On a cool, wet, fall evening in 1992, two young, up and coming, architects met with a builder to discuss plans to build a small retail plaza in Joliet. The architects did not know that this proposal was the first to be considered for the east side of Joliet – a section known for empty lots, economic disadvantage and gang activity – in over twenty years.
The builder’s excitement convinced the architects to take on what was their first solo project. With great enthusiasm, they designed a Spanish-style plaza with an arched portico and Spanish tile roofing. The four retail units created were immediately leased by a taqueria and a Mexican supermarket.
City officials took notice. The Joliet Park District planned and built a major addition to its recreation center directly across the street from the plaza.
A year later, the architects designed a larger plaza next to the first. This one included a laundromat, video store, hairstylist, and a restaurant. The shoppers came and the gangs and problems moved aside. The architects designed more stores and plazas and proposed others in this same section of the city. What had been a disturbing area steadily developed into a productive and economically viable community.
In 1998, the architects decided to name their venture United Architects. In August 2000, United Architects became incorporated as United Architects, Ltd., a professional service firm with a computerized office and support staff.
In late 2001, the firm moved to its present location on Plainfield Road.