Think Tank Think Tank



Why Think Tank?

The Think Tank is an annual symposium orchestrated by Legat Architects. Each year, we invite authorities from a variety of disciplines to speak about trends related to their areas of expertise, as well as how design impacts those fields. In recent years, the symposium has featured discussions about biophilic and sustainable design, health and welfare, school safety, urban sprawl, and many other timely topics. During our last in-person event in 2019, the Think Tank partnered with the Chicago Architecture Biennial and was featured on ArchDaily, Bustler, and Architectural Products magazine.

In 2020, we discussed resilience in a post-COVID world among various industries including healthcare, transportation, and education. The event, co-hosted by the Chaddick Institute at DePaul University, was open to the public. Due to the global pandemic, the 2020 Think Tank took place entirely online as a series of lunchtime lectures hosted by experts from around the country.

A Brief History

  • THINK TANK 2014 | Prototype
  • THINK TANK 2015 | Education
  • THINK TANK 2016 | Biophilia
  • THINK TANK 2017 | Health, Safety, and WELLfare
  • THINK TANK 2018 | Neuroscience
  • THINK TANK 2019 | Megaregion
  • THINK TANK 2020 | Resilient
  • THINK TANK 2021 | Homecoming

Why Legat Architects?

Legat Architects was founded in 1964 in a Waukegan, Illinois home. The firm gained a reputation for projects that were on time, on budget, and responsive.

In the ensuing decades, the firm opened more studios and took on higher profile projects. Its work won more design awards, while its portfolio spread to over 30 countries.

Though today Legat stands as a leading design firm, its legacy of responsive client service and employee empowerment remains at the firm’s core.

“Our multi-studio structure gives clients the convenience of a local architect with large firm resources. It also lets employees work for a major firm close to home and allows us to select from a larger talent pool,” says Patrick Brosnan, the president and CEO of Legat.

Throughout Legat’s history, our designers have put themselves in facility owners’ shoes to understand what they see and feel. That happens through the art of interaction . . . working with building users and communities to uncover and address their needs.


Our approach to design is collaborative and inclusive. We consider every challenge as a design opportunity, and we take a lifelong learner’s approach to every project.

Legat buildings have no distinct style, but we have a distinct design process. Every design grows out of clients’ needs and responds to their culture, site, and aspirations. It might be a Prairie-style building to respond to an established neighborhood. Or it might be a contemporary facility to inspire future development in an up-and-coming community. What matters to us is that the design respects the budget, improves performance, and creates a legacy of pride for our clients and their communities.

Our design process acknowledges the voices of all stakeholders. We empower our clients to fully consider the impacts of every design decision. We believe that all of us together are smarter than any one of us alone. A great idea can come from anywhere, from anyone. Each stakeholder has a voice in our design process.

We believe in addressing context, at all scales and in all things . . . from the tactile quality of a door handle to the structural and infrastructural nature of the facility.


We believe in architecture that inspires and elevates the individual. We have examined the research behind what makes environments exceptional and we integrate this knowledge into our work.

Daylight improves learning. Color impacts concentration. Building shape and materials can respond to local climate data. We understand the impact of these and other architectural influences on the daily life of people. We use this knowledge to make choices that allow each building user to achieve his or her highest level of performance.

Each year, we host a symposium and design exhibition called the Think Tank. Building owners, academics, design professionals, and community members share their visions for the future of architecture.

At Legat, we embrace the unknown: each project is an opportunity for experimentation and innovation. Working with clients, we push the boundaries of contemporary design to support our clients’ philosophies.


Legat’s sustainability practice is comprised of decades of experience. Our designers are committed to creating exceptional high-performance solutions for our clients.

Our practice aims at integration of sustainability, renewable energy, and deep energy efficiency into high-performance building design. Sustainable principles guide every aspect of our practice. From enhancing energy efficiency to incorporating durable, long-lasting materials and systems that focus on user well-being and comfort, our designs are aimed at creating economic, social, and environmental success. The idea of a healthy and thriving future for all motivates our work.

In line with creating buildings with a positive impact on their surroundings, we are also committed to creating buildings that are designed with end-user wellness in mind. Our commitment to wellbeing extends to the individual user’s comfort and right to a healthy work environment, both physically and mentally.