Lucien Lagrange is creating a legacy that already has made him one of the most respected architects of this generation. His designs for contemporary skyscrapers, classically inspired commercial mixed-use structures and sophisticated renovations define the Chicago cityscape and have brought him international renown.
For 35 years, he has pursued his profession with recognizable intelligence, sensitivity, wit and style that influence all the projects his office creates. He is deeply involved in the process of understanding clients’ goals and constraints. His firm’s resources and experience with real estate, zoning, planning and other environmental factors are brought into play. Then, as the building progresses, his exquisite eye for detail sets the tone for the firm’s design decisions.
“I like the variety,” he says simply, describing the remarkable range of his work, from stone Beaux Arts façades to sleekly modern steel structures. “Variety keeps the work fresh; it fascinates me.”
“I like taking problems that are puzzling for owners and even other architects and creating ‘diabolically simple’ solutions. When we can cut through the confusion with a plan that makes the owner say ‘why, of course!’ that’s success,” he continues. “When it’s a large scale project where our solution represents both a major spatial statement and a remarkable business solution, the pleasure is even greater.”
Born in France, schooled in Montreal, Lucien describes his early training as deep and eclectic. “My education was composed of three elements: college summers spent learning the details of how to actually make commercial buildings; a university program that was strong on the cultural, economic and social context for architecture; and work directly with Bruce Graham, an incredible mind, who taught me how to think about architecture.” Before founding his own firm in 1985, Lucien Lagrange was at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where he designed major office tower and retail projects, among others, across the nation.