Principals

Left to right:

Constance Miller

“I believe a CFO’s responsibility has evolved from just crunching numbers to leading the company on various fronts. It is essential to interact with other functions and business-related matters – project process, marketing, technology – and determine their impact on the organization and the industry”.

Principal, Constance (Connie) Miller serves as LVDA’s Chief Financial Officer. More than 30 years of experience in the fields of accounting and administration for businesses involved in architecture, interior design, real estate development and construction solidifies her knowledge about all aspects of the AEC industry. With a big picture approach and the ability to contribute beyond her financial area of expertise, she manages the firm’s formulation and implementation of corporate policies and procedures.

Connie’s organization and leadership skills earn her respect as a thought partner who takes an active role in managing the business efficiently. She effectively collaborates, negotiates and manages people. An allied member of American Institute of Architect, she also is a member of the City Club of Chicago, Professional Women’s Club of Chicago, and Northwestern Alumni Association.

James R. DeStefano FAIA, FALA, RIBA

We are deeply saddened by the loss of James R DeStefano FAIA, FALA, RIBA | March 19, 1938- August 30, 2022.    

Jim DeStefano, age 84, passed away at his home in Evanston, Illinois, on Tuesday, August 30, 2022.  A native of Chicago, Jim graduated from DePaul Academy High School in Lincoln Park and studied architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology. While at IIT, Jim was in one of the last classes to study under the leadership of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. After graduation in 1961, Jim joined the prestigious architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill where he quickly rose in its ranks to Associate in 1964, Associate Partner in 1967 and General Partner in 1973. At the time, Jim was the youngest design partner ever made at SOM at the age of 35. While at SOM, Jim spent much of his early years working alongside Walter Netsch on institutional projects such as the University of Illinois’ Chicago Campus, the master plan and the design of multiple buildings at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA and the expansion of Northwestern University’s Campus in Evanston. He eventually led the design for dozens of projects including the library at Wells College in Aurora, NY, Three First National Plaza in Chicago, Pillsbury Corporate Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, the Arthur Anderson Training Center in St. Charles, the City Place Office Center in Hartford, CT, the Caterpillar Training Center in Peoria, the 1515 Poydras Office Building in New Orleans, LA, the Gateway IV Office Building along the Chicago River, amongst multiple other projects across the US, Mexico, United Kingdom and the Middle East. He won national, state and local design awards for his design for the Menninger Foundation Mental Health Campus in Topeka, KA, Industrial Trust and Savings Bank in Muncie, IN, the Westinghouse Research and Development Center in Churchill Borough, PA, First Wisconsin Bank in Milwaukee, WI, and the Wells College library in Aurora, NY. In 1974, Jim was named managing director for SOM’s office in Tehran, Iran. He spent 3 years designing a national university in Tehran and master planning a new town for 280,000 people in the Persian Gulf region for Reza Shah Pahlavi, before returning to the Chicago office in 1976 to continue his career. In 1979, Jim was a founding member and director of the SOM Foundation, which administered and awarded grants and annual fellowships. He was named to the Board of Trustees for the Chicago Architectural Foundation. In the 1981 November issue of Life Magazine, Jim was featured in an article on the “Master Builders of the Windy City” along with Bruce Graham, Helmut Jahn, John Vinci, Stanley Tigerman and Public Works Commissioner, Jerome Butler. In 1982, Jim became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and in 1983, he was named the Managing Director for SOM’s office in London. Jim moved to London and spent five years building SOM’s office up to 300 employees and managing the design of the Bishops Gate, Kings Cross and Canary Wharf mega projects in London.

In 1988, Jim left SOM and opened DeStefano + Goettsch in 1989 which became DeStefano + Partners in 1991. Over the next 20 years, Jim built the 3rd largest architectural firm in Chicago specializing in commercial, residential, institutional, retail and master planning. DeStefano + Partners designed over 150 buildings in the Chicago area and was responsible for the River East and Central Station masterplans. Some of the most notable projects were the development of a prototype elementary school for the Chicago Public Schools including Payton College Prep, Westinghouse High School and others. 

His design work also includes the Puerto Rican Gateway flags on Division Street which recently became a historic landmark, the LBGQ Gateway monuments on Halsted Street, and the lighted bridges over the Kennedy for the 1998 Democratic National Convention. In the 2000’s DeStefano + Partners maintained offices in London, Los Angeles and Naples, FL. DeStefano + Partners partnered with Ricardo Bofill’s office in Barcelona on the 77 West Wacker Office Tower and the Citadel Center at 131 S. Dearborn along with Santiago Calatrava on the design of the Chicago Spire located at the mouth of the Chicago River, which was never constructed. In 2008 DeStefano + Partners received the coveted AIA Firm of the Year Award. 

Jim has been a Consulting Principal at Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture since the firm’s founding in 2011. His recent design work includes 1101 South Wabash, Judge Doyle Square in Madison, WI, East Moline, IL Master Plan and City Hall Concept Design in Lansing, MI.   Over his 60+ year career, Jim DeStefano has designed and managed major commercial, residential and civic projects in the United States and internationally achieving recognition with the highest honors in the industry for design and technical excellence.  Jim took pride in his many built projects in Chicago and his service within the architectural community.  He has mentored many young architects in the architectural profession and participated in student programs, HACIA, ACE mentor program and other civic organizations.  Jim believed and supported minority and women owned businesses.  Jim was a kind, considerate and generous human being. He will be greatly missed. To those who have worked with Jim throughout the years, we will all remember and cherish good memories of him.

