A Year in Review: Chicago

Published Jan 25, 2021

Award-winning designer, Nick Mansperger, AIA, LEED AP, relocated to Chicago from our Baltimore office in 2020 to expand Design Collective’s national presence and to better serve our new and existing clients. With 15 years of experience as a Design Leader in our Maryland studio, Nick has delivered award-winning projects for top-tier developers and higher education institutions including The Bozzuto Group, The Hanover Company, Kettler and Johns Hopkins University. 

Despite the challenges 2020 presented, Nick’s cross-disciplinary approach and experience continued advancing the firm’s success in multiple sectors and projects across the country as we enter 2021. 

Riverfront 47


Over the past year, Nick has been heavily involved in crafting user experience and project vision for many of Design Collective’s multifamily pursuits. 7820 Wisconsin Ave. with Bethmont and Bethesda Land LLC., consists of a biophilic-inspired design, which carries the new public park’s landscape through 31-stories of residences and communal terraces in Bethesda, MD. Similarly, Mosites’ Riverfront 47 in Pittsburgh reintegrates community with the environment, with Design Collective’s Urban Design, Landscape and Architecture coalescing to restore a 1.5-mile Pittsburgh riverfront brownfield to a bio-diverse watershed with continuous waterfront parkland. Inspired by its industrial setting in Denver with the majestic Rockies as a backdrop, Hanover’s RiNo vision recalls the aggressive granite peaks and tranquil aspen valleys defining an urban respite in this dynamic arts district.

Holistic integration between Design Collective architecture and landscape crafted the M.R. West high-rise in Fairfax, VA; a building playfully cascading from 12 to 8 to 5 stories overlooking multi-tiered roof decks and a new retail piazza below. Additionally, Makers Rise East breaks ground this winter, refocusing Innovation Center’s metro station onto a vibrant pedestrian centric retail/maker core. Nick’s reach from Chicago extends throughout Virginia with projects like Brentford at The Mile and Parcel C in Tysons Corner. Following The Mile’s AIA award-winning Highgate, Kettler re-engaged Design Collective for Phase Two, Brentford. As the 6-story mid-rise construction progresses, concept design on Phase Three’s Parcel C is underway. Nick’s relationship with Kettler has expanded geographically to Tampa, FL, where he is working on the Ybor Masterplan and Feasibility Study.

Although Design Collective’s presence in Chicago has made significant impacts out-of-state, Nick has also continued to have a crucial influence on Maryland-based multifamily pursuits. Nick has maintained involvement in projects such as: The New Cultural Center with Orchard Development in Columbia, College Park’s Aster with Bozzuto, and LCOR’s Arrowwood in Bethesda, opening this winter. More recent Maryland projects include the Towson Row Multifamily High-Rise and 8040 13th St. in Silver Spring.  

Student Housing:

Design Collective’s extension into the Mid-West has been advantageous in our West-Coast projects, as seen with recent student housing pursuits. Napa Valley College’s first campus neighborhood, designed to boldly define community at the campus’ entry gateway, has been led out of Chicago this past year in partnership with HPI Architects.


In addition to multifamily and student housing, Nick is engaged in Design Collective’s office sector. Hampton Park Health + Human Services, a Velocity Capital project located in Largo, MD, is part of Design Collective’s urban design, architecture, landscape and interior design solution for the 24-acre masterplan. The 6-story building commands an immediate urban ‘sense of place’ with powerful massing and skyline distinction. Hampton Park is in Phase One of transforming this strip center into a walkable mixed-use neighborhood for the community. 

Design Collective has been providing mixed-use planning and design services to our clients across the country from our Baltimore offices for more than 35 years. Nick’s move to Chicago is a key part of this national practice and service strategy. Nick will continue his role as a national leader in our practice while serving clients locally in Chicago and throughout the Mid-West Region. Our OneSTUDIO concept extends our geographic reach by allowing our firm to bring the full breadth of our planning, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and graphic design expertise to any project.  

We are thrilled to have Nick leading our team in Chicago and building on our national relationships with our invaluable clients and industry peers into 2021 and beyond.

Brentford at The Mile

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