» PEOPLE «

KOO’s talented architects and interior designers all participate in design thinking. All members of the staff contribute ideas and inspiration for projects in a collaborative studio environment. The creativity and dedication of each person is fundamental to the success of our projects.
KOO’s talented architects and interior designers all participate in design thinking. All members of the staff contribute ideas and inspiration for projects in a collaborative studio environment. The creativity and dedication of each person is fundamental to the success of our projects.

» KOO BIOS «

JACKIE KOO

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Jackie Koo

Jackie, the firm’s founder, has twenty-five years of experience in Architecture and Design. After graduating with a degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, Jackie sought to combine this with her interest in aesthetics, and enrolled in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Illinois at Chicago during a theory-focused period in the program.

She started her career at Richard Meier and Partners in New York and founded KOO in 2005 after working for 15 years in corporate firms. During her career, Jackie has developed a strong vision for the firm, and has successfully completed numerous complex projects in a wide range of building types including Hospitality, Residential, Institutional and Planning.

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DAN RAPPEL

Dan is KOO’s Director of Sustainable Design and Partner. He has nineteen years of experience in Institutional, Commercial, Residential and Retail design and brings an emphasis on sustainability to every KOO project. He has worked on 15 LEED projects including the LEED Platinum Kresge Foundation and has won four AIA design awards. Dan’s superior design skills and sophisticated management strategies expertly respond to challenging budget and schedule constraints.

Dan is the proud parent of three children and lives with his family in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago. He enjoys camping and hiking in the great outdoors, whenever and wherever he can. Dan also plays guitar and bass in a local Indie band.

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ANDREW BUCK

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Andrew Buck

Andrew is a native New Yorker with a golf swing to envy. He relocated to the Midwest to earn his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois. Though his primary focus at KOO is on multi-family housing, Andrew also has significant experience with a variety of projects such as high-end single family residences and large scale commercial buildings. In 2009 Andrew returned to school to earn his Master of Architecture degree from Washington University in St. Louis before planting roots in Chicago. Andrew currently lives downtown with his wife, and thrives on the energy of the city. He is a self-proclaimed restaurant connoisseur, and is known in the office as the person to talk to for a recommendation on where to make reservations for Friday night.

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ASHLEN WILLIAMS

Ashlen is a gifted designer whose approach is informed by a passion for enriching architectural experiences, particularly within urban communities. While studying architecture at the University of Kansas, it was Ashlen’s internship at Ibos & Vitart in Paris that cemented her taste for international travel and culture. She later spent time living in Madrid, exploring the country. Ashlen’s philosophy is that every new encounter offers critical insight into the human experience, and as a designer, it is her goal to translate this knowledge into architecture that inspires communities. In addition to her love of design and world travel, Ashlen is an artist whose practice includes painting and collage. She is always up for a bit of bowling and enjoys the rich, live music scene for which Chicago is known.

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BRUCE ROTH

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Bruce Roth

Bruce grew up in Southwestern Wisconsin, a place of rolling meadows dotted with small towns and dairy farms. His interest in Architecture started early, drawing and building with blocks. By junior high, the decision to become an Architect had already been made.
Bruce has over 25 years of professional experience, with a focus on Project Management, Building Technology and Construction Methodology. With a clear understanding of the complexities of the building design process and a focus on the client’s goals, Bruce utilizes his skill and expertise to successfully implement complex projects and programs. Bruce and his wife Jackie, have three boys, Max, Sam and Leo (and dog, Red) and live in Riverside, Illinois. He coaches youth basketball and enjoys father and son activities with the Riverside Indian Guides. He has also become the family genealogist, tracing his ancestry to colonial America and beyond.

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JOE CUEVAS

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Joe Cuevas

Joe is a true Chicagoan, born and raised on the South Side. He received both his BA, and his love for Modern Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology. Joe has the unique ability to successfully manage multiple high-intensity projects with overlapping deadlines, while never deviating from the calm and silly demeanor for which he’s known. He has well-developed technical skills and possesses a keen eye for detail. Joe has carefully honed his craft through a myriad of institutional projects with KOO. He believes that each project should be approached with extreme thoughtfulness regardless of the size or complexity. In his spare time, he enjoys playing video games, listening to true crime podcasts and baking fun desserts.

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JONATHAN SKINNER

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Jonathan Skinner

Jonathan has a well-informed appreciation for both the old and the new. He has traveled extensively throughout the world, visiting ancient historical sites and seeking out modern technological wonders. Jonathan successfully draws upon this contrast between vintage and contemporary in his design. As a member of the KOO design team, he has worked on a variety of projects from multi-family residential to large institutional and hospitality projects. Jonathan attended Illinois Institute of Technology where he received his Bachelor of Architecture with Honors. While at IIT, he engaged student life by becoming an active member of AIAS and joining the college’s cycling team. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike, practicing photography, or playing a friendly game of cards—but always for money.

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VALENTINA GAGLIO

Valentina grew up in Rome and found nourishment in her late-night Vespa rides through baroque streels and meditative incursions into modernist government buildings. She received her Laurea in Architettura and become a registered Architect in Rome.  Valentina worked in Italy and New York before settling in Chicago. She continuously cultivates technical skills and creativity in her practice, and has completed diverse projects from high-end residential, to institutional and hospitality. 

