Latent | Rusu-McCartin Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2023. Image credit: Tom Harris

The Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices program spotlights North American architects, landscape architects, and urban designers who have significant bodies of realized work and the potential to influence their field.

Katherine Darnstadt of Latent won a 2024 award.

Katherine Darnstadt founded Latent in Chicago in 2010. Working at the intersection of architecture and community development, Latent utilizes participatory processes and leverages local assets to create design solutions in resource and budget limited environments. The practice’s portfolio includes small-scale urban interventions, new construction community buildings, adaptive reuse, neighborhood master plans and design speculations. Focused on accessibility, sustainability, and economic viability, the practice “is founded on the belief that great spaces belong to our most vulnerable populations,” in its own words.

Projects include

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago Rusu-McCartin Club, a 28,000 square foot youth community center featuring flexible classroom space and a rooftop meadow
  • Boombox, a prefabricated kiosk installed on vacant lots and plazas to provide pop-up opportunities for small businesses and artists blocked from traditional retail
  • Forty Acres Fresh Market, a new grocery store and banking facility for an under resourced Chicago neighborhood in collaboration with a former Boombox food services vendor

Latent won the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Community Design Impact Award in 2023, along with many other honors both in Chicago and nationally. Katherine Darnstadt has been profiled in RIBA Publication’s 100 Women Architects and The Architectural Review.

Katherine Darnstadt is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and a licensed architect in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. She holds a BArch from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


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