Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, LEED BD+C

Founder & Principal, Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Master of Architecture  |  Emphasis: Energy Conscious Design - 1985
Arizona State University, Tempe

Bachelor of Environmental Design - 1983
University of Colorado, Boulder

AIA National 2030 Commitment Working Group - 2014 to current (Co-chair 2018-2019)
AIA Chicago 2030 Commitment Working Group - 2010 to 2016 

Citizens Greener Evanston
Board of Directors - 2010 to 2014
Renewable Energy Task Force - 2008 to current


Nathan Kipnis has spent his career practicing and promoting the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency in architectural design. A life-long interest was initially sparked during the 1973 energy crisis, and Mr. Kipnis designed his first solar home, located in Boulder, CO, when he was just 22 years old.

The architectural work designed by Mr. Kipnis has been widely published both locally and nationally.  

Selected awards and distinctions include:
2015 - Elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. 
            The award is given to those who have made significant contributions to the profession and society on a national level.
2011 - Chicago Magazine Green Award
2009 - Home of the Decade, Natural Home Magazine
1999 - Green Homes for Chicago
            A KAP design was selected for this international design competition and built.

"He is one of Chicago's new breed of up-and-coming architects, who blends excellence in architecture with a social conscience. Before the advent of air conditioning, before electricity, everything that was built related to nature. Nate understands that. He made a habit of it long before it was fashionable.” — Stanley Tigerman, FAIA and co-founder of Archeworks.

Viewing the mission beyond his own practice of architecture, Mr. Kipnis’s leadership was instrumental in helping to develop the idea of an offshore wind farm in Lake Michigan off Evanston's shoreline. The work led to a Design Evanston Urban Design/Planning award, and the project is now on the DOE's list of potential offshore wind farm sites. 

Additionally, he currently serves as Co-chair for The National AIA AIA 2030 Commitment’s working groups. In this capacity, he assists architects with the AIA 2030 Commitment, whose goal is to design full Net Zero buildings by 2030. 

Nathan Kipnis also lectures extensively on topics related to sustainable architectural design and renewable energy. He has been an invited speaker at numerous symposiums and conferences, including at national AIA conventions, the Chicago AIA, Archeworks, GreenBuild, The Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the Center for Green Technology in Chicago, and Northwestern University's “Green City Summer Institute,” as well as being one of the keynote speakers at the Mother Earth News Fair, among others.

For information on arranging a speaking engagement, contact To read more about his thoughts on architecture, click here for a link to his interview in the book ‘Becoming an Architect’.


Music and architecture are intimately intertwined. Goethe called architecture ‘frozen music’. Many architects draw their inspiration for their work from specific songs. Music and architecture share many of the same features; rhythm, structure, and scale, for example. I can’t imagine the two separated.

Time - Pink Floyd Incredible lyrics from the best song on the most influential album I have ever listened to.

Mysterious Ways - U2 U2 is in my opinion the best overall rock band out there. The fact that they have been so influential for so long speaks for itself. This song reminds me of when I was living in Wrigleyville when I moved back to Chicago after college.

Medicine Show - Big Audio Dynamite Mick Jones is the king of sampling.

Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan A really well composed song by the Master.

It's All I Can Do - The Cars Like all Cars songs, the lyrics were more like poems. This one is particularly sparse but effective. From the album ‘Candy-O’, which was the first concert I went to, at the Aragon Ballroom. I listened to them a lot my first two years of college.

Career Opportunities - The Clash The Only Band that Matters’. Fasten your seat belt for 250 beats a minute! Their early albums, along with the Sex Pistols, were my first encounter with punk rock. This song is great because of the hilarious lyrics, especially when they talk about the only job they can find is being a letter bomb opener for the government!

Roadhouse Blues - Morrison Hotel I think this song sums up what the Doors were all about. I imagine this is a bar somewhere out in the high desert of the Southwest.

(I've Been) Searchin' So Long - Chicago Instantly takes me back to early school days and all that entails.

Adir Adirim - Balkan Beat Box I found this online and really like the mix of house music and Middle East influences.

Shut Your Eyes - Snow Patrol A very visual song.

Dubuque - George Winston I saw him in concert when I was in Arizona. He plays piano with his shoes off (socks on). Back when concept albums mattered, he made his based on the seasons or, in this case, a specific time and place, which I like.

Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds The Breakfast Club’s theme song!

Cat Scratch Fever - Ted Nugent The is flat out the best song for radical skateboard pool riding. Period.

Gold on the Ceiling - The Black Keys What's not to like about these guys!

Adele - Skyfall A new best James Bond hit!

Nathan Kipnis FAIA LEED BD+C