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On January 18, we celebrated 30 years with 300+ of our friends, clients, partner companies and staff members, past and present. People flew in from both coasts to attend! Along with the invitation, we requested that former Eastlakers send over fond and funny reflections of their time with us. Here are a few trips down memory lane, or more appropriately, Michigan Avenue.


As a summer intern during my college years, I had the honor of being the first employee of Eastlake Studio. I recall that the partners didn't quite know what to do with me at first, so I spent the first days with stereotypical intern tasks such as organizing project files and the design resource library. I quickly became involved in projects and was pleased to be included in client meetings and the business affairs of the studio from the very first day. Based on that first internship experience, I continued as an intern for the subsequent summers, then joined Eastlake as my first full-time professional position after graduate school. Looking back now after 30 years, I recall Eastlake Studio most memorably as a place to learn and interact with studio colleagues while continually exploring new professional challenges and opportunities. Back then, as a 21 year-old architecture student, I was impressed with the professionalism I was shown and the responsibilities I was given—a hallmark of Eastlake. The lasting impact of that first professional experience encouraged my development as an architect and as an entrepreneur in all of my future career experiences.

-Brian Bayer, Owner, Brian Bayer Architect

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I remember when I came on board at Eastlake and I was doing the Archeworks program and decided it wasn’t worth sticking with it. This upset Stanley Tigerman to no end. After suffering several tongue lashings from him I turned to Tom for advice. I will always remember Tom telling me, ‘Don’t worry, now you are like half the architects in Chicago! You pissed off Stanley Tigerman!’ Given Tom was the AIA Chicago president at the time, I figured it wasn’t the end of my career. I am grateful for Tom's kind words and friendship over the years.  

-Former Eastlaker 


I have always felt honored and loved being part of Eastlake’s team, from the moment Tom convinced me to give up my independent career to join Eastlake. It took almost an entire year to convince me, but it was completely worth it. I have to say that my absolute favorite memory was when we won the AIA Award for Hudson Highland, in 2004. Hudson Highland and Howe Barnes were the two projects that Tom used to lure me to join Eastlake Studio…and Hudson Highland won an AIA award and Howe Barnes got published in Contract Magazine. What a great way to kick start my design career! Thanks to him for letting me be part of the team.

Ann Chin, Midwest Regional Manager, Tiger Leather

                       Scott Karch

                       Scott Karch


My first dinner date with Wendy was at a nearby Korean restaurant. After dinner I took her to Tribune Tower. We sat with the window open, overlooking the Michigan Avenue bridge and Wrigley Building, talking late into the night while watching the city shut down.

Back in the days of computer catalog ordering, we decided to keep every catalog that came to the office for one year.  By the end of the year, the stack of catalogs was over 7 feet tall! We kept it in the corner by Dave's desk.

I was working late alone in the office—typical. Partway through the night, I heard Dave's voice taunting me from around the corner.  Dave had used Timbuktu to remotely control his computer. He'd copied some audio files and was playing them so I'd hear his voice.

-Scott Karch, Chief Technology Officer, Wizard Software Solutions


Eastlake Studio was my first Chicago family. I had the great privilege of working with all three original partners, Robert, Dave and Tom, learning from each in their own unique ways. I was given incredible opportunities for growth, gaining invaluable experience that has formed the basis of my professional life. But more importantly, Eastlake was the family that shared in my joys of marriage and the birth of my children and helped me form friendships tha still remain in my heart. I have general recollections of the work: late nights, Breakfast Club tech meetings, the many Halloween/Anniversary parties, (the inflated latex gloves mounted to the ceiling for the ‘Cows on Parade’ party were brilliant,) watching the Blue Angels from the roof of the tower on the Chicago Air Show practice day, and many office meetings, retreats, gatherings and celebrations. Specific anecdotes escape me, but the creative, open and caring environment is what I remember. All families should be as lucky. A very Happy 30th to Eastlake, and many more!

-Sandra Moon, Senior Project Manager, STR PARTNERS

                      Sandra Moon

                      Sandra Moon


I have a very fond memory of a trip that Dave, Robert and I took to Herman Miller. We were staying at that very nice Marigold retreat when Dave and I got bored and decided to watch TV down in the main area.  We turned on the Westminster Dog Show and proceeded to raid the kitchen (this place had a personal chef!) We found some great stuff, and we were having a grand old time eating salmon mousse and possibly drinking some very expensive wine, straight from the bottle, and then Robert emerged from the darkness and admonished our behavior.  We managed to keep a pretty straight face but then just lost it and couldn’t stop laughing. We got the silent treatment the whole ride home.  

And I also remember being really obnoxious on a trip to the IBM Peoria Office with Tom and Jon.  My stance was that art is what people did when they had nothing better to do with their time. I’m sure they both contemplated leaving me at a Stucky’s truck stop somewhere in central Illinois....

-Mimi Broeski, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin


Julie Adams yelling, 'Nudey Nudey,' when someone was getting out of the shower at the Hotel InterContinental, adjacent to Eastlake’s office.

Getting stuck in the Tribune Tower stairwell, post 9/11 and pre-card readers, when we still had keys. Not fun, but memorable.

Coming to work on 9/11 to everyone in the cafeteria staring at the TV after the first plane hit. Definitely not cool, but one of the most memorable days of my life.

Tom Munz and I were plotting to throw a superball out the window of the 30th floor to try and one-hop the Chicago river.  Would have been epic, however, the windows were locked shortly after we had the idea.

Watching the Sun Times building burn!

And finally, my view from the southwest corner of the office!

-Andy Holub, Preconstruction Manager, Turner Construction

                          Scott Wells

                          Scott Wells


This story has stuck with me for the past 18 years! It’s been that long!

When I was interviewing with Tom, I remember going to a Starbucks before our meeting. I got a peppermint mocha. It was almost Christmas, if I remember correctly, and it was snowing. I was still in awe of the city. Anyway, I have a very clear memory of walking into the Tribune Tower for the first time, and how excited I was. It was a major moment in my life. And now whenever I see snow or drink a peppermint mocha (like I am right now) and it reminds me of working there.  I’m so happy to see how much Eastlake Studio has grown! 

-Scott Wells, AIA, NCARB, Senior Project Manager


Eastlake Studio