As WJW’s founding partner, William Worn’s lasting influence and impact is felt throughout the firm’s culture, focus, direction and work.
Trained in psychology as well as architecture, Bill has brought his experience in the social sciences to architectural practice from his early days as an architect. It was his abiding interest in helping others through design that informed the beginnings of WJW and continues to guide the firm today in its mission to realize projects that succeed on financial, practical and design merits while also succeeding in bringing a better built environment to life for end users, communities and partners.
Nationally renowned for his pioneering work in designing housing environments for people with disabilities, Bill has developed curricula for teaching federal accessibility requirements to Housing and Urban Development staff offices in eight cities nationwide; helped to write and educate others on the Illinois Accessibility Code; and served on the MOPD Accessible Housing Task Force in Chicago and the Illinois Attorney General’s Access Committee. He was awarded the AIA Citation of Honor for his work on behalf of people with disabilities.
Bill’s equally potent history as a teacher and mentor to young architects has also impacted both WJW and the wider community of architecture. As a teacher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is Clinical Associate Professor Emeritus, and at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was Director of the Master of Science in Health Design program, Bill’s research and teaching interests have centered around healthcare and sustainability in architecture. Among his students who shared a passion for healthcare design was Heidi Wang, who continued on to become a partner at WJW and has led the firm in research that advanced design for senior living and memory care environments.
His contributions to the field also include serving as Commissioner on the Illinois Building Commission and chair of the IBC Accessibility Committee and as past President of the American Institute of Architects Illinois, in addition to service on numerous boards, including the Chicago Environmental Fund.
With his wife, Diane Baker, Bill has created a rich foundation of thoughtful design that improves the larger community as well as a firm culture that creates a true workplace family inside WJW. Through his example and leadership, the firm is today an incubator for mentorship, thoughtful participation in the world at large and design excellence that points the way for future contributions.