AIA Chicago Honors Jack Catlin
LCM founding partner John H. "Jack" Catlin, FAIA, was honored with AIA Chicago’s 2022 Distinguished Service Award.
Since 1955, the AIA Chicago Board has recognized those making outstanding contributions to the Chicago community. These contributions span the profession, public service, and education.
Jack has distinguished himself in those categories through a 40-year career. As a licensed architect, industry leader, and educator, he is a pioneer in architectural accessibility. Jack increased awareness and understanding regarding accessibility in the building industry.
Since 1975, when he became a wheelchair user, he has been building bridges between the disabled and architectural communities. His profession as an architect gave him an avenue to shape the built environment, spaces that adapt to people, not the other way around.
In 1996, Jack, Dick Lehner, and Doug Mohnke launched LCM Architects, coupling architecture with accessibility consulting. Architects, significant developers, corporations, universities, and municipalities throughout the U.S. have relied on LCM’s guidance on inclusive design, accessibility compliance, and interpretation of federal, state, and local regulations. In addition, LCM has a diverse architectural portfolio, including several universally designed projects, such as Access Living’s headquarters building in Chicago.
Board and Advisory Services
Jack has served on boards and committees instrumental in developing accessibility standards and guidelines. He was appointed in 1994 by President Clinton for two four-year terms to the U.S. Access Board, the federal agency responsible for developing ADA Guidelines, and is the first practicing architect to chair the Board. He chaired the committee responsible for revising the 1991 Accessibility Guidelines that resulted in the 2010 ADA Standards. Jack’s input as an architect and person with a disability has been invaluable in writing or revising the Illinois Accessibility Code and the Chicago Building Code.
In Chicago, his home base, Jack’s notable civic engagement has included service on boards of the Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Transit Authority, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and Metropolitan Planning Council. He has also advised many City of Chicago agencies, from curb ramps to CTA stations to airports.
Jack has educated thousands about the ADA, FHA, Section 504, and other accessibility regulations. For over six years, he conducted semi-annual, three-day training sessions for the National Association of ADA Coordinators (NAADAC). Additionally, Jack provided courses to building industry professionals through FHA FIRST—a HUD initiative LCM managed for ten years.
Jack connects to local, national, and international audiences through panels, webinars, or professional forums. Jack delivered presentations to the Kennedy Center, Obama Foundation, United Nations Accessibility Conference, Smithsonian Institution, and National Association of College and University Attorneys, among others. Jack’s discussions on accessibility and inclusive design raise awareness of the importance of compliance with accessibility regulations not just to benefit individuals with disabilities but for a healthier society.
Jack has moved the building industry to transform how we design and build spaces. He has opened opportunities for people with diverse abilities to participate independently, equally, and with dignity.