Partners

James Goettsch Chairman and Co-Design Director

FAIA

James Goettsch

Chairman and Co-Design Director — FAIA

James Goettsch is the chairman of Goettsch Partners and co-design director, responsible for developing the firm’s design talent and leading the direction and quality of design for major projects.

Mr. Goettsch brings more than 40 years of professional experience. He has personally directed and has been involved in all phases of design and construction for buildings throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. His experience includes high-rise office, hotel, residential and mixed-use developments; corporate headquarters facilities; academic and other institutional buildings; master plans; and renovation and repositioning assignments.

Noteworthy projects include the 54-story, core-supported 150 North Riverside tower in Chicago; the 45-story, multi-terraced Park Tower at Transbay in San Francisco; the 33-story original building and 24-story “vertical completion” at 300 East Randolph in Chicago, also known as the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Headquarters; the five-building, 3 million-square-foot Abu Dhabi Global Market Square office complex in the UAE, which features the headquarters building of the Abu Dhabi Global Market; the two-building, 1.2 million-square-foot Mennica Legacy Tower complex in Warsaw; the China Diamond Exchange Center in Shanghai; the 900-key Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences; the Headquarters for the Americas for Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas in Glenview, Illinois; and Northwestern University’s signature building for the Bienen School of Music, located along the lakefront of the school’s Evanston, Illinois, campus.

Mr. Goettsch received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Iowa State University. After two years in the military, he started his career in New York City. He later moved to Chicago to work for C.F. Murphy Associates, which became Murphy/Jahn. He remained with that firm for 19 years, including five years serving as principal in charge of the New York office. Mr. Goettsch joined Lohan Associates as a design principal in 1992 and helped guide the firm’s transition to Goettsch Partners in 2005.

Based on his “enormous contributions to the design of high-rise buildings around the world,” the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) recognized Mr. Goettsch with the 2019 Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award. He was elevated to the esteemed American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows in 1988. Throughout his career, he has been recognized by the AIA, the CTBUH, and other professional organizations and academic institutions with local, regional and national design awards, as well as invitations to speak publicly on design issues.

Mr. Goettsch is a member of the AIA, the CTBUH, and the Mies van der Rohe Society. He previously served on the boards of directors for both the AIA Chicago chapter and the Chicago Architecture Center.

James Zheng CEO and President

AIA, LEED AP

James Zheng

CEO and President — AIA, LEED AP

James Zheng is the CEO and president of Goettsch Partners. As such, he leads the firm’s overall business and management strategy, as well as daily operations. His perspective from working on projects in the U.S. and overseas has helped guide the firm’s global expansion. Through his efforts, the firm established a representative office in Shanghai in 2004. Today, the firm maintains a growing full-service office there staffed with both local and U.S.-trained professionals.

Mr. Zheng serves as the partner-in-charge for large-scale office, hospitality and mixed-use high-rises and multi-building complexes. He is involved from the initial client contact to regular design and progress meetings, to opening events, occupancy and well beyond. While based in Chicago, Mr. Zheng travels to Asia regularly, overseeing the planning and design of developments across the continent. Projects include single buildings as tall as 1,300 feet, as well as multi-building complexes of more than 5 million square feet. His ability to provide attentive personal service and skills ranging from planning and design to marketing and management reflects the diversity of his strengths. Joining the firm in 1995, he was named president in 2013, added the co-CEO title in 2018, and took on the full CEO title in 2022.

Mr. Zheng received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. His talents and accomplishments were recognized early on with the AIA Chicago Young Architect Award in 2004, and he was named among the Crain's Chicago Business 40 Under 40 in 2005. He is a member of the AIA, a registered LEED Accredited Professional, a member of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Advisory Group, and a member of The Executives’ Club of Chicago.

He has served as a speaker at events held by AIA Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Center, CTBUH and Tongji University. He has also been featured in such publications as The New York Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.

Paul De Santis Partner and Co-Design Director

Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Paul De Santis

Partner and Co-Design Director — Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Paul De Santis is a partner and co-design director in the firm. As such, he leads the design on many of the firm’s projects in the U.S. and Asia. Continually focused on developing the studio culture in both the Chicago and Shanghai offices, he directs designs for office, hotel and mixed-use developments.

Mr. De Santis excels at setting a high level of design quality within exceptionally tight timeframes. He further brings a deep respect and passion for the design process, and he is constantly challenging himself and those around him to elevate the thought and execution behind each project.

Recent work in the U.S. includes the LEED Platinum-certified Zurich North America Headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, and the first Viceroy hotel in the Midwest, located in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Recent work in Asia focuses on several tall and supertall buildings, with key projects in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Wuhan.

