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Ellen Dickson

Ellen Dickson

President | Bailey Edward Design | Class of 1984

“Architecture is an all-consuming major, which meant we didn’t go to many places besides our studios," says Ellen Dickson, since 2001 the president of Chicago's Bailey Edward Design.

"Studios were our Kam’s, where we made friends and drank — coffee and soda. When we did go out, we could be spotted across the crowded bar by our ink-stained hands and the occasional errant drafting tape stuck to our sleeves. Maybe we weren’t cool enough to go anywhere but studio.

“My favorite studio spot was on the top floor of the Architecture Building — third desk from the east, with a great view out a dormer onto the Business Quad and the Surveying Building, soon to be the Irwin Center for Doctoral Studies. Built in 1905, the Jacobean and Flemish-style building successfully avoided the Georgian-style takeover of the rest of campus. It is a delightfully small-scaled brick and stone building that has tremendous personality and individual character. 

“That reminds me, it should be on my sketching bucket list along with Foellinger Auditorium, the Henry Administration entrance, the Illini Union lobby and Altgeld Hall. All buildings with details worth memorizing. 

“Speaking of great details, have you noticed the owls on Lincoln Hall? My firm did the preservation work on that fabulous building and it was a special discovery for me.”