Legat Architects Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Words: Bronzella Cleveland

While Legat Architects is known for creative design and client service, it is not associated with a specific design style or building type. However, the firm’s portfolio reveals that it has quietly transformed the Chicago region: 500 educational projects, train stations and civic buildings in 50 communities, 500 healthcare projects, 100 corporate facilities, and 20 mixed-use developments.

The firm also is well-versed in international work: it has designed projects in 20 countries.

This month, Legat Architects ushers in its 50th anniversary by honoring its past and celebrating its “Next 50.”

Growth Benefits Clients and Employees
In 1964, Joseph Legat launched Legat Architects from his Waukegan, Ill., home. Since then, the firm opened Illinois studios in Chicago, Oak Brook, Crystal Lake, and Moline.

President/CEO Patrick Brosnan said, “Our multi-studio structure gives clients the convenience of a local architect with large firm resources. It also lets employees work for a major firm close to home, and allows us to select from a larger talent pool.”

With, Not For
Brosnan attributes the firm’s success to a focus on community-based design. “We start by listening and learning, then we sketch with clients. Their views and values influence the solution that we develop together. Legat Architects creates a project vision with our clients, not for them.”

“Next 50” Campaign
Legat Architects will host five pro bono community planning workshops in celebration of the firm’s half century mark. Brosnan said, “We’ve set aside $50,000 in employee time to give back to places where we live and work. It’s about investing in community initiatives that would not otherwise occur.”

Legat Architects also will continue to support educational and social outreach. In the past five years, the firm donated more than $300,000 toward foundations and scholarships.

What do the next 50 years hold for Legat Architects? “Greater mobility, visualization through technology, and continued focus on design and sustainability are just the beginning,” said Brosnan. “Ultimately, it’s about helping clients and building owners use these tools to improve performance and better connect with their communities.”

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