There is no other association activity that more perfectly defines the mission of the Chicago Building Congress than its Merit Award Program.  The Merit Awards have truly celebrated the building industry since 1956 by singling out the outstanding projects in greater Chicagoland built during the past three years.  Merit Awards are presented for construction in the following nine categories:

  • New Construction Under $15 Million
  • New Construction $15 – $55 Million
  • New Construction Over $55 Million
  • Renovation & Adaptive Reuse Under $10 Million
  • Renovation & Adaptive Reuse Over $10 Million
  • Infrastructure Construction
  • Industrial Construction
  • Interior Build-Out
  • CBC/COAA Owners’ Choice Award

Stay tuned for more information in the Fall of 2019 for the 2020 Merit Award Submissons!

What sets the Merit Awards Program above most similar competitions is its meticulous judging process.  Entries from all nine categories are judged individually in multiple judging sessions by a dedicated panel of 40 CBC member volunteers on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Distinctive, functional, or innovative design
  • Quality of Construction
  • Impact of the project upon the community
  • Safety Record

Congrats 2019 Merit Award Finalists & Winners!


Burbank School District 111 Luther Burbank Elementary School – Winner!
Chicago Architecture Center
Moxy Chicago Downtown

Infrastructure Construction

41st Street Pedestrian Bridge over Lake Shore Drive – Winner!
CTA Wilson Station Reconstruction

Interior Build-Out

Captive Resources
CNA Corporate Headquarters Relocation
C.H. Robinson
Tribune Media & WGN Radio Interior Build Out
DLA Piper – Winner!

New Construction Under $15M

412 N. Wells – Winner!
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Outpatient and DayRehab Center
Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Student Center
Loyola University Flex Lab Engineering Building
Searle Visitor Center

New Construction $15 – $55 M

C.H. Robinson Midwest Headquarters
Milwaukee Belden TOD
AM 1980
Manufacturing Technology & Engineering Center at Richard J. Daley College – Winner!

New Construction Over $55M

Cook County Central Campus Health Center
Hotel Zachary at Gallagher Way
Holtschneider Performance Center – Winner!
Northwestern University Ryan/Walter Athletics Center
727 West Madison
The Cooper at Southbank

Renovation & Adaptive Reuse UNDER $10M

Bronzeville Classical School
Merchandise Mart Art on theMART
Greenwood American Kitchen & Bar
The Newberry Renovation – Winner!
University of Chicago Medicine Cell Processing Facility

Renovation & Adaptive Reuse OVER $10M

Hotel Julian – Winner!
Chicago Union Station Great Hall Restoration
Elgin Tower Apartments
Fannie Emanuel Apartments for Senior Housing Modernization
Court House Place / Bartlit Beck Office Renovation


1956  Prudential 

1957  Old Orchard Shopping Center

1958  Inland Steel

1959  Illinois State Tollway

1960  Michael Reese Hospital

1961   McCormick Place

1962  United Of America

1963  United States Gypsum

1964  Continental Plaza

1965  Central District Filtration

1966  Univ of Chicago At Chicago Circle

1967  Oak Brook Development

1968  Lake Point Tower

1969  One First National Bank

1970  McCormick Place On The Lake

1971  Woodfield Mall

1972  James Roscoe Miller Campus

1973  Sears Tower

1974  One Montgomery Ward Plaza

1975  Standard Oil (Amoco)

1976  Water Tower Place

1977  Cultural Center

1978  Academic Facility

1979  Dearborn Park

1980  New City YMCA

1981  Kroc Diagnostic Treatment Center

1982  Chicago Board Of Trade Addition

1983  333 West Wacker Drive

1984  McDonald’s Office Campus

1985 One Financial Place
Chicago Hilton And Towers

1986 190 South LaSalle
Chicago Theatre

1987 Center For Professional Education

1988 Center For Professional Health

1989 United Terminal

1990 Riverway
North Pier Chicago

1991 Canal Center
Hotel Inter-Continental Chicago

1992 City Front Place
Harpo Studios

1993  Walsh Grand Headquarters
Marshall Fields State Street

1994  Chavez Elementary School
Sears Tower
2000 Wacker Drive Streetscape

1995 Cook County Juvenile Center
Finkl Urban Manufacturing
Chicago Commons Nia Family Center

1996 Monadnock Building
Children’s Memorial Medical Center
Fourth Presbyterian Church
Williams Science Center Addition

1997 McCormick Place Expansion
Calumet Deep Tunnel/Reservoir
CTA Green Line Renovation

1998 HCSC (Blue Cross Building)
Chicago Terminal Radar Approach
Carl Schurz High School Restoration
Little Village Academy