Her passion for knowledge at a multidisciplinary level makes communication with variety of people involved in building to be very natural.  She enjoys alternating theory-intensive periods of research and design with time spend on building sites and public agency reviews. 

Her leisure time is spent gliding over Lake Michigan on a windsurfer, a sailboat, or – if it’s the only option available – even a motorized vessel. 

 

KEVIN PARZYCH

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Kevin Parzych

Kevin is an architect who is interested in blending the labyrinth of conventional building contingencies and pragmatic design opportunities to transmute new coherences previously unimagined. Kevin is committed to architecture as a cultural discourse capable of re-shaping our collectivity via projecting novel and expanded realities as a physical environment. Kevin joined KOO in 2011 and has worked on a wide range of projects including educational, hospitality, and institutional buildings. Having earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture, he is also a passionate Buckeyes football fan. Aside from architecture, Kevin enjoys biking, utilizing the Chicago parks system, spending time in the kitchen, and is a proud member of the Chicago Rangers men’s baseball team. Kevin, his wife Jenna, and their two chidren live in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago.

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LAILA SHANAB

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Laila Shanab

Laila believes that architecture and design reflect the essence of the existing, and are a result of the layers of history that merge to create the identity of today. Growing up in Egypt, Laila studied architecture at the American University in Cairo before transferring to the Illinois Institute of Technology to pursue her Bachelor of Architecture degree. In addition to architecture, Laila is passionate about art. In her free time she paints and frequently visits art galleries and museums. When at home in Egypt, the beach at the Red Sea is her happy place.

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MEGAN WALTERS

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Megan Walters

With a boundless passion for all things design and an innate sense for creating forward-thinking environments, Megan is a natural part of the KOO team. From a young age she felt an undeniable magnetism towards art, which grew into an affinity for Interior Design as she gained her Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design at Western Michigan University. Megan helps complete the KOO vision by applying a hospitality approach to every project, shaping spaces with new ideas and distinguishing character.
Growing up a Mortician’s daughter, school-required “take-your-daughter-to-work days” with her father were interesting to say the least, and led Megan to know what she did NOT want to do when she grew up. What she gained from the experience was her father’s advice: it’s important to have a balance of laughter and a sense of humor in life, no matter what profession you choose. To this day, Megan and her husband Mike have a huge love of animals and can never get enough comedy, both of which are drawn from their love of laughter.

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TANNER AVERY

GREEN CIRCLE - PEOPLE - Tanner Avery

Tanner was born and raised in Alabama. He received his Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Interior Architecture from Auburn University in 2014, and made the journey to Chicago after a year at the Rural Studio. There, he designed and built his thesis project – a two-bedroom, handicapped accessible “20K House.” In the office, Tanner has been working on large scale renovations. In his spare time, he enjoys experimenting with design at a small scale in the woodshop by building custom furniture. Tanner believes that we should always ask what should be built, rather than what can be built.

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TYLER HOPWOOD

Tyler received both his B.A. and M.Arch from Judson University. As an architect, he sees the value in designing small. He believes in creating thoughtful details and working closely with the human scale, and was fortunate enough to participate in designing a tiny homes community for the homeless. When it comes to his architectural philosophy, he is a firm believer that buildings should be designed selflessly, to serve the communities that they participate in. He thinks that creating as sense of place and belonging is paramount to the well being of all urban environments and it is our duty as architects to cultivate such environments. Tyler loves working with his hands, and specifically enjoys making small scale furniture, building architectural models, and hand sketching. On his time off, Tyler spends time exploring the city via bicycle with his wife, Brittany, and catching up on some reading and making tasty meals!

WILL PELLACANI

Will received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture (and his love for Tex-Mex food) in his home state of Texas, where he attended Texas Tech University. After developing a resistance to 100+ degree heat, he decided to travel up north to the University of Michigan to earn his Masters of Architecture, where he learned how to survive below freezing temperatures. In his spare time, Will’s hobbies include reading and watching classic works of science fiction, “kitbashing,” and experimenting with digital sculpting software.

KAITLIN RIGNEY

Although born in Texas, Kaitlin grew up on Chicago’s North Shore.  She has had a passion for art ever since her father started taking her to museums at a very young age.  Kaitlin has a strong background in Fine Art and worked for years in the art industry, following the completion of her Masters in Art History & World Practice, with a concentration in 19th Century German landscape painting, from University of Glasgow.   She has business management experience ranging from running art galleries to managing a Fine Art appraisal company.  Currently, she is in the process of obtaining her Masters in Business Management from DePaul University. 

In her spare time, she enjoys travel, art hunting, visiting museums/galleries and any kind of outdoor activity; especially hiking in the Colorado mountains with her best friend.  Due to Kaitlin’s art career she has traveled around the world, but always called Chicago home and is now thrilled to be back.  She is also an avid classic movie connoisseur; as she says, “the only channel I ever watch is TCM”.  Kaitlin lives across from Lincoln Park with Willow, her loving, ever entertaining kitty. 

312.235.0920
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Suite 215
Chicago, IL 60604

KOO