About

blending optimism and realism is our recipe for success

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We’ve been improving quality of life through design since 1982 when our founder and principal architect, Gary W. Anderson, decided he wanted to change the trajectory of a community. His dedication to the revitalization of Rockford Illinois’ downtown – honoring its unique architectural history while building spaces that met the community’s needs for the future – was visionary. Where others saw abandoned properties, Gary saw possibility. That unique blend of determination, optimism, and realism has become the firm’s calling card.

Over the years, Studio GWA has become the home to other like-minded urban planning, architecture, interior design and development professionals. Their flexibility, adaptability and creativity make them easy to work with and acknowledged stars in their respective fields. 

The firm has a well-deserved reputation for being undisputed experts in historical renovation and adaptive re-use and we apply our place-making expertise to a variety of these and new construction projects.

No challenge is too big for our dynamic team that thrives on stretching our capabilities to make the improbable quite possible.

Riverfront Restaurant Existing
Riverfront Restaurant Rendered

Our Services

From early financial feasibility studies and community engagement to final touches for interior design, our services cover the planning, design and development of any project.

amazing work starts with having an amazing team.

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Our Team

Easy collaborators. Creative powerhouses. Powerful advocates. Problem-solving masters. Our team members have been called all these things and more. Check out their impressive creds and discover who prefers to travel on two wheels, who does the best impersonations, and who is mastering paddleboard headstands.

Gary W. Anderson, AIA

Gary W. Anderson, AIA

Principal Architect

Jennifer Spencer, AIA

Jennifer Spencer, AIA

Partner, Senior Project Architect

Aaron Holverson, AIA

Aaron Holverson, AIA

Partner, Senior Project Architect

Ashley Sarver, AICP

Ashley Sarver, AICP

Partner, Senior Urban Planner

Emily Christiansen

Emily Christiansen

Interior Designer

Erin O'Keefe, AIA

Erin O'Keefe, AIA

Project Architect

Jason Truax

Jason Truax

Architectural Designer

Michael Smith, AICP Candidate

Michael Smith, AICP Candidate

Urban Planner

Therese Rowinski

Therese Rowinski

Executive Assistant

honored to be recognized for great work

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awards & recognitions

We don’t do great work for the awards, but recognition from some of the industry’s most well-respected associations and organizations sure is nice. Our work and team members have earned recognitions from:

AIA Logo
Driehaus Foundation Logo
40 Leaders Under Forty Logo
Citizen of the Year Logo

community involvement

We want to make a positive, measurable contribution to the communities in which we live and work. Here are just a few of the organizations to which we dedicate our time and financial support.

Landmarks Illinois Community Involvement
Transform Rockford Community Involvement
AIA Community Involvement
City of Rockford Community Involvement
City of Monroe Community Involvement
Northern Illinois Hospice Community Involvement
I Bike Rockford Community Involvement
Remedies Community Involvement
Remedies Community Involvement
Laurent House Community Involvement

317 Art Collective
AIA Illinois
AIA National Associates
AIA Prairie Chapter
AIA Rockford
American Planning Association (APA)
Congress for New Urbanism (CNU)
Fordam Forward
Friends of the Coronado
Friends of Ziock
Illinois Realtors
Indian Hill Manor                                  Illinois Historic Group Directory (IHGD)
International Interior Design Association (IIDA)
Jason Pettigrew Memorial Scholarship
National Association of Realtors
National Council of Architectural Registration
Boards (NCARB)
Natural Land Institute
River District Association
Rockford Area Arts Council
Rockford Area Association of Realtors
Rockford Art Guild
Rockford Art Museum
Rockford Register Star
Salem Lutheran Church
Stateline Church
Urban Land Institute

careers

Studio GWA does not currently have any vacant positions, but we are always interested in discussing opportunities with talented designers and planners. Feel free to contact us if you think you would be a unique fit.

contact us

We can’t wait to connect with you. *denotes required field


200 Prairie St. Suite 201
Rockford, IL 61107

815-963-1900

info@studiogwa.com