Mr. De Santis received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is a member of the AIA, a registered LEED Accredited Professional, a member of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and a member of the Urban Land Institute.

Joseph Dolinar Consulting Partner

AIA

Joseph Dolinar

Consulting Partner — AIA

Joe Dolinar is a consulting partner in the firm, leading complex projects and coordinating multidiscipline design teams. Since starting in 1981, he has worked on some of the firm’s largest and most challenging assignments. Select projects include the 300 East Randolph Vertical Completion, an addition of 24 stories atop the existing 33-story office building that primarily serves as the headquarters of Health Care Service Corporation and its Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois division; the more than $600 million redevelopment of Soldier Field and North Burnham Park; the Park Monroe, which involved the conversion of the top 10 floors of the Mid-Continental Plaza building at 55 East Monroe into 219 luxury condominiums; and corporate and government headquarters projects in Cleveland, Ohio; Birmingham, Alabama; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Recent projects include large regional headquarters complexes in the Chicago suburbs for Swiss-based Zurich Insurance Group and Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas; the 18-story, 180-key Viceroy Chicago hotel; and the 45-story Park Tower at Transbay office building in San Francisco.

Mr. Dolinar received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame and his master’s from Ohio State University. He is a member of the AIA and a director emeritus for the Chicago affiliate of the ACE Mentor Program, a national program that serves high school youth who are exploring careers in architecture, construction and engineering.

Michael F. Kaufman Consulting Partner

AIA, LEED AP

Michael F. Kaufman

Consulting Partner — AIA, LEED AP

Michael Kaufman is a consulting partner in the firm, leading projects and coordinating large design teams. Since joining the firm in 1979, he has worked on a wide range of assignments, from corporate and commercial office buildings to hotels, academic and institutional facilities, and renovation and repositioning projects.

Recent work includes Northwestern University’s new signature Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts in Evanston, Illinois; the underground exhibit facility and home for the U-505 Submarine at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry; the JW Marriott hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Grand Hyatt luxury hotels in Brazil, Colombia and India; the Viceroy Chicago hotel; the adaptive reuse of 360 North Michigan Avenue to serve as the LondonHouse Chicago hotel; and the adaptive reuse of the lower levels of Mies van der Rohe’s IBM Building as the five-star Langham Chicago hotel. Mr. Kaufman further leads the firm’s renovation and repositioning work, which includes more than 40 projects spanning early and mid-20th century buildings throughout downtown Chicago and other select locations in the Midwest and overseas.

Mr. Kaufman received a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a member of the AIA, a registered LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of the board of directors at the University Club of Chicago. He is also a past board member of the Design Professional Risk Control Group and the Glessner House Museum.

Lawrence C. Weldon Consulting Partner

AIA

Lawrence C. Weldon

Consulting Partner — AIA

Larry Weldon is a consulting partner in the firm and the leader of the Enclosures Group, an in-house specialty group focused on all aspects of exterior building enclosures and systems. With his in-depth technical knowledge, he also oversees the firm’s quality assurance and quality control program, ensuring the clarity and consistency of the firm’s design drawings and the integrity of their development throughout the design process.

Given Mr. Weldon’s wide-ranging role in the firm, he is involved in some aspect of nearly every assignment. His expertise in curtain walls, in particular, is sought worldwide, as he has reviewed drawings by the firm, as well as by other architects, to assure proper detailing in order to mitigate building construction and maintenance issues. His focus has become increasingly important in contemporary architecture, as curtain wall and related building enclosure systems constantly change and can be a vital part of designs that are not just visually distinctive and beautiful but also optimally efficient and effective.

Mr. Weldon received a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1977. That same year, he joined Fujikawa Conterato Lohan Associates, direct successor to Mies van der Rohe’s practice and predecessor to Goettsch Partners. He started on the drafting tables and in the model shop, where he learned the minute details of building techniques and their use in expressive design. Over time, his technical interest sparked the development of an in-house group comprising architects and technical administrative staff that review all drawings for technical detailing and detailed specifications. Today, Mr. Weldon is a world-recognized expert in construction technologies, and his role is a safeguard against inefficiencies and failures in building performance.

Mr. Weldon is a member of the AIA and the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings. He was also actively involved in the recent review of the Chicago Building Code.

Principals

Vladimir Andrejevic

AIA

Vladimir Andrejevic

Principal — AIA

Vladimir Andrejevic is a principal and senior project designer at Goettsch Partners. In this role, he leads the design of selective projects, with a focus on commercial, residential, hospitality and mixed-use buildings.

