50 Years of Design Excellence Awards
When the Design Excellence Awards were established in 1955 to honor major achievements in architecture, Richard J. Daley was mayor and McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Des Plaines, IL. WTTW-Channel 11 began broadcasting over the air waves.
Now 50 years later, Daley's son, Richard M., is mayor. McDonald's franchises serve hamburgers worldwide and WTTW-Channel 11 continues to present award-winning television programs. Design Excellence Awards are now given in four categories: Distinguished Building, Interior Architecture and Divine Detail, Unbuilt Design, and Sustainable Design (new in 2004), which alternate each year. The Design Excellence Awards recognize the best contemporary architecture produced by Chicago-area firms, locally and elsewhere. A subjective jury of fellow architects selects the winners.