Evanston Ecology Center Breaks Ground with Nurture Architects

19 April 2024
The Evanston Ecology Center's 50th-anniversary groundbreaking ceremony on April 19th was a vibrant celebration, drawing in residents and city officials to revel in this pivotal moment. Amidst the jubilation, attention was turned towards the renovation efforts of Nurture Architects. April Hughes, President of Nurture, took to the podium to share insights into the transformative vision guiding the Center's redesign. Hughes highlighted how the renovation, targeting LEED Gold, aligns with Evanston's Climate Action and Resilience Plan. The renovation incorporates a redesigned public entryway, featuring a welcome desk crafted from donated lumber, and a dynamic map of North Shore trails and waterways. A revamped children's classroom, with a new flooring design aiding programmatic zoning, was designed to provide a functional and harmonious space for their frequent educational programming. The successful event commemorated the Center's five decades of service and ushered in a new chapter of environmental stewardship.

Nurture's Riya Desai, Assoc. AIA, Achieves LEED AP BD+C Certification

25 March 2024
Riya Desai, Assoc. AIA, a Junior Associate at Nurture, has earned LEED AP BD+C certification, showcasing her proficiency in sustainable design and commitment to advancing her career in green building. With a Bachelor of Architecture degree specializing in Art & Architectural History and Landscape Design, Riya brings a unique perspective to her work, creating harmonious, sustainable designs that consider both built and natural environments. Additionally, Riya is actively involved in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the architecture industry, serving as Co-Chair for the AIA Chicago Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Her achievements align with Nurture's values of inclusivity and social responsibility.

April Selected for Jury AIA Honolulu Design Awards

15 March 2024
April Hughes, AIA has been selected by AIA Honolulu Design Awards Committee to participate as a juror for this year’s 2024 Design Awards Jury. The AIA Honolulu’s Annual Design Awards is Hawaii’s oldest program of its type—held annually since 1958. Built and unbuilt projects submitted by local AIA members are judged on their merit by a distinguished jury of AIA architects. All project types are eligible for submission by members—from small home renovations to multi-million-dollar resorts. The Annual AIA Honolulu Design Awards Program provides an avenue for AIA Honolulu architects to be recognized by their peers for their effort and dedication to excellence in architectural design. In doing so, AIA Honolulu hopes to raise public consciousness, awareness of design excellence and the special role of AIA architects in the community. The 2024 Design Awards Gala will be held Friday, July 26, 2024.

Nurture Transforms Historic River North Space into Vibrant New Office

10 October 2023
Nurture is thrilled to announce its relocation to 314 W. Institute Place in May 2023, transforming a historic River North lot into a dynamic 2,000 square foot office space. The new location boasts abundant natural light and overlooks a newly landscaped city park, creating a welcoming and inspiring atmosphere. Collaborating with local muralist Emmy Brown, Nurture has adorned the office with captivating murals celebrating woman-owned companies. The space features industrial-inspired aesthetics with refinished concrete floors and interior black finishes, complementing the historic elements of the building. The office includes two well-appointed conference rooms, ample collaboration spaces, a fully equipped kitchen, and eco-friendly choices such as low VOC and recycled products Nurture hosted an Open House in October 2023 to showcase their new office space, further solidifying their presence in the vibrant River North neighborhood.

Nurture’s Gwen Stricker, Assoc. AIA Helps Lead Calumet Heritage Conference

01 October 2023
Nurture (formerly HPZS) proudly sponsored the 24th Annual Calumet Heritage Conference at the Field Museum. We believe preservation is the bridge between past and future, where history is harmonized with equitable sustainability.⁠ ⁠ Gwen Stricker, Assoc. AIA, a Preservation Architectural Designer, and a Board Member for the Calumet Heritage Partnership, stands at the forefront of our commitment. The conference, "Showcasing Calumet Communities: Collaborative Directions for Museums and Heritage Areas," celebrated the Calumet Voices, National Stories exhibit. This exhibit, a collaboration of 15 regional museums and historical societies, highlighted the nationally significant story of the Calumet Heritage Area.⁠ ⁠ Furthermore, Gwen addressed guests during a program about restoration efforts at East Side Tap at 94th Street and Ewing Avenue in Chicago. The gathering was a way to “shine a spotlight on preservation in the Calumet region,” Stricker said, a complex area where “industry, residential communities and natural prairies, marshes and dunes are so tightly packed together.”

April Hughes, AIA Selected to Jury AIA Northern Virginia Design Awards

24 June 2023
April Hughes, AIA was invited by AIA Northern Virginia Design Awards Committee to participate as a juror for this year’s Awards Jury to be held in-person at AIA Chicago. The AIA NoVA Chapter Design Awards Program recognizes and celebrates their members’ achievements in design of the built environment and their commitment to design excellence in various practice groups. These prestigious awards, held August 10, 2023, demonstrate to the clients and the public the value of good design while identifying local firms and individuals dedicated to providing outstanding architectural design and service.

Just Certification Obtained

04 April 2023
We are thrilled to announce Nurture (formerly HPZS) is currently the only Woman-Owned Illinois architecture firm and one of two organizations headquartered in Chicago to have a Just 2.0 label.⁠ ⁠ Administered by the International Living Futures Institute (ILFI), the JUST™ program is a system of metrics intended to measure organization’s performance on a range of issues relative to their policies and business practices. The result of this participation is a nutrition label, a publicly accessible scorecard transparently declaring the firm’s current performance measured against these metrics.⁠ ⁠ HPZS is proud to be included in these endeavors, marking and leading the beginning of a new era of corporate transparency.

Riya Desai, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP Selected as Co-Chair for AIA Chicago Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

03 March 2023
Riya Desai, Assoc. AIA is leading the AIA Chicago EDI Committee as Co-Chair, and has been instrumental in driving the committee's goals forward.⁠ She is deeply committed to advancing equity and inclusivity within our profession, and as co-chair developing new initiatives and programming that address issues of bias and discrimination, fostering a more welcoming and supportive environment for underrepresented groups.⁠ ⁠ Her leadership has been key in expanding the reach and impact of the EDI Committee, and in promoting a culture of respect, understanding, and inclusion across the architecture community.

April Hughes, AIA Selected as Jury Chair for AIA Birmingham Design Excellence Awards

15 June 2022
Hosted in Chicago at Nurture offices, April Hughes, AIA and Jury Chair convened the AIA Birmingham 2022 Design Awards Jury for awards that were bestowed in late July 2022. Each year, AIA Birmingham hosts Design Awards to recognize excellence in architectural design by architects in the Birmingham Chapter. These awards increase awareness of outstanding architecture and honor architects, clients, consultants, and contractors who work together to improve the built environment

April Hughes, AIA Selected as Director for Board of Local Domestic Violence Organization

02 February 2021
April Hughes, AIA was recently selected to serve on the Board of Directors for Connections for Abused Women and Their Children (CAWC), Chicago’s oldest domestic violence organization. Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) is committed to ending domestic violence. Using a self-help, empowerment approach, they provide a shelter for adults and children, counseling, advocacy, and a 24-hour hotline for people affected by domestic violence. They work for social change through education, service collaboration, and institutional advocacy. CAWC believes that all people have a right to violence-free lives. In addition to serving on the Board, April is co-chairing the Building Committee for a new 45-bed shelter for the organization that will work to co-locate supportive and legal services as well as serving on the Capital Campaign Commitee for Leading the Future of the Open Door Project.