Jeanne Gang is an example of how it is possible to create ethical constructions with the environment, providing them with innovation and technology without dispensing with avant-garde design that dialogues with the surroundings. Furthermore, she has contributed to improving equity in an area that has been slow to give women the recognition they deserve.
She was born in Illinois in 1964. From an early age she travelled around the country with her parents and her three sisters, visiting emblematic works of architecture. At that time she was already showing an interest in painting, while at the same time feeling a great attraction to the three-dimensional, two correlated aspects of architecture. The profession of his father, who was an engineer, would also influence the projects she would develop throughout her career. She entered the University of Illinois where she studied architecture, later enrolling in a master’s degree at Harvard University. Afterwards, she moved to Roterdam where she worked with Rem Koolhaas, a great reference in architecture.
Finally, in 1997, she opened her own studio in Chicago. In fact, she has managed to close the wage gap in it. In addition, she was included in the 2019 Time 100 list that recognises the world’s most influential people for activism, innovation and achievement.
The architect’s style is identified with a concept of architecture that encompasses both design and utility as well as functionalism that is social as well as sustainable. The buildings tend to have organic and sinuous forms that integrate with the environment. A feature common to other contemporary architects that coincides with the neo-futurist trend of 21st century architecture. The materials used usually include metals, concrete or glass. As for this social feature mentioned, there is the particularity, since it tries to generate constructions that invite interaction between people, as meeting places where the use of social skills is promoted. An example of this is the Arcus Center (Kalamazoo, Michigan), a leadership centre for social justice. It created an open-plan interior with a central location that extends into three spaces. In the centre is the living room next to a kitchen, ideal for meetings and social gatherings.The walls of the building are made of wood trunks, in masonry. It is situated in a residential area, surrounded by a university campus and a grove of trees, the wood of the facade is integrated with the landscape. A building that evokes the spirit of social dialogue.
It has led innovative and very significant projects such as Aqua Tower, the first skyscraper designed by a woman. Located in Chicago, it was built between 2007 and 2009 and stands out for the relief effect that characterises the façade. It is a multifunctional construction that combines sports recreational areas, offices, flats and a hotel. This undulating visual effect is achieved through the arrangement of the terraces in a curved form combined with the glass of the sliding doors and windows which, in turn, create a water effect with the reflection of the light. The result is a sculptural construction that connects with the aquatic concept of the city, as well as a functional resource that has the utility of isolating from the wind. The base of the skyscraper is rectangular and it is from the extension of the slabs that the curved structure terraces were adapted. Reinforced concrete was used for the structure. It has received several awards such as the American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design (2008) or the International Highrise Award Finalist from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (2010).
The vision of the american architect is to contribute to the adaptation of buildings to the social changes that are taking place, such as the issue of climate change, inequality and the importance of conversation in society. She is aware of the important impact her work generates and, for this reason, she carries it out with the aim of contributing to a more sustainable future society.