Eric Keune

Director

Location

Chicago

Eric Keune is a design director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago, where he has practiced as an architect, architectural historian, and author for more than 21 years. Both disciple and teacher of Modernism, Eric’s design work is guided by a continual effort to advance building performance, exploration of the dialogue between structural and programmatic expression, and creating a lively and engaging connections between architecture and art. Focused on the importance of craft and excellence in making within the language of modernism, his works operate in the space between architectural history, the contemporary visual arts, and 21st century building technology.

Having joined SOM in 1998, Eric worked in the firm’s San Francisco office for ten years before relocating to Chicago, where he leads projects across scales both locally and globally. His recent work includes an award winning state-of-the-art training center for Swiss Pharmaceutical Company Roche Diagnostics in Indianapolis, Indiana, and a 13-building campus also for Roche in Suzhou, China. His 288-meter tall mixed-use tower in Beijing, China World Trade Center, opened in October of 2017 and was recognized as an exemplary work of innovation and sustainability in tall building design.

Eric has led two projects for the U.S. Department of State: the new embassy complex in Beijing and the consulate complex in Guangzhou. As a part of a mandate to showcase contemporary American Art, Keune worked closely with the Department of State to feature work by artists Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Russell Crotty, Maya Lin, and Martin Puryear, many of which were created specifically for their unique locations. In the United States, Eric led the design of the North American headquarters for Kia Motors in Irvine, California, and the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.

Eric’s work has been published nationally and internationally, and he is the recipient of more than 40 design awards, including a 2018 AIA Chicago Unbuilt Forward award for the proposed reuse of Bertrand Goldberg’s Elgin Laundry Building. Eric’s design for the Jinling Tower in Nanjing was exhibited at the 2006 Venice Biennale, and his work was featured in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Keune has taught design studios at the University of Tennessee, California College of Arts, Northwestern University, and IIT where he is an adjunct faculty member. He continues to research the history of the Modern movement, and serves on the board of Docomomo US/Chicago and on the Executive committee of the Glessner House Museum in Chicago. He is the author of Paffard Keating-Clay: Modern Architect(ure)/Modern Master(s) in 2006; and he curated a travelling exhibition of the same title. His most recent book from 2017, 100 Buildings, was co-authored by Thom Mayne, Val Warke and Eui-Sung Yi.