Emily Ray

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Getting to know people and using design to improve their lives is what Emily loves most about practicing architecture. Emily believes the design process should empower people to experiment, discover new things about themselves, and ultimately create an enriching and supportive backdrop for everyday life.

A native Austinite, Emily received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Texas, where she also served as a teaching and design assistant and pursued a focus on historic preservation. She spent a semester studying the architecture of Europe, traveling from Finland to Italy, and spent a month in Russia after graduation.

Prior to joining Wheeler Kearns Architects (WKA), Emily was at HBRA Architects in Chicago where she worked on a range of projects including the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Renovation, the Chicago History Museum Auditorium Renovation, several private residences, and the Revival Food Hall in Chicago.

At WKA, Emily works on both residential and institutional projects. In fall of 2019 she saw the opening of her first project with Wheeler Kearns, the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. The project has received multiple awards including two Design Excellence Awards from AIA Chicago. Emily also worked on a campus expansion project for Great Lakes Academy Charter School in the South Chicago neighborhood, and the Broadway Youth Center – a new six-story, 20,000 square foot community center providing medical and social services for LGBTQ-identifying young people in Chicago. Both projects opened in the fall of 2021. Emily has also contributed to several residential projects in Chicago and Michigan.

Emily regularly serves as a visiting critic for design programs including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the UIC College of Architecture, and the University of Texas School of Architecture. She is a member of AIA Chicago and is active in the AIA Chicago LGBTQ+ Alliance.

Emily is a registered architect in the state of Illinois. She enjoys reading outdoors, cycling around the city, and slalom skiing in Michigan in the summertime. She lives in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood.

2010                    . BArch, University of Texas
Professional Experience
2017-present Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, Project Architect
2012-2017 HBRA Architects, Chicago IL, Project Architect
Academic Experience
2019-present Visiting Critic, University of Texas School of Architecture
2018 Visiting Critic, UIC School of Architecture
2015-2018 Visiting Critic, Undergraduate and Graduate Design Studio’s, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
2011 Teaching Assistant, Architecture and Society with Larry Speck, Undergraduate Design
2009 Design Assistant, Undergraduate Design Studio with Elizabeth Danze, University of Texas
Professional Affiliations
2018-present AIA Chicago LGBTQ+ Alliance
2016-present American Institute of Architects (AIA)
2020 Brick-in-Architecture Awards, Juror