Calli Verkamp

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Calli loves designing both new and renovated spaces that improve the lives of the people that use them. She enjoys the collaborative nature of design and enjoys working towards a common goal with every project team she’s involved in.

Calli joined Wheeler Kearns in 2013 and became a Principal in 2023. A native Arkansan, she received her Bachelor of Architecture from the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas.

During college, Calli spent a semester at the University of Arkansas Rome Center in Rome and participated in a Latin American Urban Studio in Cuzco, Peru, where she learned about local architecture and hiked the Inca Trail. Before moving to Chicago, Calli interned at Architecture Plus, Inc. in Arkansas, where she worked on several residential projects and a Middle School in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

Since joining WKA Calli has worked on a mix of project types, from single-family residential to adaptive reuse institutional projects. Her experience includes the Ryan Learning Center at the Art Institute of Chicago, Wicker Park Residence, Intelligentsia Monadnock, and the Chicago Children’s Theatre which involved the transformation of an abandoned 1947 police station building into a 149-seat studio performance space, classrooms and administration space. Calli was the lead project architect for The Momentary, which involves the adaptive reuse of a decommissioned Kraft Foods plant into a vibrant facility for innovative visual art, exhibition space, and performance venues for music, film, and theatre located in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Calli actively serves as a mentor in both the ACE Mentorship program and the AIA Chicago Diversity Scholarship program, and is a former mentor with Girl Forward in Chicago. She has lectured at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and has served as a visiting critic for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Design Studios. Calli has been involved in several Chicago AIA programs including Bridge and TransFORM, and currently serves as a Director for AIA Chicago and co-chairs their Technical Issues Knowledge Committee.

Calli is a registered architect in the state of Illinois and a LEED accredited professional. She and her husband live in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood.

2013                     . BArch, Fay Jones School of Architecture, University of Arkansas
Professional Experience
2023-present Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, Principal
2014-present Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, Project Architect
2013-2014 Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, Intern Architect
2013 Architecture Plus, Inc., Intern Architect
2012 Teaching Assistant, University of Arkansas
Professional Affiliations + Community Involvement
2022-present Board of Directors: AIA Chicago
2021-present Director at Large: Roscoe Village Neighbors
2021-present Co-Chair AIA Chicago Technical Issues Knowledge Community
2020-present Mentor: ACE Mentorship
2020-2021 Mentor: AIA Chicago Diversity Scholarship
2019-2020 Cohort Member: BONFIRE
2018-present US Green Building Council, LEED AP
2017 Chicago AIA Transform Scholar
2016 Chicago AIA Bridge Participant
2016-present American Institute of Architects, AIA Chicago
2016-present Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA)
2015-2020 Mentor: Girl Forward, Chicago
2014-2016 Mentor: Big Brother Big Sister, Chicago
2008-2013 AIAS Member, University of Arkansas Chapter
Lectures & Panels  
2021 National AIA Committee on Design: “Adaptive Reuse Excellence – Models to Define Value”
2020 AIA Arkansas: “Application of the Framework of Design Excellence”
2020 Design Talks “The Power of Public Space in a Digital Age”
2019 HPHS FOCUS on the ARTS “Architecture & Technology”
2017 CAF: “Current Projects: Renewing our Cultural Resources through Design”
2017 Guest Juror, SAIC Interior Design Graduate Program Design Review
Awards + Recognition  
2022 AIA Illinois John Wellborn Root for Emerging Professionals Award
2020 Fay Jones School Alumni Design Awards competition, The Momentary – Honor Award