Called “one of the leading architects of her generation,” Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang—the architecture and urban design practice she founded and leads—have been selected by Ann M. Drake to design the campus of the Women’s Leadership Center at Williams Bay that will soon rise on a beautiful nine-acre site overlooking Geneva Lake in Wisconsin.
“I realized I wanted to throw my whole-hearted support behind helping women succeed in areas I think are crucial to our future—and making that future better for everyone,” said Ms. Drake. “The Women’s Leadership Center will be dedicated to developing, sustaining, and advancing diverse women leaders in a new site that connects to the storied cultural and natural landscape of Williams Bay.”
In Ms. Gang, says Ms. Drake, she found the perfect creative partner who immediately understood her vision for the Center, who shares her respect for the site, and who is aligned with her mission of supporting women in leadership.
“Jeanne’s sensibility for sustainable design that’s both innovative and inspiring is extraordinary,” said Ms. Drake. “Her team is developing concepts that mesh perfectly with the history and feel of this special piece of land.”
Regularly named one of Fast Company’s“Most Innovative Architecture Companies,” Studio Gang is renowned for its forward-looking approach to design and commitment to using architecture to foster positive social change. Ms. Gang first rose to prominence for her award-winning work designing the Aqua Tower in downtown Chicago, with its undulating balconies that evoke running water. She garnered further acclaim for the designs of the St. Regis Tower in Chicago and the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL, among other work. Upcoming projects include an expansion to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a new United States Embassy in Brazil, a unified campus for California College of the Arts, and the Global Terminal at O’Hare International Airport. Headquartered in Chicago, Studio Gang also maintains offices in New York, San Francisco, and Paris.
Love of nature—its structures, materials, and creatures—is a key element in Studio Gang’s aesthetic, along with thoughtful use of natural materials. The location for the Center is an exceptional site—acres of pristine woodland in a part of southeastern Wisconsin long revered for its beauty. Ms. Gang and her team have gone to great lengths to understand the ecology and history of the site and expect to draw upon the unique interplay there of earth and sky, light and shade.
“We are excited to explore ways to realize Ann’s ambitions through architecture that fosters creativity and collaboration and embraces the natural beauty and ecology of Geneva Lake,” said Ms. Gang. The Center’s site plan will also leverage its proximity to the adjoining campuses of George Williams College of Aurora University and the famous Yerkes Observatory where generations of influential astronomers (such as Edwin Hubble) lived and worked.
“We are building a special place for women leaders to come together and learn, innovate, challenge old models, and create new possibilities,” said Ms. Drake. “We’ll stand on the same hill as Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of modern astrophysics. So, it’s a spot where countless high-impact ideas and meaningful conversations have historically taken place.”
“I want the Center to be a space not only for celebrating what has been, but also for imagining what could be,” said Ms. Drake. “With the brilliance of Jeanne Gang and her team behind the design of the Women’s Leadership Center at Williams Bay, I think it could become a home for conversations that change the world.”
Construction of the Center is currently expected to complete late in 2024.