Mr. Andrejevic has more than 20 years of professional experience working on a number of large-scale commercial buildings. He joined the firm in 2017, after working for another commercial architecture practice in Chicago for 12 years and, prior to that, at a firm in Rockford, Illinois. Additionally, he was a teaching assistant in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Belgrade in Serbia.

Mr. Andrejevic holds both Bachelor and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Belgrade. In addition to teaching at the school’s Department of Visual Communications for three years, he has served on senior thesis juries at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech. He is also a member of the American Institute of Architects.


Claire Yin Chen

Class 1 Registered Architect

Claire Yin Chen

Principal — Class 1 Registered Architect

Ying (Claire) Chen is a principal in the firm with more than 20 years of professional experience. Based in the firm’s Shanghai office, she is a key leader for projects throughout China.

Ms. Chen typically serves as a senior project architect, staying involved with projects from conception through completion. Given her technical background in façade systems and previous experience working at leading firms in China, she is responsible for coordinating the design and technical aspects of several projects, with a particular focus on large, multi-building mixed-use complexes.

Ms. Chen received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Tongji University. She is also a Class 1 Registered Architect.

Erik Harris

AIA

Erik Harris

Principal — AIA

Erik Harris is a principal at Goettsch Partners and a senior project architect. He has worked on a variety of large, complex projects and brings a high degree of technical knowledge. He works closely with the design and consultant team on each project to assure that a consistent, high-quality set of documentation is produced and that the project is delivered successfully through construction.

Current work includes the 32-story, 1 million-square-foot 1900 Lawrence office tower in Denver, Colorado, and the three-tower, 2 million-square-foot Queensbridge Collective mixed-use complex in Charlotte, North Carolina. Other work closer to home in Chicago includes two 50-story office buildings—150 North Riverside and the new Bank of America Tower at 110 North Wacker—the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Expansion and Renovation, and renovation assignments at the Wrigley Building and Chicago Union Station. He also previously worked on several large office and mixed-use complexes in the United Arab Emirates.

Harris received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and co-chair of the Chicago Chapter programs committee for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Leonard Koroski

FAIA, LEED AP

Leonard Koroski

Principal — FAIA, LEED AP

Len Koroski is a principal and senior project architect at Goettsch Partners. Joining in 1979, he has spent the majority of his career at the firm. 

Mr. Koroski has a particular expertise and passion for historically sensitive projects, including renovation, preservation and adaptive reuse assignments. This work has primarily focused on buildings in downtown Chicago, including signature properties such as the iconic Wrigley Building, the Jewelers Building at 35 East Wacker Drive, the Civic Opera Building, and Union Station, as well as several buildings along LaSalle Street and Michigan Avenue. He has also been involved in the recent adaptive reuse of two office buildings that were partially and fully converted into new hotels: The Langham Chicago and LondonHouse Chicago respectively.

Mr. Koroski has extensive experience in historical research, materials analysis, and life safety and infrastructure improvements. He has worked with the Chicago Landmarks Commission, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and the National Park Service in obtaining historically sensitive and pragmatic reviews of projects. In addition, Mr. Koroski is a LEED Accredited Professional with an interest in environmental stewardship and efficiency in older buildings.

Outside the firm, Mr. Koroski has held key volunteer roles in the American Institute of Architects, serving as the president of AIA Illinois, a member of the AIA national board of directors, and co-chair of the AIA national Committee on the Environment.

Mr. Koroski received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was elevated to the distinguished AIA College of Fellows in 2012.

David Lillie

AIA, LEED AP BD+C

David Lillie

Principal — AIA, LEED AP BD+C

David Lillie is a principal at Goettsch Partners and a senior project designer. He leads the design and delivery of large-scale projects from conception to completion, with a recent focus on Asia. Working with teams in Chicago and Shanghai, he embraces a global design perspective, which is integral to his work. His projects span a full range of office, hospitality and mixed-use developments, as well as key master planning assignments and multibuilding complexes.

Select recent completed projects include the three-building, 172,000-square-meter Shenzhen Minsheng E-commerce Towers in Shenzhen; the 178,500-square-meter China Resources Hangzhou Olympic Twin Office Complex in Hangzhou, China; and the 180-meter-tall Honghui New Taipei City Center in Taipei, Taiwan. Current projects in design and construction include supertall buildings and mixed-use complexes in the cities of Guangzhou, Wenzhou, Wuhan and Zhongshan.

