Jody Ortiz, CBS Realtors, Waukegan
It may sound like a common answer, especially here in northern Illinois where he did a great deal of work, but I favor Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright put a great amount of thought into designing buildings that fit into their surroundings and did not stand out against them. He took advantage of the existing landscape to create buildings that are just amazing. To this day, his open living spaces, organic construction and clean geometric lines set his designs apart.
Katie Mischka, Habitat Company, Chicago
Renzo Piano is one of the most innovative architects working today. He has taken many commissions — particularly projects that are initially controversial, but the public typically embraces his work upon completion (such as Pompidou Center and Potsdamer Platz). Piano is respected for his involvement in the entire construction process. Piano’s artistic integrity proves especially significant when examining the real estate industry: an arena in which, with dedication, sometimes the most difficult projects reap the greatest rewards.
Kim Kerbis, @Properties, Chicago
I love modern architecture, and I love Frank Lloyd Wright, who was an early modernist. I love how his buildings, whether they are private homes, offices or institutions, appear grand on the outside but are incredibly intimate on the inside. Take the Robie House in Hyde Park, the Johnson Wax building in Wisconsin or the Guggenheim Museum in New York; they all appear huge from the street, but then you enter into a very intimate, people-sized space.
I also love his use of natural materials and the way he manipulates space and light. I have traveled extensively in the United States to see his buildings. In their own way, they are all extraordinary and filled with design surprises.
Mary Zentz, RE/MAX Suburban, Arlington Heights
Frank Lloyd Wright is my favorite architect. Perhaps he’s obvious because of his level of fame, but I grew up a fan of the Arts and Crafts movement and fond memories of sitting in an original Morris chair that was a wedding present from my mother to my father. That chair is now in my family room. For my 20th anniversary, I stayed at the Frank Lloyd Wright Seth Peterson cottage at Mirror Lake, Wis., the only FLW home available to rent on a daily basis. And of course I have toured Spring Green in Wisconsin and the FLW buildings in nearby Oak Park. Touring significant architecture re-inspires my interest in all things real estate.