1999 Living Coast/Brookfield Zoo
Brooks Homes Modernization
Barat College Library
Elmhurst Art Museum

2000   Adler Planetarium/Sky Pavilion
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Schaumburg Baseball Stadium
Goldblatt’s Building Renovation
Lake City Convention/Visitors Center


2001   Pharmacia Life Sciences Building
Bachelor Enlisted Quarter
Shedd Aquarium/Amazon Rising
North Shore Senior Center

2002   UBS Tower
Glenview Park Center
360 North Michigan Renovation
Jubilee Family Resource Center

2003   Homan Square Community Center
Levy Senior Center
Midwest Ctr For Green Technology
La Rabida Children’s Hospital

2004   Soldier Field
Oak Park Public Library
York High School
Lookingglass Theatre

2005   Lincoln Park Zoo Regenstein Center
Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Kendall College Riverworks Camps
Patty Turner Senior Center

2006   Conservation Of The U-505 Sub

Orland Park Public Library
Domestic Violence Court House
Rogers Park Montessori School

2007   Gary Comer Youth Center
Calamos Headquarters
LaSalle Bank Theater
Chicago Greenworks

2008  Klarchek Information Commons
Ravinia New Dining Facility
Orland Park Police Headquarters
SOS Children’s Village

2009  Trump International Hotel
Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue
Palmer House Hilton Hotel
Holy Family Lutheran School

2010  Art Institute Of Chicago
Modern Wing & Nichols Bridgeway
Metea Valley High School
Uno Veterans Memorial Campus
Hidden Oaks Nature Center
S & C Electric Co Advanced Tech Crt
Village Of Oak Park
Marion & Westgate St Improvements

2011  300 East Randolph
Chicago Botanic Garden
Plant Conservation Science Center
The Sullivan Center
Cast Iron Façade Restoration
PCC Wellness Austin Family Health
Exelon Solar City

2012  Ogden International School
Astellas North American Hdqrtrs
Camp Porter Barracks
III Forks Steakhouse
Hairpin Lofts & Arts Center
Old Town School Of Folk Music
S-K Hand Tool
Teen Living Programs Belfort House

2013  Univ of Chgo Reva & David Logan Ctr
Ronald McDonald House 211 E Grand
Monroe Building
LaCasa Student Dormitory
31st Street Harbor
Silver Cross Replacement Hospital
Winpak Portion Packaging
Baker & McKenzie

2014  Adjustable Forms, Inc.
Univ. of Chicago Quad Portal
CTA Loop Track Renewal Project
DePaul University Theatre School
Argonne Energy Sciences Bldg.
Genevieve & Wayne Gratz  Center
Back of Yards High School
Instituto Health Sciences Academy

2015   BP Emergency Services Building
Adler Planetarium Cosmology Gallery
LaRabida Children’s Hospital Ambulatory Care Ctr.
University of Chicago 58th St. East & West Revitalization
University of Chicago Saieh Hall for Economics
University of Chicago Saieh Hall for Economics
Northeastern Illinois University “El Centro Campus”
Argonne National Laboratory Advanced Protein

2016    NewCity
Chinatown Branch, Chicago Public Library
DuPage County Health Dept. Community Center
Chicago Athletic Association
Rosewood Beach Development
Chicago Riverwalk Phase II
Amazon Sortation & Fulfillment Center
Confidential Technology  Project
Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center

2017  Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
Saia LTL Freight
Navy Pier Centennial Wheel
Zurich North America
Abe and Ida Cooper Center
Joliet Central High School Student Center Addition
Albert Lane Tech High School Renovation
River Point Tower
Albert Lane Tech High School Renovation

2018  Washington Wabash CTA Loop Elevated Station
Joliet Junior College City Center
Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple
IBEW Local 9, University Park Training Facility
Hotel EMC2
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Trumpf Smart Factory