To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Dahlquist and Lutzow Architects, Ltd., has a new logo, and has officially changed its name to DLA Architects, Ltd. The full-service firm specializes in educational, medical, recreational, office/commercial, specialty office and theater design. DLA Architects has provided comprehensive architectural/planning services for 41 Chicagoland school districts representing 127 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 48 high schools.
“We felt that this historic date was the perfect time to embrace the future and start a new journey into the next 25 years,” said Dwain Lutzow, founding partner of DLA. “The name DLA Architects reflects our commitment to architecture and our corporate vision to provide superior design services to our clients.”
The anniversary will be commemorated with a “Base Baseball!” theme which is apropos considering the founding partners Bruce Dahlquist and Dwain Lutzow met as children on the Little League field.
DLA Architects has two offices: 462 N. McLean Blvd., Elgin and 15 Salt Creek Lane, Suite 400, Hinsdale. Among its many awards, the firm was recognized as “Distinguished Architectural Firm of the Year,” the top honor in the State of Illinois.
DLA Architects also offers the following services: long-term facility planning, pre-project feasibility studies, cost estimating, referendum planning, interactive project planning, architectural design, bidding, construction administration, interior design, and facility assessment. The firm also has in-house graphic design capabilities with the ability to create CD/DVD productions, renderings, and animations.
Firmly committed to environmentally sensitive design, many of the architects of DLA have earned the prestigious designation as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED-AP) from the United States Green Building Council. Formed in 1993, the Council promotes the design, construction and operation of buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. The firm has applied energy efficient and passive solar design principles to projects for over two decades and currently has 8 projects seeking LEED Certification.
“Our sensitivity to design also benefits the community-at-large,” said Bruce Dahlquist, founding partner of DLA Architects. “We feel that environmental responsibility is imperative in today’s building and construction industry.”
It began with Little League
Bruce Dahlquist of Bartlett and Dwain Lutzow of Burr Ridge began their life-long relationship in the early 1960s when they played baseball on the same Little League team in the Oriole Park neighborhood of Chicago. Little did they know that later in life they would join forces to form their own team - a highly successful architectural firm.
After receiving his bachelors and masters degrees in architecture from the University of Illinois, Urbana, then working as an architect for 10 years, Dahlquist opened his own business in the basement of his Elgin home in 1982. Lutzow, a graduate of the architectural program at the University of Illinois-Chicago, practiced architecture for eight years before reconnecting with his childhood companion in 1982. The following year, the two friends formed the partnership of Dahlquist and Lutzow Architects, Ltd.
“I remember our humble beginnings when we worked in Bruce’s basement on second-hand drawing tables,” Lutzow said. “Bruce would open the door holding his newborn - who is a college graduate today!”
The combination of their unique talents made Dahlquist and Lutzow an excellent team, and very quickly, the pair needed to expand their workspace into the first-floor rooms of Dahlquist’s home. (The Dahlquist family moved across town.)
Five years later, they were able to move into the second floor of a new office building that they designed, which was built on the very site of the residential location that housed the firm’s early beginnings.
A steady stream of client successes, awards and sound partnerships followed. Historic restoration and preservation projects earned the firm local and state accolades, bringing public and professional recognition to the firm. In addition, school projects led to an increasing demand for Dahlquist and Lutzow’s special expertise in the planning and design of quality school environments.
In 1993, Dahlquist and Lutzow acquired the architectural firm of Larsen-Wulff Associates in La Grange, which broadened the scope of projects for the firm. The following year, the firm expanded again, designing and occupying one of the buildings in the McLean Executive Center in Elgin. This site provided an architectural office environment fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology to efficiently support architectural design, production and facility management services.
In 2001 the firm took another progressive step when Eric S. Sickbert, AIA, of Geneva and Thomas W. McInerney, AIA, of Aurora joined Bruce and Dwain as full partners of Dahlquist & Lutzow. Partners added since 2001 include: Steven K. Wright, AIA, of Crystal Lake, William E. Templin, AIA, of Geneva, Louis F. Noto, Jr, AIA, of Bolingbrook, and Carrie L. Matlock, AIA, of Chicago.
The firm has maintained a prominent role in the design of office/commercial, educational and other public sector facilities throughout Northern Illinois and the Midwest. Although the firm incorporates state-of-the-art CAD computer design systems into their work, they specialize in unique one-of-a-kind facilities that combine excellent form with progressive function.
Today, the firm’s staff numbers 45, many of whom have been with DLA Architects for more than 10 years.
The “Whatever it Takes” philosophy that Dahlquist and Lutzow adopted in the basement office 2 ½ decades ago has not wavered. The entire DLA team remains committed to solving the needs of clients by delivering a quality product with an attitude of caring and concern.
Educating the community
DLA Architects is committed to educating young people and adults about the significance of architecture and the role of the architect in society. The company’s Education in the Classroom program features DLA speakers in schools speaking on topics such as urban design, architectural design and history, construction technology, sustainable design, careers in architecture and preservation are discussed, along with drawing and blueprint reading demonstrations. The firm also sponsors education/business partnerships, mentoring, intern opportunities, architectural scholarships, and serves on state and national education committees. To that end, DLA recently received the Workforce Development Award from the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce. Presented on March 14, 2008, the award recognizes the firm for their efforts to improve the education and skills of the local workforce.
DLA Architects (dla-ltd.com) is also committed to local and statewide preservation education. It has provided leadership roles with local preservation groups and committees, state historic advisory councils, and preservation commissions. In addition, the firm has co-authored community and regional preservation booklets.