Chicago Architecture Center appoints Land Bank chief as new CEO

Gorski will begin Dec. 2 leading an organization whose mission is to promote Chicago as a center of architectural innovation and education and is well known for hosting his “Chicago’s First Lady” architectural boat tours. along the Chicago River that typically serve over 700,000 customers each year. The nonprofit, formerly known as the Chicago Architecture Foundation, also operates a 20,000-square-foot CAC museum that opened along Wacker Drive in 2018.

Gorski, 53, called the new job “a culmination of everything I’ve worked for in my career” with CAC priorities including historic preservation, the study of building reuse and the urban planning, and running design education programs for students and communities.

“I loved the work I was doing at Land Bank, and I believe so much in the mission and would be grateful if I could still be involved in some way, but it was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” Gorski said.

Gorski previously spent more than two decades in the city’s planning and development department, where she helped secure city approvals for the renovation of Wrigley Field, the creation of the Fulton Market Innovation District and early plans for the Obama Presidential Center and Lincoln Yards megaprojects. and The 78. She left the department in 2020 to take a position as director of design and planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago, then joined the Cook County Land Bank Authority in August 2021, overseeing the agency to breathe new life into taxation. delinquent houses.

A Pittsburgh native and Penn State University graduate who earned a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois, Gorski said her goals for the CAC — beyond maintaining her architectural tours as a primary source revenues – include promoting “equity and diversity in the city” by fostering greater public discourse in underserved communities about urban planning concepts for affordable housing, environmental issues, and rampant property development industries, among other topics.

“I see the CAC as a forum to have these debates and (to) provide tools for community members to understand this work and how they can advocate for themselves,” she said.

Fundraising will also be a major priority for the association as Gorski seeks to support this mission. The CAC reported revenue of $21.2 million in 2019, according to a tax return. That number was decimated by COVID-19 to just $5.6 million in 2020, as its boat tours were shut down.

ACC Board Chair Ann Thompson, who serves as executive vice president of architecture and design at developer Related Midwest, said in a statement that Gorski “shares our mission to inspire people to discover why design matters, and we’re confident it will further our vision of a world in which design drives the growth of vibrant and equitable urban communities.”

During his short tenure as head of the Land Bank, Gorski helped advance a plan to redevelop the Washington Park National Bank building in Woodlawn, the extension of the CTA Red Line, and the redevelopment of 1 000th Land Bank House. The agency’s primary mission is to acquire distressed residential properties and eliminate tax liens and other debts before selling them to developers. The houses are then rehabilitated and ideally sold, restoring their land value to the department.

Cook County Council Commissioner and Land Bank Board Chair Bridget Gainer praised Gorski for his work on ambitious projects over the past year and for strengthening the authority’s relationship with officials of the city of Chicago.

“She has a huge heart for the (Land Bank) mission,” Gainer said, adding that she expects to find projects that CAC and Land Bank will collaborate on. “We will have a lot to do together.”

Gainer said the Land Bank Board is now beginning to search for Gorski’s replacement.

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