Sam Marts

I grew up in a small Ohio town that saw its architectural zenith in the Greek Revival period. As a paperboy, I associated these grand homes with history, and I created my own stories about them. Biking around town I was always curious as to how this community got to be the way it was. I went on to study architecture at Miami University (Ohio) and the Architectural Association in London (England) and after graduation went to Pittsburgh as a VISTA Volunteer Architect. In 1974 I came to Chicago to join a great community of past and present architects. I have worked in Chicago’s biggest offices on huge, complex projects as well as in small design studios creating restaurants as people-oriented exotic places which are still functional. Through all of this I have been involved with renovating and rehabilitating the Chicago’s built environment.

Outside of Chicago, I was commissioned in 1985 by Robert Foulkes of White Oak Timber Frames to design a passive solar “Cape Cod” in Ann Arbor (Michigan) and I started Sam Marts Architects in 1987 with the plan of continuing to work alongside White Oak Timber Frames. Our relationship blossomed, and I formed Sam Marts Architects and Planners Ltd. in 1991 with Robert Foulkes as the Planner (and framer). Our planning adventures have included participating in a number of urban design charettes, that are intense team efforts to extend and reinforce an “urban” world while simultaneously preserving a “rural” environment. Currently, Sam Marts Architects and Planners is a co-developer of property in Empire (Michigan) that will be a village extension surrounded by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

I am lucky to have had the experience of designing multiple timber-frame homes, a restaurant and even a folly, barn or two. We have designed “classic” three-, four-, and even eight-flats to fill in and reinforce the fabric of Chicago. We have designed what are by some measures, the “greenest” “affordable” houses in Chicago. With all of this work, I am happy to have had the opportunity to add to the architectural stories of Chicago’s future.

I am a licensed Architect in Illinois and Michigan. As an active member of Chicago’s architecture community, I am a board member of the Chicago Architecture Club and the Chicago Chapter of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility. I am an active member of the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Senator Newhouse Architecture Competition for high school students. I am a regular guest critic at the School of the Art Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, and Andrews University. I am a board member of the Bucktown Arts Festival and a past board member of NAME Gallery. I take time to create my own garden oasis in the city, and I collect American art pottery.

Professional Experience:

Marts & Valentin Architects, LLC.  Partner 2022 to present.

Sam Marts Architects & Planners, Ltd. Partner 1991 – 2022

Sam Marts Architects Proprietor 1987- 1991.

Skidmore Owings & Merill 1977- 1978


  • Miami University – bachelor of Architecture 1972
  • Architectural Association – London 1970-1971

Architectural Registration:

  • State of Michigan 1993
  • State of Illinois 1980

Related Experience / Interests:

  • Commissioner – Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area #33
  • Member – Bucktown Community Organization Zoning Committe
  • Member – Bucktown Community Organization Garden Walk Committee
  • Member – Timber Framers Guild of north America.
  • Member – Chicago Architecture Foundation – New house Competition
  • Past Member of board – Chicago Architecture club.
  • Past Member of board – Bucktown Arts Festival.