With deep sorrow, the U.S. Access Board announces the passing of former Board Member John (Jack) H. Catlin, FAIA. As one of the founders of LCM Architects, Catlin was a leader in advocating for equal rights for people with disabilities and promoting accessible architecture, inclusive design, accessibility regulations, and public awareness of accessibility. In 1994, Catlin was appointed to the Board by President Bill Clinton, and he was the first architect elected to serve as Board Chair in 1996. Catlin passed on September 17, 2023.
“Jack was a force for disability rights and accessibility,” remarked Board Executive Director Sachin Pavithran. “His expertise and passion lifted the Access Board’s mission and work to the next level, his work and contributions have impacted millions of people, and his dedication has aspired many to build environments that include all people. He has served as a model for all of us in how to carry out our work and treat others.”
As a wheelchair user for nearly 50 years, Catlin knew the various barriers in society that needed to be removed to ensure the well-being and human dignity that all people deserve. For more than 40 years, he worked tirelessly on behalf of architectural and disability communities to build environments that adapt to people. After earning his Master of Architecture in 1983, he was Director of Access Chicago at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab), where he received treatment after his spinal injury and later served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. After practicing architecture at Loebl Sclossman & Hackl in Chicago from 1984 – 1996, he co-founded LCM Architects, leading many of the firm’s projects that demonstrate the confluence of architectural and inclusive design.
In addition to his national service as Board Member and Chair, Catlin dedicated his knowledge and expertise to projects and organizations in many leadership roles locally in Chicago, IL, including the Chicago Community Trust Executive Committee Co-Chair and Program Committee; Chicago Transit Authority Board of Directors, Strategic Planning Committee, ADA Advisory Committee Chair, Community Advisory Board; ADA 25 Chicago Steering Committee; Chair, Accessible Transportation Committee, Chicago area Transportation Study; and the Metropolitan Planning Council Board of Governors. Highly esteemed both locally and nationally, Catlin was elevated to American Institute of Architects (AIA) Fellowship in 2004 and honored with AIA Chicago’s Distinguished Service Award in 2022. To learn more about Catlin and his achievements, visit LCM Architect’s article.
Always advocating for the equal treatment and human dignity of all people, Catlin was also affectionately known for his humility, humanity, and humor. The Access Board remembers and honors him today, and it sends its condolences to his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, as well as his many friends and colleagues.