The DeStefano family held services privately. In lieu of flowers, at Jim’s request donations can be made on his behalf to the Chicago Architectural Foundation www.architecture.org/join-give/give/donations/

SELECT PROJECTS

One South Dearborn

Dearborn Plaza

200 West Randolph Street

Elmhurst Art Museum

State Emergency Operations Center

Fountainhead Quad Cities Master Plan

Illinois State Capitol Complex Master Plan

River North Storefront and Lobby Renovation

Judge Doyle Square Master Plan

Regatta and Chandler Residential Towers

Mary Ann Van Hook, AIA, LEED AP

“I see myself as the project overseer and an advocate to the client. My purpose is to be service oriented and I take it seriously”.

Founding Principal, Mary Ann Van Hook, AIA, LEED AP leads the management of the firm and serves as the Principal In Charge overseeing quality control and contract compliance for diverse building types and multi-project programs. Her 40 years of experience performing a variety of roles, including Managing Architect, Architect of Record, Design Architect, Owner’s Representative and Construction Manager, uniquely positions her to view a project from many perspectives. Clients and colleagues appreciate her knowledge of construction and ability to read people as well as she reads a set of drawings. Her energetic determination combined with her unique skills enable her to move a project along while assuring its constructability and effectiveness.

Mary Ann is a strong advocate for the growth and equitable participation of disadvantaged, minority and woman owned businesses in the AEC industry. She is an involved member of Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and currently serves on the Scholarship Foundation Board and on the Professional Development Committee. She also is a certified Illinois Capital Development Board Project Manager for Architecture/Engineering and a member of several design industry organizations.

Mary Ann received her Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she participated in Unite Pedigogique d’Architecture 3 while attending the Ecoles des Beaux Arts in Versailles, France.

SELECT PROJECTS
200 West Randolph
Peace Corner Youth Center
State Emergency Operations Center
Fountainhead Quad Cities Master Plan
The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
Northwestern University Kresge Centennial Hall Renovation
University of Illinois at Chicago Lecture Center F
University of Illinois Altgeld and Illini Halls Feasibility Study
University of Illinois Davenport Hall Master Plan
University of Illinois Pennsylvania Avenue Residences Dining Remodel
Illinois State Capitol Complex Master Plan
Roosevelt Square Redevelopment
Ickes Family Homes
Student Housing High Rise
Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School and Anshe Emet Synagogue Master Plan
Legacy Charter School
River North Storefront and Lobby Renovation
Judge Doyle Square Master Plan

Avram Lothan, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C

“As part of a young design practice at the beginning of the 21st century, I am energized by the prospect of designing buildings that support and dignify contemporary life. We live at a unique time in the evolution of American culture, an era of limits; limits on budgets and schedules, on energy and infrastructure. At the same time, the programmatic and performance requirements of projects are more complex than ever. Rather than bemoan this current state of affairs, I embrace it. I use these limits to discipline and prioritize my design process and focus on the aspects of the project, including its resources and community most essential to creating a positive outcome”.

Founding Principal and Design Director, Avram (Avi) Lothan, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C leads the direction and development of the firm’s design efforts. Effective consensus building and a stimulating exchange of ideas define his process, while intellectual creativity and determination distinguish his outcome.

Characterized by a global and humanistic approach to contemporary architecture, his projects are widely recognized for planning and design excellence. Top-tier publications and organizations, respected by the architectural community as well as clients’ professional industries, regularly honor his work with editorial features and awards. Avi demonstrates his generous dedication to charitable and educational causes through years of teaching, advising, and pro bono services. He is an active member of several cultural and professional organizations and has served on the Board of Directors and various committees at Elmhurst Art Museum, Society for Contemporary Art, Harvard Club of Chicago, American Institute of Architects, and National Public Housing Museum.

Avi received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University. Upon graduating from Harvard University, the National Professional Fraternity for Architecture and the Allied Arts honored Avi with the coveted Alpha Rho Chi Medal to recognize his affinity for leadership, willing service, and promise of professional merit through his attitude and personality.

SELECT PROJECTS
Central Technology Services Operations Center
Alliance Francaise de Chicago
Elmhurst Art Museum
Peace Corner Youth Center
State Emergency Operations Center
College of DuPage Technology Education Center
Northwestern University Kresge Centennial Hall Renovation
The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago Lecture Center F
University of Illinois Altgeld and Illini Halls Feasibility Study
University of Illinois Davenport Hall Master Plan
University of Illinois Pennsylvania Avenue Residences Dining Remodel
Illinois State Capitol Complex Master Plan
Roosevelt Square Redevelopment
Ickes Family Homes
Private Residence
Student Housing High Rise
Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School and Anshe Emet Synagogue Master Plan
Legacy Charter School
River North Storefront and Lobby Renovation