Margaret Zirkel Young Recognized as

2024 Chicago Women in Architecture Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Margaret Zirkel Young, AIA, NCARB, IFMA, CWA

Established in 2017, the CWAF Lifetime Achievement Award honors distinguished architects who have profoundly impacted the profession, positively contributed as members of CWA, and have supported issues faced by women architects throughout their careers. This year, the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Awardee is Margaret Zirkel Young, AIA, NCARB, IFMA, CWA an architect and real estate broker, with over 40 years of experience. 

From 1960-1963, Young trained at the University of Illinois at Navy Pier Undergraduate Campus and the Illinois School of Real Estate Appraising in Chicago. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1966, becoming a licensed architect in 1971. Young attended the Real Estate Education Co. School in Chicago from 1981-1982, becoming a Registered Real Estate Broker in the State of Illinois in 1982.

In 1974, Young became a founding member of Chicago Women in Architecture and participated in the 1978 CWA Traveling Exhibition which promoted the work of women Architects in the Chicago Area. Young also worked to promote the profession of architecture by partnering with architects Betty J. Ritter, Alyce Knight, and Celia Pew to create the Triton College sponsored video, “Shadows on the Landscape,” a 34-minute video to stimulate the interest of high school students in architecture as a profession. All four women received an AIA Service State Award in 1977 for their work on the film.

Young trained in both a Real Estate Appraiser’s and a Landscape Architect’s office before working on-site as a project architect at Ezra Gordon-Jack M. Levin & Associates, Architects from 1969 through 1986. During her time there, she worked on numerous Chicago Area residential high-rise projects. The most notable of which include Newberry Plaza, at 1000 North State Street, River Plaza, at 405 North Wabash Avenue, and 400 East Ohio Street. In 1986 Young joined the Executive Management Team of Arthur Anderson & Co. and Accenture LLP as the in house Design and Construction Project Manager, retiring in 2002.


Established in 2017, the Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award honors distinguished women who have positively contributed as a member of Chicago Women in Architecture and have supported issues faced by women architects throughout their careers. Award recipients are nominated and selected by CWA and CWAF as recognition of the awardee’s impact on the lives and careers of others in the architecture community, inspiring new generations of women to engage with CWA and the field of architecture. Previous awardees are Cynthia Weese, FAIA; Roula Alakiotou, FAIA; Linda Searl, FAIA; and Kathryn H. Anthony, PhD.


Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA)

CWA is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit membership organization founded in 1974 to establish community, mentorship, visibility, and advocacy for women working in the field of architecture and related professions. Through the ongoing efforts of the entirely volunteer-led organization, this mission is realized by offering educational, professional, and social networking events; organizing and sponsoring lectures in partnership with like-minded organizations; and awarding annual scholarships to women architecture students in their final year of study.

Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation (CWAF)

In 2003, CWAF was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Today, CWAF continues its support of CWA initiatives by raising funds to expand scholarship offerings as well as fundraising for events and special projects that further the careers for women in and around the field of architecture.