Morgante-Wilson Architects : Our People

The People

  • Elissa A. Morgante
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    Elissa A. Morgante, AIA


    Architect, interior designer, educator, community leader and principal of an award winning architectural practice, Ms. Morgante’s myriad of interests are fueled by the love of design and belief that good design can improve the quality in which we live our lives.

    After almost three decades of scrutinizing the nuances of design, Morgante continues to be passionate on her pursuit for excellence. Her broad body of work includes architecture, interior design and custom furniture all with a common denominator: thoughtful attention to detail. Her holistic approach places her clients vision at the core of the design process. The result is a one of a kind expression of the client’s functional prerequisites and stylistic dreams interwoven with the wisdom of architectures vast possibilities.

    To stay at the forefront, Morgante promotes the role of architect as visionary and embraces the continuous evolution of ideas.

    In 1994, she and her partner in life and business, Fred Wilson, formed Morgante Wilson Architects. Together they maintain a practice of over 20 architects and designers specializing in residential design. Their work receives national and local acclaim in publications ranging from Traditional Home to the Chicago Tribune. Chicago Magazine named MWA among the top 25 firms in the city.  Their designs have been featured in books by Sarah Susanka and exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    For eight years Morgante served as an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the School of Interior Architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago. While teaching at UIC, she also founded and served as the first director of the UIC- Architectural Extension Program for which she received the University’s Distinguished Service Award. In describing her work with her students at UIC, “good design extends beyond buildings, it shapes a community…working with my students to generate a plan to transform N. Ashland Ave. into a tree-lined boulevard modulated by residential and commercial blocks, we addressed the parallel needs for development and a desire to beautify the neighborhood. Our presentation to local alderman inspired the plan Mayor Daley sanctioned; we were delighted to see our vision come to fruition.”

    Dedicated to giving back to the communities in which she works and lives, Morgante served on the Appearance Review Committee for the Village of Wilmette for ten years. Upon completion of this tenure the Village President appointed her to the Planning and Advisory Board for the Village Center Master Plan.

    Ms. Morgante’s philanthropic work also includes serving on the board of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women’s Board and for many years contributed to the University of Illinois Chicago Alumni Advisory Board.She earned her BA in Environmental Design from Hampshire College in 1981 and a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1987.

  • Frederick H. Wilson
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    Frederick H. Wilson , AIA


    “I believe that the most powerful design starts with a partnership between the client and architect,” says Frederick Wilson, who founded MWA in 1987. “As designers, we work with clients as a team, placing their ideas, preferences and concerns at the center of the relationship.”

    When Wilson established his Evanston-based practice, he was just two years out of graduate school. Co-principal and partner Elissa Morgante added new dimensions to the firm when she joined him in 1994. With expertise in architecture, interiors, furniture design and a respect for landscape design, MWA’s approach today is comprehensive and multifaceted--responsive to clients’ needs from start to finish.

    As a principal, Wilson works closely with MWA’s architects, nurturing their expertise and interests. Following Wilson’s example, designers at the firm share his commitment to getting every detail right, not to mention his infectious excitement about the work. His sense of humor adds a welcome shot of levity to the serious business of architecture.

    Wilson’s many distinctions include being named a national finalist in the “40 Under 40” award, sponsored by The National AIA and The Architectural League of New York, as well as the “Young Architect Award” from the American Institute of Architecture Chicago Chapter in 1998.

    Wilson received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Ohio State University in 1983. He earned his Master of Architecture at the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1985. Upon graduation, Wilson joined the architectural firm Tigerman, Fugman, McCurry Architects, Ltd., where he was named the firm's first associate.

    For Wilson, being a role model doesn’t stop at the office. For more than a decade, he’s applied his talents as a leader by coaching youth basketball in his community, building young athletes’ character by teaching the spirit of sportsmanship.

    Wilson also serves as President of the Congregation Sukkat Shalom. He is an architectural consultant for the building review commission for the Village of Kenilworth and serves as a board member of the Community Partners Affordable Housing Land Trust. The Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization created to offer permanently affordable housing opportunities for qualified, low-to-moderate income residents of the City of Evanston, Highland Park, and Lake Forest.

    He has been a visiting critic at the schools of architecture and design at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Ohio State University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Additionally, Wilson has served as the School of Architecture’s constituent liaison for the University of Illinois-Chicago Alumni Association and on the Executive Advisory Board to the director of the School of Architecture.

    Recently, Wilson was honored to be included as a board member of the University of Illinois-Chicago Alumni Advisory Board.

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      Chlebek Blakely
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