Dan Wheeler

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Dan works and practices to educate colleagues, clients, students and himself about the never-ending potential for architecture to elevate every-day experience, and to the responsibility that comes with this every optimistic endeavor.

Dan Wheeler is a founding principal of Wheeler Kearns Architects, and is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his education at the Rhode Island School of Design, including two years study in Rome. Prior to establishing his own practice in 1987, he was an Associate and Studio head at Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Chicago (1981-87).

Dan is the recipient of a NEA Traveling Fellowship (1979), the CCAIA Young Architect Award (1984), AIA Fellowship (1998), the Chicago Tribune’s “Chicagoan of the Year” in Architecture along with Lawrence Kearns (2008), and the AIA Illinois Nathan Ricker Clifford Award for Architectural Education (2017). Among numerous design awards of the firm, he is most proud of the two CCAIA Firm Awards WKA has received (1996, 2016), for overall significance and legacy of the practice.

Dan has served as Interim Director for both the Graham Foundation and the UIC School of Architecture. He has been a consulting architect / educator to the Rural Studio since 2002. He writes, lectures, and frequently sits on professional and academic juries. His prolific work and influence spans project type; public institutions, non-profit organizations, and private commissions. He draws to see, to test, to explain, and to build places of authenticity.

Dan is a registered architect in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado and Arkansas.

Dan loves his wife Julie, their two children, their grandchildren, and what he does. He is indebted to his teachers, colleagues, partners, respected peers in all disciplines and trades, for their help in guiding the way.

1981 BFA, Rhode Island School of Design
1980 BFA, Rhode Island School of Design
Professional Experience
1990-present Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, Principal
1987-1990 Daniel Wheeler Architects, Chicago, Principal
1985-1987 SOM, Chicago, Associate, Studio Head
1984-1985 Himmel Bonner Architects, Chicago, Project Architect
1981-1985 SOM, Chicago, Project Architect
1977-1981 Machado Silvetti Architects, Boston, Intern Architect
Academic Experience
2008-present University of Illinois at Chicago, Professor
2005-2006 University of Illinois at Chicago, Interim Director, SOA
2001-2008 University of Illinois at Chicago, Asssociate Professor
1992-2001 University of Illinois at Chicago, Adjunct Associate
1988-1989 University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Chicago Chair
Professional Registration
Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Arkansas, and Missouri
Professional Affiliations
2009-present Elected CCAIA Bridge Program Mentor
2007-present AIA National Committee on Design
1998-present American Institute of Architects, Fellow
2002-present The Rural Studio, Auburn University, Visiting Architect
2004-present Chicago Architectural Club, Advisory Committee Member
2000-present Marwen Foundation, Architecture Program Advisor
2000-present Graham Foundation, Trustee, Grant Review Committee
2005-2006 Graham Foundation, Interim Director
2002-2005 Architecture and Design Society, Board Member
1995-1998 Architecture Alliance – Chicago Historical Society, Trustee and Director
Recent Lectures, Panel Discussions, Presentations, and National Juries
2022 “Porch Patter: Stories by Dan”, lecture, Rural Studio, Auburn University
2021 Three day drawing Workshop, lecture, reviews, Rural Studio, Auburn University.
2021 Influence Across Fields: Oklahoma State University, Randy Sietzinger
2021 Graham/Netsch House Renovations with SOM, Michelangelo Sabatini IIT, Brian Lee SOM
2020 Presentation, North Carolina State University, Prof Frank Harmon
2020 Angan Lecture Series, BRACU, Dhaka Bangladesh, “Influence Across Fields”
2020 “Drawing to See,” Lecture/Drawing Session Tulane SofA, Andrew Stiles
2020 “Influence Across Fields,” Lecture, University of Kansas
2020 “Bound By Spectrum,” Speaker for Julia Fish’s art exhibit at the Depaul Art Center, Chicago
2019 “Treasures from the Archive,” Panel presentation, Art Institute of Chicago/Iker Gill MAS
2019 “Drawing to See,” Rural Studio, Auburn University, Newburn, AL
2019 Illinois Humanities Festival, Wheeler Residence
2018 “Current Work/Influence,” Rural Studio, Auburn University, Newburn, AL
Individual Honors
2017 Nathan Ricker Clifford Award for Architectural Education, AIA Illinois
2008 Chicagoan of the Year, Chicago Tribune
2006 UIC Flame Award, Outstanding Teaching
1998 AIA Fellowship
1990 Ten Graduates, 1980-1990, RISD
1985 Young Architect Award, AIA Chicago Chapter
1983 Steedman Fellowship, Washington University
1980 Traveling Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts
1980 Mention, “The House at the Juncture of History and Now”