John Conrad Schiess has wanted to build all his life.
A family story‚Ä"perhaps a myth‚Ä"has it that he promised a nanny in his native Guatemala that he would one day build her a house.
He grew up around construction sites, and went to school for architecture. Having both skills allows him to see a project through until the end, overseeing construction and making changes to the building as it goes up.
Schiess has also developed a reputation for piloting projects through the planned development process in Oak Park and other communities. Acting
as a liaison between neighbors and developers, he strives to create buildings that fit with Oak Park's character while remaining financially viable for investors.
The key is getting resident input early on, he says. Tasteful architectural details, such as recessed balconies, help, too, as do the relationships he builds with every project. Schiess lives in the village, and staffs his projects with local professionals.
Have a look at some of the projects the WEDNESDAY JOURNAL's Villager of the Year has designed and built in Oak Park and River Forest.