Residence, Herman Residence, and Eugenie Residence. Current projects include a Gold Coast Residence Renovation and a Condominium Interior Design.  Sharlene also founded WKA-University or “WKA-U” to foster a learning organization, to leverage and share knowledge within the firm. 

Recognized for innovation in design by the American Institute of Architects, Chicago Chapter, Sharlene received the Young Architect Award in 2001. Other awards include AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Honor Award for Lakeshore Drive Residence in 2013; AIA Illinois Crombie Taylor Honor Award for Krause Music Store in 2008; BOMA’s TOBY award for 303 East Wacker Drive in 2000; AIA Chicago Citation of Merit for the Hsu Residence in 1998; AIA Chicago Citation of Merit for The Wyatt Company in 1996; and IBD’s Best of Competition and Award of Merit for the Baldwin-Wallace College Chapel in 1992. Honors include serving as a juror for AIA Chicago’s Young Architect Award; AIA Cleveland’s Design Excellence Award; the AIA Chicago Award; and the IIDA’s NEOCON Booth and Showroom Award. Sharlene served as keynote speaker at the annual AIAS Forum in 2002. Independent publications include the Hsu Residence in Chicago Magazine and Residential Architect.

Sharlene is a registered architect in the State of Ohio, and an active member of AIA Chicago, where she chaired the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community in 2001. Active in the community, Sharlene served on Sheffield Neighborhood Association’s Board of Directors, and Gilda’s Club Chicago’s Associate Board. Sharlene was the deputy chair for Sheffield Neighborhood Association’s Planning Review Board and a member of the Advisory Committee for Columbia College’s Art and Design Department, and Harrington College of Design’s School of Architecture.

1998                    . BArch, Cornell University
Professional Experience
2005-present Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, Project Architect
2003-2005 Lieber Design Group, Chicago, Director of Design
2000-2003 Gary Lee Partners, Chicago, Senior Associate
1996-2000 The Environments Group (now part of Perkins & Will), Chicago, Senior Design Manager
1993-1996 Perkins and Will, Chicago, Senior Designer
1992-1993 Gensler, San Francisco, Designer
1988-1992 Westlake Reed Leskosky, Cleveland, Designer
1998-2001 Kent State University, SAED, Adjunct Professor
1991 Kent State University, SAED – G201 Gallery, Curator
1986 “Cornell Architecture – Studio Projects” Volume 1 Journal Editor & Co-Founder
Professional Registration
Professional Affiliations
1993-present American Institute of Architects, Member
2016-present Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA)
2001 AIA, Chair, Interior Architecture Knowledge Communities
2004-2005 Sheffield Neighborhood Association, Board Member
2004-2005 Sheffield Neighborhood Association, Planning Review Board – Deputy Chair
2004-2005 Gilda’s Club, Chicago, Associate Board Member
2005 Harrington College of Design, Advisory Board Member
2005 Columbia College of Design, Advisory Board Member
1990-1992 Kent State University, SAED – G201, Board Member
Lectures and Panels
2015 NAEYC’s Annual Conference, “A Natural Place to Begin Life Long Learning”
2015 Chicago Architecture Foundation, Open House – Studio V
2014 AIA National Convention, “Thinking Small on Big Campus”
2014 National SCUP (Society for College and University Planning) Convention, “Thinking Small on Big Campus”
2014 USGBC Building Chicago/Greening the Heartland Conference, “Meditating Learning w/Big Nature at UChicago Daycare”
2014 Chicago Architecture Foundation, Open House – Studio V
2013 Chicago Architecture Foundation, Open House – UChicago Child Development Center, Stony Island
2007 Chicago Architecture Foundation, Open House – Studio V
1998 Citation of Merit, Hsu Residence, AIA Chicago Chapter
1991 ACSA Annual Conference, “Hypothesis”
Individual Honors
1998 Citation of Merit, Hsu Residence, AIA Chicago Chapter
1991 Young Architect Award, AIA Chicago Chapter
1991 Urban Follies Design Competition, Denver, Finalist
Individual Exhibitions
1998 “Hsu Residence” Sandusky Cultural Center, Sandusky
1992 “Dialogue House” Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art
1990 “Pictorial Rhythm” G201 Gallery, Kent State University
1990 “Hypothesis” National AIA Conference, Houston
1990 “Hypothesis” National ACSA Conference, San Francisco