About - BIO - Sharlene Young

Sharlene Young is the Principal and Owner of Symbiotic Living Architecture and Design. For more than 25 years, Sharlene has worked with clients to enrich their lives through the built environment. After graduating from Cornell’s School of Architecture, Art and Planning, Sharlene spent time working with industry giants such as Gary Lee Partners, The Environments Group and Perkins and Will.

For over 12 years, Sharlene acted as Interior Practice Lead for Wheeler Kearns Architects, when a difficult life event presented the opportunity for Sharlene to start her own design practice.

Based on the mission to achieve design excellence through the perspective of wellbeing, Symbiotic Living Architecture and Design opened its doors 2016. Focused on both residential and commercial office projects, SL continues to work with Wheeler Kearns Architects in a strategic partnership.

Sharlene’s notable projects include designing a prototype workplace for McKinsey & Company, the headquarters for Crate & Barrel, an adaptive reuse of Louis Sullivan’s last built project for Studio V, Mather Café’s refresh, and residences throughout Illinois and Michigan. 

Highly respected among her clients and peers, Sharlene's passion for design excellence and performance can be seen and felt in all of her projects.  Her work has been recognized for multiple architecture and interior design awards nationally and locally.  Notable recognitions include: 

  • USGBC Emerald Award for Green Building Innovation
  • National AIA/CAE Educational Facility Design Excellence Award
  • AIA IL Honor Award Frank Lloyd Wright Award
  • AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Honor Award
  • AIA Chicago Young Architect Award

As an industry leader, Sharlene served as chair of the AIA Chicago Interior Architecture Knowledge Community. 

Through her time as a research advocate for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and volunteer with the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, Sharlene has strengthened her unique perspective on human centered approach to design through her community engagement work.