Lillie holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering—all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Patrick Loughran

FAIA, PE, LEED AP

Patrick Loughran

Principal — FAIA, PE, LEED AP

Patrick Loughran is a principal at Goettsch Partners, a noted façade expert and the author of two façade books: Falling Glass and Failed Stone. Licensed as both an architect and engineer, he serves in dedicated project leadership roles and is a key member of the firm’s technical group. An adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a regular national presenter, he has been quoted in The New York Times and served as the “glass expert” on the National Public Radio show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”

Mr. Loughran has distinguished himself in the field with several notable achievements. In 1999, he was awarded the Francis J. Plym Traveling Fellowship, allowing him to study building enclosure advances throughout Europe. His research became the catalyst for a series of lectures in the United States on building enclosure innovations. In 2003, German publisher Birkhäuser released his first book, Falling Glass: Problems and Solutions in Contemporary Architecture, which summarizes several years of research on building enclosure issues. The New York Times referred to the book as the "architect’s bible on how to prevent glass from failing,” and Architecture Magazine called it an "indispensable title.” Initially published in English, this book has now been translated into German and Chinese for international distribution.

In the fall of 2004, Mr. Loughran received a grant from the Graham Foundation to write a second book—this time, on the limitations and innovations related to concrete, stone and masonry. Failed Stone: Problems and Solutions with Concrete and Masonry was released in 2006, again by Birkhäuser. Architectural Record described the book as “informative, entertaining and humbling.”

Mr. Loughran holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2009, and he is a LEED Accredited Professional.

Samuel M. Luckino

AIA, LEED AP

Samuel M. Luckino

Principal — AIA, LEED AP

Sam Luckino is a principal in the firm and a senior project manager. Leading teams on selected assignments, he focuses on office, hospitality, residential and mixed-use buildings.

Mr. Luckino has more than 20 years of professional experience working on a number of large-scale commercial buildings. He joined the firm in 2018, having previously worked for 13 years at another commercial architecture practice, where he served as the New York office director. 

Mr. Luckino holds both a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master of Architecture from The Ohio State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, a LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, where he served as a City Representative.


Joachim Schuessler

Joachim Schuessler

Principal

Joachim Schuessler is a principal and senior project designer in the firm, either leading or collaborating in the conceptual design efforts for projects and continuing to articulate and evolve designs through all phases. He has worked on a range of office, hotel, mixed-use, institutional and government projects, and he is particularly experienced with international assignments. As a senior designer, he is involved with coordinating all aspects of a building’s design and technical development, including core-and-shell components, the building enclosure, and program requirements.

Recent work includes 150 North Riverside, a core-supported, 54-story, 1.5 million-square-foot office tower in downtown Chicago overlooking the Chicago River; Mennica Legacy Tower, a two-building, 1.1 million-square-foot office complex in Warsaw, Poland; the Shenzhen Guanze Development in Shenzhen, China, a 3.4 million-square-foot multi-use complex, including retail, Class A office space, a five-star hotel, and apartments; and two hotels in Saudi Arabia: the 900-key Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residence and the Wyndham Grand Riyadh – KAFD, a 214-key hotel in the King Abdullah Financial District.

Schuessler holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Leipzig University of Applied Sciences in Germany, and he received his Master of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Travis Soberg

AIA, LEED AP

Travis Soberg

Principal — AIA, LEED AP

Travis Soberg is a principal at Goettsch Partners, as well as the firm’s director of sustainable design. Mr. Soberg joined GP in 1998 and has worked on some of the firm’s most prominent projects. With the growth and expansion of the firm’s international work, Soberg has played a pivotal role in leading the technical design direction on large-scale office, hotel and mixed-use projects, with a primary focus on supertall towers.

Key projects in China include the 980-foot-tall R&F Yinkai Square mixed-use tower, which features the 208-key Park Hyatt Guangzhou; a five-tower, 5 million-square-foot mixed-use development in the Qianhai district of Shenzhen; and the 1,320-foot-tall Nanning China Resources Center Tower, which features the 270-key Shangri-La Nanning. Select additional projects include the Rosewood Sanya and International Finance Forum complex in Sanya, China, and the Grand Hyatt Bogotá in Bogotá, Colombia.

In leading the firm’s sustainable design efforts, Mr. Soberg promotes an approach to sustainability that is fundamental to the firm’s practice and integral to the quality of GP’s work. Sustainable solutions are developed as attentive responses to the specifics of a project and are celebrated when they bring measurable value to clients. In recognition of his efforts to promote sustainable design, Mr. Soberg received the 2010 AIA Chicago President’s Citation for Services on the 2030 Challenge Committee, where he helped establish the method for uniformly measuring progress for all firms in their efforts toward the 2030 reduction goal.

Mr. Soberg is a member of the AIA and a LEED Accredited Professional. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Penn State University.