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John M. Syvertsen

  • Adjunct Instructor

John Syvertsen is a visionary leader committed to improving the built environment, often with an emphasis on community outreach, social impact, and environmental sustainability. In his forty year career, John has devoted himself tirelessly to design excellence, focusing much of his time working with colleges and universities and religious organizations across the United States. 

For ten years John was President of OWP/P Architects. He led the merger with Cannon Design where he was a member of the Executive Leadership Team. He left Cannon in 2015 to spend full time in support of several not for profit organizations.

Civic engagement is a hallmark of John's philosophy. He has served as Chair of the American Institute of Architects National Committee on Design, as President of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Arts, President of the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. He was also Chair of the Board of Regents of the American Architectural Foundation and Chair of the Board of Directors of Archeworks, an alternative, socially focused design educator. In 2006, John was the inaugural recipient of the AIA Illinois Gold Medal in recognition of a career of service. In 2019 John was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. 

Professional mentoring, public interest design, agrarian patterns

Chicago Studio, Professional Practice

Multiple publications and exhibitions, national and international

Lifetime Achievement Award, Chicago Chapter, American Institute of Architects

AIA Illinois Gold Medal, inaugural recipient

Fellowship, The American Institute of Architects


Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies, Harvard University

M. Arch, Princeton University

B. Arts in Philosophy, Georgetown University